Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lucky Strike...

Sonny boy's school was closed today due to the teachers being on strike, and had I not 'volunteered' to take a day's leave to look after him, I would of had to either strike myself or run the gauntlet of the picket line at work, so despite fearing for a retirement in poverty, it didn't stop me living for the here and now!

We took a trip to town for a late breakfast, and I obviously had birthday money burning a whole in my pocket!  We went to The Sewing Machine Shop, although the birthplace of my new machine I had not ventured inside before; do not even ask why, I have no response to that, other than I had badly misjudged this book by it's cover!  From the outside it is crammed with every sewing machine, over-locker and embroidery gadget ever made; and when trawling the internet for a good price on my chosen machine, this was not only one of the best deals, but a local shop for local people.  The website mentioned a fabric section, hubby didn't look when he went to collect, I needed to know.

The basement was an Aladdin's cave especially for Moda pre-cuts and I got to touch a real-life Go Cutter!

You know me by now, I couldn't leave empty handed and hurt Gavin's feelings.  I was rubbing my hands with glee when I found this Central Park layer cake under a pile of traditional prints, and I had to get a couple of skinny quarters...  just because they were there!

We popped to the usual fabric emporium, I needed some felt for a new needle book swap I have joined on flickr, and a few other bits and pieces and that was me done.

Well, until we got home...

My parcel and instructions for the July Bee blocks from Judith have arrived.  I say 'instructions' in the loosest sense of the word.  2 FQs of Oakshott solids and the use of my imagination!  Oh boy!

Also awaiting me was this charm pack from Quilttaffy in the US...

Summer House by Lily Ashbury.  It is part of my Kaleidoscope quiltalong plan which I will be perfecting this evening.

So now I am off to cut 400 triangles, and that doesn't include the solid which I only ordered last night!

Apologies if I appear to be ignoring your blogs - Blogger has been on strike too making commenting a bit hit and miss!

PS. Some of my parcels have reached their destinations... more on that soon x

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Big up my Mystery Massive!

Ahem... sorry.

As I'd hoped, this evening I was able to finish the enormous Mystery block...  it's 21" square!  Talk about the antithesis of the mini Farmer's Wife blocks I am going to attempt in the near future!

This one came together quite easily in the end, I cut and hoped for the best on the star points, and only one of them refused to meet in the right place, but it gets lost in the pattern, phew!

So I am content that the super-duper sewing machine is in good working order, although a little perturbed to find out that it doesn't rectify my dodgy cutting, or do the washing up!

Here are the whole gang so far...

Anyone familiar with the Heather Bailey fabrics will know they are a lot more vibrant than my photos imply... the nights are drawing in don't you know!

Now, what can I sew next...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Rain stops play!

We were woken at 4.30am this morning with the most torrential downpour, (OK, not as good as Rhonda's !!), but the noise was amazing, especially as it was so hot we had the bedroom windows wide open; and my day continued full of heat, rain and thunderstorms.

With a scattering of work, school drop-offs, pick-ups, and a ballet rehearsal that involved a 45 mile round trip with a tired, hungry but oh so excited 4 year old, I am absolutely shattered.

I started the big Mystery block, but I got too tired to work out the complicated piecing, so hopefully tomorrow I will have my first finish with my new machine!  So far, so neat, quick and quiet!

So thank you rain, you curtailed my fun!

But not to leave you without any visuals, look at these I spotted in the garden yesterday...

I've never had my own 'crop' before!!  Maybe I am just getting a bit over-excited about everything at the moment!  Did I mention I've got a new sewing machine?

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's getting hot in here...

...hence sewing in the south-facing conservatory was not high up my list of things to do earlier today!

But as the temperature dropped, I followed the manual and duly learnt how to fill a bobbin, thread the machine and auto-thread the needle!!  I even got to play with some of the fancy-schmancy stitches!!

OK it's only a start, but I've been making the needle go up and down and cut the threads at the touch of a button and going 'pedal-free', now that's bizarre.  So all is good, I am still very very happy!

I spent the earlier part of the evening making up parcels, lots of parcels!  It's the Brit Quilt Swap mailout later in the week - how excited am I to get mine on it's way to it's rightful owner!  So here's the last chance to see it here party-partner...

