Monday 31 October 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to this young lady:

just had her hair done for Carnival Queen
 Beccy is 15 (going on 21 year old diva!!) today.  Beccy - you make me laugh on a daily basis and you make me mad when you are ALWAYS never quite ready on time!!

The sleepover must have been a success last night because I am knackered.  I had to come downstairs numerous times to sssshhhh and I think they fell asleep about 3am! 

Happy Birthday gorgeous girl xx

Sunday 30 October 2011

Wedding present quilt


Over the last few days I have seen lots of quilts being showcased for bloggers quilt festival, so I thought I would share mine too.

I made this quilt for a friend of mine who got married in May.  I have known Zoe for over 10 years and when she asked me to be maid of honour, I knew I wanted to make her something special

It was made from a jelly roll, the first time I had ever used one! It took just under a year to make.  There are soooo many little triangles in this quilt!

I'm glad I gave myself a long time to do this quilt because I needed every minute of it! Every time I do a quilt with small triangles I vow I will never do them again - and then 6 months later......!

I quilted the details of the wedding on their for them (just in case they ever forget who, where, when!!)

The only quilt I have ever been brave enough to present to someone else was for a close friends 40th - she was also a crafter so knew the effort involved.  I am so glad that I took the time to do this for them, I know they didn't get two home made quilts, even if they did get two toasters!

The quality of quilts in this quilt festival is amazing, and its great to see so many bloggy friends with theirs in there too.  If you have popped over from the quilt festival, thank you for visiting.
  I will be spending my evening looking through more of the blogs from the festival, whilst my 15 year old (birthday tomorrow) and 3 of her friends have a sleepover - HELP!!

Saturday 29 October 2011

Cake anybody?

So, Monday is Beccys birthday, she will be 15 (how did that happen!)  She is having a sleep over tomorrow night (non pupil day at school on Monday) so I have made a cake for her so everyone can sing happy birthday to her tomorrow evening:

I can't remember the last time I made a birthday cake and iced it.  I make cakes but not usually on this scale.  I am really pleased with it.  She and Jenny are with their dad this afternoon, so it gave me an opportunity to get it sorted.
Its Jennys birthday (!*!!) in two weeks and we are having a get together here of family and friends.  She tells me she wants me to make her birthday cake - a replica of her 1st birthday cake:

although, she wants me to lose the Jennifer and just put Jenny
The reason I have a picture of her 1st b'day is because I have made her an album for her 18th.  I started scanning old photos back in the summer and uploading them to Truprint and back they came to me as duplicate photos.
I am so pleased with the album - its a scrap book all about her 1st 18 years.  I still have some pages to go and have been putting it together whenever she goes out to parties at the weekend etc.  I will take some pics tonight (she is out again!) and upload them.
oh - no studying today, but I did finish wallpapering the bathroom and completely blitzing the garden.  Time for a large glass of something I think!

Friday 28 October 2011

Everybody crafting

Today has been dedicated to table runners  -  I was starting to stress about my tablerunner swap, so changed my design somewhat:

Ta dah: finished!  The thought of sewing another paper pieced star (and also wondering if I had enough white fabric for it) and lots more little 1" wonky stars threw in a bit of a downer, so I had a re-think

I went for bigger and quicker and did a couple of wonky stars instead.  I am now really pleased with how it has turned out

Now, I need to decide what material for the back and then get quilting.

I also finished of my SIL's smaller table runner, made from my reject star:

I also really like this one.  I need to take it away with me next weekend so will be quilting it tonight and over the weekend.  So, alls well that ends well I think!

Did anyone see Kirsty's homemade thingy this week.  Well, my two have been crafting in the kitchen today.  It was just like when they were little girls again, lots of giggling at the kitchen table and singing.
They decided to make something out of paper and cover in fabric.
This is Jennys:

Not a great picture, but she screwed hers up in a ball to make a christmas ornament and covered it in my christmas fabric scraps.  I will post a better pic when the glue has dried! 
And here is Beccys:

She is making a butterfly and again using my fabric scraps: great way to use up all those scraps! 
Early night for me tonight: I was awake at 5.30 am and managed to stay in bed till 6, by which time I just had to get up - I am not working today :-(.  So there I was at 6.15 revising for my next exam.  At least it gave me a longer day, but I am creamy crackered now!

Wednesday 26 October 2011


Hurray - I now have 3 days off (not working Monday either) : it kind of feels like a friday as I have finished my working week.  I completed my training course yesterday, it was a really enjoyable course, gave me lots of confidence and introduced me to lots of lovely people.
Anyway, I got home at lunch time today and got straight on with this

The square on the left is what I was going to use for my centre square on my table runner, but it looked way out of place, so I made another square to match it

I'm not sure about the blue, but that is easily changed!