... next stop, your doormat!  Well, maybe the Postie's hand, as it's a big parcel (see those little extras too) and I'll send it recorded delivery!

Well now the birthday is over, I have some serious sewing to attend to - big Mystery block awaiting attention, tiny Farmer's Wife blocks to catch up on and the Kaleidoscope quilt and Japanese Swap fabric to cut... busy busy... the teacher's are definitely still striking right?!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Oh Happy Happy Day!!

Wouldn't you be the happiest person in the world too, to wake up to this...

Need a closer look?

Denyse Schmidt Picnics & Fairgrounds, 8 half meters, including 4 of the Spotlight Austrailia/NZ exclusives that I somehow managed to 'text' my sister round a shop on the other side of the world to find!

Some cute owl and tape measure ribbon also from my sister.

No introductions necessary!  I am so 'behind', good job I have now this beauty to help me catch up...

...and all these extra bits, (but I have no idea how you use them yet)!

No birthday would be complete without jewellery and chocolate...  (No, I do not have teeny ears - it's an enormous bar!)...

... and look at what Judith made me!  How perfect is this?

Then my parents arrived, with more wonderful presents...

They 'kiddie-wrangled', whilst my wonderful husband and I escaped to Brighton.  I forced myself to do a little shopping in Cath Kidston, the bead shop and Habitat (RIP)...

Didn't venture into All Saints, but took the obligatory photo...

We had lunch at GBK, and were fit to burst!  The most brilliant and enormous burgers since being in NZ for real; we couldn't finish this lot!

Then home for cake and cuddles with the smallfry...

The mini decorations up close...

I am so happy, like you wouldn't believe!  Thank you for all my birthday wishes, now I have matters of the Janome/chocolate-kind to attend to!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Remember when...

...back in May I made my first Bee blocks ever for the newly formed Brit Bee, (of course you do, most of you are in it too!); well although one of our number is sadly MIA at present, we have decided we can post about what we made already.

So here are mine...

These were made in the days before I discovered the trick of getting my iron to work properly, and it was my first attempt at perfecting my 1/4" seams with the aid of masking tape!  It seems like so long ago already.  I am such an expert now, ha ha! 

These are LynneBobSquarePants blocks, designed by and made in honour of the Brit Quilt movement Leader, Lynne!

I can't wait to see how Trudi's quilt turns out.  I will be able to show you this month's blocks for Fiona in a week or so, and July's design is being unveiled to us by Judith on Sunday.

I am already planning ahead for my month, and it's not until November!  I have acquired a couple of layer cakes as specified by the Moda Bakeshop recipe that I am 99% sure I will use... but then again, I have been known to change my mind! 

Now might be the time for me to get busy with my Pinterest account - but I am scared that every second of spare time will be filled with frantic pinning!  If you don't hear from me in 24 hours, you know where to find me!

Happy Friday Everyone x

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Not so pretty...

Today I finally got round to replacing this...

I realise that this is possibly the most gross bit of fabric to grace my little bit of the interweb, and I apologise. 

Do you hang onto things well past their 'use by' date, when really the emotional attachment is quite silly; have you ever taken at look something like this revolting, holey, burnt and stained ironing board cover and realised that your grandma would probably be more disgusted than touched that you hadn't updated your nearly 8 year old wedding present just because she gave you an M&S voucher on your big day!?

I am going to try and salvage some of the cute, unsoiled prints from the edges and use them in a future project, but the rest is destined for the bin!

So now, instead of having to protect all my stitchery, blocks and clothing from the manky old board, I will be protecting the board from them!  Ta da...

I am not under the misguided impression this will make me enjoy ironing, but hopefully it won't be quite so depressing!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

More more more...

Sorry, I know this is probably getting a little bit repetitive, (but oh so fun for me), but today's postal goodies included these from Sew Fresh Fabrics, Peg and Becca wanted to clear out the cupboards, so I had to help...

... again less than a week from the US and half the price of home; I have one last charm pack heading here, then I think I'm done.

But better than that, my Tea Towel Swap parcel arrived!!

This was a straight swap, I sent my bundle of goodies to Jacinta in Dunedin, New Zealand, and she sent me all these...

A wonderful tea towel that I promise will never touch a wet dish, some beautiful crochet, a great magazine including an article on the 'top 20 tea towels', some of my favourite lollies, a birdie peg and a beautiful handmade card.  I am so happy!

Thank you Jacinta for sending me such wonderful things, and thank you Leonie for organising us all, it's been fun.  You can read all about what I sent in Jacinta's words here.

I have been busy too with secret-squirrelling activities of the Brit Quilt Swap and Pay It Forward variety but those are all hush hush for now; rest assured I am not just sitting here stroking my expanding stash!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

More mail...

OK, I admit it looks like I have been on a bit of a fabric bender recently (you haven't seen the half of it), but honestly there are reasons!

Firstly today a parcel from super-cool Kate of M is for Make; now this isn't the whole picture as I bought something for my Brit Swap partner, but I'm not showing that now, but partner, it made me chuckle when I opened the parcel - I hope it'll make you smile too!

The transistors were on sale, and the scrap roll is beautiful...

... all these for £2.50!

I also had to pop into the village to pick up a 'signed for' parcel and nipped into the fabric shop for the other 'element' I need for Elizabeth, Don't Call Me Betsy's Kaleidoscope quiltalong!

I am going to scale down to use a layer cake, and I may add a charm pack too, but we reckon I can make it work with a little bit of maths!  This will be my Mum's birthday present... I hope!

It wasn't all 'take', there was a teeny bit of 'give' too, as I posted off my block to Japan for the Partnership quilt today too.  Have you made your's yet?

Monday, 20 June 2011

I got mail...

... terrific lovely mail!

Yep, I arrived home at lunchtime to find a couple of parcels on the mat; and of all the things I was expecting to receive today, these were not they!

I opened the one with the sender of 'Donnachie' first, as I knew that was lovely Sheila and pretty confident it was my Pay It Forward gift!  It was...

How lucky am I??  The owls (the zip!), all perfect!  There was also a little book of quilting quotes and a delicious 'Scottish Tablet' which is nothing like it sounds.  For those not lucky enough to know, it is kind of a dense fudge-like block of sugar!  I didn't eat it all just yet, but I could have, very easily!

Thank you again Sheila, you are a star!

So in the spirit of the gift, I have spent the evening making more and tweaking some of my PIF items - even if I get them all made and divided out between my lovely ladies shortly, I may or may not send them immediately, I haven't decided yet ;)

My other parcel was also wonderful to see, I cut it open so carefully!

Considering I only ordered my fabric from Jo last Tuesday, and it was posted Wednesday, I never expected my parcel from Japan so super quickly!

The sewing room fabric is for the swap, and the other is for me, I have plans...OK I don't, but it was too nice not to indulge, sorry.

Just look at the selvedge...  (it's probably upside down!)...

So there you go, lucky lucky me... and as for the mail I was expecting, you know I won't keep that to myself now eh!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Father's Day...

Well the handmade offerings to celebrate Father's Day have been handed over, so I am free to share...

A geeky 'scrapple' rug mug...

...and a moo-cow...

The former sprang from the recesses of my brain, trying to think of something the Macman would appreciate, and the Moo was my first make from my 'Meet Me At Mike's', which had sat on the shelf too long waiting to be investigated.  The pattern was pretty simple, although there was no way I was ever going to be able to attach the legs as instructed, (I did try), but I don't mind a bit of slip-stitching to finish anyway.  Made from a piece of Echino and a lot of my upholstery samples, it gained me a tick too, bonus!

I have perfected 'eyes'!  Yes...
Master a few more embroidery stitches, especially French knots.
I can do them with my own peepers closed now - why were they such a problem to me before?

So those were the gifts, along with obligatory giant Toblerone, then we spent a good part of the day at the Sussex Country & Game Fair on the Parham House estate.

I think photos will best explain this...

We ended up getting wet but it wasn't too bad; a 5 minute drive home soon meant everyone could dry off afterwards.

There was a Craft tent with a couple of 'inspiring' stalls; Nicky Louth Davies and Moji Designs.  Take a look at their sites and their prices, and then get your thinking caps on and calculators out... I think there's a School Christmas Fayre with my name on it!

Whatever you got up to today, I hope it made you and those you love smile x