And then this will be the middle block - as you can see, not yet sewn!  I was going to make another star, but am not sure if I have enough of the cream/gold background, so am going simple.
I will take this away with me next weekend when we visit my sister in law.  We are going up there to celebrate my mums 70th.  This is an expensive time of year : it's Beccys birthday on Monday (31st oct), my mums on nov 5th, mine nov 6th and Jennys (18th!!) on the 10th - all within 10 days of each other.  You could also throw in my mums dads birthday (no longer with us) on nov 2nd!  Very strange.
Anyway, I will finish that off tomorrow, whilst I am waiting for British Gas to service my boiler and before we go off shopping in Colchester

Sunday 23 October 2011

Keep breathing

After fmq'ing my hot water bottle last night I decided to be more adventurous today.
I did enjoy myself yesterday, but was worried that I may have bitten off more than I could chew when I decided I would FMQ this:
I took a deep breath and went ahead anyway.  Now, please remember I have only done this on a few occasions and I still have a long way to go, but on the whole, so far, I think it's going ok:

One thing that I have definately learnt is the need to keep breathing whilst doing this!

I need to be more fluid and I definately like to do my swirls one way more than the other.  also, I KNOW that I am doing this wrong - my feed dogs are up.  I started off not dropping them by accident and then realised.  I had a look at the front and back and decided that it was all going fine, so I couldn't change it.  Maybe this is why it is not so fluid.

this is (a very bad) picture of the back.  So, all you ace FMQ'ers out there - I need to spread out my swirls don't I : is this too packed together?  Obviously I won't change it on this quilt, but for future reference?

 Most importantly, I am enjoying doing this and I hope that however this ends up looking (not too disasterous I hope) it will make a little girl who is poorly, feel a little better.  I will give you the end result when I am done!

Saturday 22 October 2011

Two in one day!!

I don't think I have ever written two blogs in one day, let alone within a couple of hours of each other

I need to show you my hot water bottle:

The last couple of nights have been chilly and I have needed my hot water bottle.  But it didn't have a cover - I wrapped it in an old t-shirt
So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: make one and practise FMQ'ing on it (hence the very white cotton, so I could really see my results)

 I practised big swirly patterns

It was great practise and the stiches on the back even came out well!

And I tried to practise general 'stippling' FMQ'ing.  This needs much more practise.  I used this table runner of Emilys as to how it should look, and it doesn't

However, considering it took under an hour and no pattern, to do this, I am really really happy with it.  It will keep me toasty at night, its lovely fabric and the FMq'ing isnt too bad (although I know I need practise)
Jenny is just getting ready to go out to a friends 18th - I will be taking my toasty hot water bottle to bed and reading: it was a late night last night, although I won't really sleep properly until I know Jenny is home!

Feeling way too full

We had a lovely time at Marys house last night: I ate way too much chinese, and the worst thing is that chinese seems to make you more hungry, so I have been picking all day today :-(

My kitchen table chairs have been in need of recovering for some while.  I have recovered them before - two worked well and two did not and I have never got round to rectifying!  I decided to do a kind of loose covering after something I saw in a magazine.  I pinned it all inside out first

Please don't think that I am mad using white fabric (I know I am) - it is my old bedroom curtains!  After I made my new ones, I washed the old ones and hey presto.. 

A newly recovered chair - you can see one of the old ones in the background - where the fabric never actually covered all of the chair.  The covers are fully washable and I dont have little childre in my house, so I am (reasonably) hopeful that they wont have to washed to often!
Although it is half term week I am working Monday to Wednesday.  So I am looking forward to having the end of the week off and catching up more on my sewing , and a bit of wallpapering (boo) 
This evening I will look forward to cozying up and catching up on blog posts that I have yet to read, perfect

Friday 21 October 2011

Back to the drawing board

Hmmm, it appears to have gone wrong .....
Ignore the tea bag holder in the back ground!!
The middle square sticks out like a sore thumb - its all the wrong colours.  I really like it on its own, but its way to beige against that brilliant white!
So, back to the drawing board for me.  I have finished the 'tree' for the other side of the runner.  I am going to wait for the christmas fabric to arrive from the modern christmas fabric swap before I make more wonky stars for the other side.
The middle square won't be wasted: it will be recycled in to something else festive

I have been cracking on with this:

Nothing huge or fancy, just a little quilt for a friend of mine to take up to a childrens hospital when she goes up there in a few weeks.  They are opening a new ward and I hope this can make someone happy.  The wonderful Judith gave me the inspiration for this - something I have wanted to do for a long time.

This evening I am going out for a girly night in :-)  A few of us from work are getting together at a collegues house for a takeaway, pudding, wine and a good natter - it also happens to be someones birthday: Happy Birthday Kim!

Made her these for her birthday - hope she likes them!

Sunday 16 October 2011

All about me

I thought I had been sewing all day today, but when I look back at what I have done it appears some hours may have gone missing...... it doesn't look like much.

This is one side of my christmas table runner - each square is an inch.  That was a lot of little trianges and squares that I cut up, sewed and squared up.  I think this on its own took about 90 minutes.  I still have the other side to do

this will go along side the 'christmas tree' side of the table runner.  More very small 1" squares.  The final sqaure is 3". 
Although both of these were time consuming and fiddly, I do really like how they have turned out - just the other side to do now.  Oh, and possibly the big pieced star to do again: I just cant decide if the cream goes with the white.....  :-(

I also ran up this

A little zippered pouch for a friend of mine.

I decided early on today that I was only going to sew - all day.  I really thought I would achieve much more than this.  I guess I didn't factor in all those tiny tiny squares! 
(I did put some washing in, hang it out to dry in this gorgeous weather, and then iron it as well)

On tuesday I have to do a course on how to deliver a course (you would probably oncly do this if you worked for the local authority!!)  I have to do a five minute speech on ME!  Who knew 5 mins was so long, I have really had to dreg the barrel.
Anyway, in case anyone is interested I have put it all below: a great way to introduce myself after blogging for nearly 9 months ( please excuse the // - they are to remind me to take a breath!!)  Please don't feel obliged to read it - there won't be a test next week :-)

Good morning, my name is Catherine Hayward //  I work for education finance support team, which is a traded service //  we assist schools which buy into our service, with anything from a one hour visit to a full bursar service
 I have been doing this job for nearly 3 years and love the work that I do // I love travelling around the county and meeting lots of lovely people //
I have always worked in finance and I am currently studying my final year of AAT // This is hard going as it is home study and I do not get study leave //  it can be hard to come home and do an assignment after a full days work

I live in tiptree with my two girls, aged 15 and 18 // I have lived in tiptree for 10 years// prior to that I consider the Lake District my home, where I spent my late teens, early twenties.
My dad was in the air force so I spent most of my life travelling around England.// I have also lived in Germany and Holland
I went to boarding school for 5 years due to all the travelling //  Enid Blyton, who wrote the malory tower books, clearly did not go to boarding school//  I have also been lucky enough to attend a garden party at Buckingham palace due to my dads job //  I didn’t meet the queen
I learnt to surf a couple of years ago//, I can stand on a surf board and catch a wave// sometimes without falling off at all // I windsurfed for the 1st time last summer and couldn’t move my arms for days afterwards//
My interests are very varied// I like to be creative and I do a lot of sewing and quilting, ranging from full patchwork quilts to pincushions //  I enjoy working in my garden and grow some vegetables and tomatoes//
I love watching rugby and am fully engrossed in the world cup at the moment// I tend to shout a lot at the television, something which my youngest doesn’t get // apparently the players and ref cant hear me//  I also write a blog with which I connect to the online quilting and sewing community//. There are people from all over the world that I chat to and they are all so creative and talented // it is like having friends round for a cup of tea all of the time //
As a single parent I like to think that my diy skills are acceptable // I have replaced the garden fence panels on my own, painted and wallpapered // built shelving units from ikea & retiled the bathroom//  with some help from my dad,  I have also revamped my kitchen // one day I would make someone a good husband!
I have a full motorbike licence although no bike at the moment//  when my girls have left home, I intend to do my gap year// I would love to take a bike down route 66//
One of the jobs I have had was working for the American air force near Cambridge //  as a ministry of defence employee I got a once in a life time opportunity of flying in a hawk // the aircraft that the red arrows use //  I flew for an hour out of wales and in to the lake district // a journey that in a car would take about 4  hours took about 10 minutes // we flew over the lakes and saw people on hillsides // it was a fantastic experience //
This summer my youngest daughter has been tiptree carnival queen // I have been involved in taking her to these carnivals, something I have never done before // it is a whole twilight world //  the girls wear beautiful dresses and attend queens teas // they stand up and give speeches and learn how to speak socially //  the best carnivals were Southend and Clacton// which were evening carnivals – there were so many people//

I have travelled to some amazing places // My most memorable trip was to America //
My brother is a navigator in the RAF and was stationed in America for nearly 3 years //  his children are very similar in age to mine and his wife is like a sister to me //  We had two amazing holidays in North Carolina where they lived // on our first trip we all piled in to his huge people carrier and drove to Washington //  The summer heat and humidity were unbelievable // from Washington we went to new york //  we stayed on staten island in a B&B run by an English lady // when we pulled up we thought we had found the original adams family house // however, inside it was lovely //  we caught the staten island ferry over to manhatten and walked miles //one of the worst mcdonalds that I have ever been to was in new york //  we went to the empire state building, where I have always wanted to go after watching sleepless in seattle // We also went to the world trade centre //  We stood on the top of the tower:  6 weeks later the world watched the horrors of the world trade centre unfold

Thursday 13 October 2011

If at first you don't succeed....

I have been trying to get on with my table runner for the modern christmas table runner.  I started off with completely the wrong fabric - it just didn;t look good.  So last night and this evening I started again and was much happier with the fabric.  I started to sew the middle block together:

Hmmm, this doesn;t look right - I have sewn the two outer blocks on the top row upside down. Unpick, start again:

Err, no, I don't think so!!

Got there in the end.  I really like this block.  My partner (and I hope I have got this right) seems to favour darker colours, but I didn;t want to go too dark.  This big star will be flanked either side by wonky stars.  Personally, I love the block, although the fabric is not really my thing, but I have read, and re-read my partners blog and am hoping I am in the right direction.  Unfortunately, I appear to have ended up with a silent partner, so am just going to go with it!
By the way, I have Sheila to thank for my newly discovered love of paper piecing, if she hadn't got us to do it in the mystery quilt along, I don't think I would have ever tried it!

The weather here in this little south east corner has continued to be lovely, with the exception of today.  Yesterday I was in a lovely part of Essex, near Sible Hedingham, where green fields and countryside abound.  The sun was shining, I had three lovely schools to visit and everything was good.  I had lunch sitting on a bench in the sunshine. I believe the weather for the weekend is set to be lovely too

Sunday 9 October 2011

Canterbury christmas fabric

These are the christmas fabrics that I picked up in Canterbury yesterday.  Moda 'countdown to christmas'

what a gorgeous selection.  Not sure if I will use them in the table runner swap, as I am not sure that they are my partners thing - and I am not just saying that so that I get to keep them.  I know exactly what I will do with them if i do keep them.

Canterbury is a lovely city, full of lovely shops.  The uni open day was ok, rather disorganised and the talk on the course was uninspiring, but it was still a nice uni.

I have sewn a couple more wonky stars today but other than that is has been studying and helping the girls blitz their bedroom (oh my favourite past time!) The weekend has flown by, can't believe its monday tomorrow!

Saturday 8 October 2011

Creative Christmas

Karen at listen to the birds sing is doing a 'Creative Christmas' where she will be posting christmas printables, sewing and cooking projects for us all to share: what a great idea.    If you have a project or tutorial that you want to share, then pop over and email her.  Her 1st christmas project is a scrappy Christmas planner: go and have a look.

Jenny and I went to Canterbury today, it has been a long day.  I got some fabric, which i will show tomorrow, but for now how would you like to live here:

Wonder what the insureance premiums are like!

Friday 7 October 2011

Its arrived!!

..... my 2nd goodie swap package has arrived, and it was definately worth the wait!

all the way from Texas from Camille at Hermit Goodness (go check out the blog, its great)

Not one, but two mug rugs, because Camille thought they were too small!
Along with the package is an amazing business card holder - the picture above shows it closed and the one before, open: what lovely colours

Camille also included some riley blake labels (arn't they fab) and some a fat quarter of fabric.  It is all lovely and I am so lucky - thank you Camille

I finished off another two bags for the hospice to sell and have these to hand over:
Isn't it amazing what you can make with some curtain fabric samples!!

And I may have purchased this today:

you can't really see the gold flecks in it, but it was sitting in a pile of christmas fat quarters and I thought I may use it in the table runner swap: who knows

Off to Canterbury tomorrow, so its a no sewing day for me

Thursday 6 October 2011

At last..

Hurray, I found out who my swap partner was today for the christmas table runner swap.  I cant wait to get started although I have some stalking to do first to make sureI get everything right.  I have been on a fabric purchase ban, which I have stuck to, with the exception of buying some fabric for the goodie swap.  Now I can legitimatley go out and buy some christmas fabric, yay!

I have done a pathetic amount of sewing since Sunday.

I made some wonky stars, which I discovered are very quick and easy to make after I ran a couple up for Judith at Rags to bags.  These will be made in to a little quilt which I intend to give to someone to take somewhere (more another time)

I have been doing a bit of knitting.  I have 2 of these done now

only about another 38 to go!! They are so easy to knit though and perfect for winter evenings knitting.

Jenny and I are off to Canterbury on Saturday to an open university day there: a big sacrifice as I am going to miss two amazing rugby matches on telly: Eng vs france and Ire vs Wales.  So to make up for that, I shall do some christmas fabric shopping whilst there, I'm sure there will be a fabric shop or two