Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Little Bit of Magic!

OK, not really, I could do with a cooking, cleaning and sleeping spell right now, my first emotionally-stable day off in weeks and I am exhausted.

As I am sure all you Mums will know already, tomorrow is World Book Day, so as is customary round these parts, all the children will be going to school dressed as book characters.  Last year I created the Where's Wally extraordinaire, for dear son, this year he wants to be Dumbledore.

So out came the Nativity outfit, perfect robes eh, and this morning I made some accessories to match, hat, hair and beard...

The fitting went down well, I just have to tweak Meg and Mog in the morning!

I did do some proper sewing too - one large (10"x 57"currently) block that I will show you on Friday, and I also started on my March Brit Bee block(s).

As soon as I found out it was kitchen-related paper-piecing, I bagsied Kerry's teapot from Fat Quarterly 8; so this morning all full of bravado I made one!

Ceri is this OK?
All went to plan, maybe a couple of pieces unpicked as I picked up the wrong bit, but no pinning, smaller pieces and minimal swearing.  I think I had missed the 'cut out the pattern/part you are sewing and don't wrangle with the whole A4 sheet when trying to sew' bit before, because I had this sussed, and it even came out the right way round. 

FYI I foundation pieced this, but used freezer paper templates to cut the fabric - best of both worlds I reckon, in my oh so vast experience!

So now I have no fear; however getting an idea onto paper and working out how to go about dividing that up is still some way in the distance, but I am still rather chuffed.

Oh, and I am pleased to say my Mouthy Stitches pouch arrived with its owner safe and sound today, one less thing to worry about x

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Paper Pleasure, with a hint of OMG...

Part Two of Katy's FPPFTT was posted yesterday, so I got on and made my second block, and thanks to the great teacher, it went without a hitch...

It took me longer to decide on which scraps of fabric to use than it did to sew.  I think I am getting it... when the pieces are numbered!

My only problem was actually pinning the fabric to the paper without it all slipping out of place, so I resorted to pinning from the wrong side, but I know this can't be right; I'm not sure how I'll cope with smaller pieces.

On to today, and I had 2 parcels waiting for me, the first containing my book prize from a recent giveaway over at Ali's Very Berry Handmade

As Ali pointed out at the time, Paris Sewing Cafe - The Sweat Shop Book contains some weird and wonderful makes, and this one was obviously my favourite!

Ali, the honey that she is, also enclosed a few charm squares, some of which were purposefully brown, and lovely!   Pop over now and she's having another lovely giveaway.

My other parcel was from Brit Bee Ceri, requesting paper-pieced food and drink themed blocks for March.  Not having quite the same reaction as last month's request from Jennie, it only took me a couple of minutes, in light of the fact that I am now such a whizz, to figure "I can do that".  Bribery by way of chocolate and fabric certainly helped!
Thank you again ladies for playing with my comfort zone x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Binka and Pearls...

After a stroll to the park, and bit of relaxing in the warm sunshine, it was home via the paper shop, and time to give the girls the talk yesterday.

They are 5, they need to be able to sew now!  They were keen, after I tied the big plastic needles to the thread.  These are going to be a purse and a handbag, apparently...

The mad one.
Hopefully we/they will get them finished during the week, the call of bikes in the garden was too hard to resist after a few rows.

I, on the other hand was able to get my Modern Mini Challenge quilt finished.  There is still something about it that I am just not sure about - it is frustrating me.

There is nothing I shouldn't like, I love all the fabrics and colours, it's just... different to my usual style, and I suppose that was the whole point.  So I will keep looking at it for the next week, then let you and world see what you think.  (That, or I'll whip up another one and forget all about it!).

Sunday, 26 February 2012

All sorts...

I laid out all my Stained pieces yesterday afternoon, and found that I was only one small piece short, so I was rather pleased and surprised at myself for that...

I ended up bagging each individual block separately, as I was anticipating a bit of a muddle and continual need to re-lay the whole lot out if I wasn't completely organised.

Whilst listening to my two buddies, Rhonda and Cindy chatting away on the latest Quilter In The Gap podcast (so funny!), I cut all the block sashing too, so I am now ready to start the sewing at last.

One thing I must say, cutting up on the kitchen worktop was so much better than hunching over the dining table.  OK so you are all saying 'yes obviously, didn't you know?', but I don't think I have ever had to cut so many pieces in one session, and I am so pleased I thought of it before rather than after!

***Edited 5th May 2012 - you will not be able to subscribe to the following magazine - probably best to just buy copies you find in the shops; should it be resurrected from Administration - do not risk your money ***

Yesterday I also received the first issue of Modern Quilting in the mail; it's fantastic.

I spent my first flick through saying - "I know her, and her and her", so I felt kind of 'in with the in-crowd', but it really looks like a great magazine, with or without friends in high places.

Look there's Brit Bee Judith D in the scarf!

Hopefully later today I will get the chance to actually read it rather than just grin at all the lovely pictures; who knows, I may even get to make something.

The sun is shining, and I suspect a stroll to get the paper will be in order shortly; Spring is in the air, happy Sunday everyone x

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Mouthy Stitches Mailing!!

Mouthy pouches are now winging their way all over the globe!  OK, sounds like a bit of a big old claim, but it's true!

I sent dear hubby to put this little number and roll of scraps in the mail today, I have seen the receipt, it is not still in the car; so hopefully they will arrive with my partner next week, postal workers willing! 

I hate the anxiety of sending things that I have invested so much of myself in; and I will be in a slight state of agitation until I know it is safe in the recipient's hands.

And just to 'up' my blood pressure, Cindy, Susan and I will be anxiously monitoring the whereabouts of almost 100 other pouches!  Yes, we went large.

I am so proud to be a Mama in this swap, the purses are all stunning, everyone has made such an incredible effort to tailor their makes to their partner's preferences - it's been a superb!

And as with all swaps, now's the part where we all remember that someone, somewhere really has made something for us too.  I don't think I am the only one who forgets about this bit!  Despite pretty much staking a claim on all the pouches in the flickr pool, I never quite believe that one really is mine; I'm a bit like our 5 year old girls seeing every singer, actress or pretty lady on TV and saying 'I'm that girl'!

Friday, 24 February 2012

F-ing Friday!

I am linking up today with Rhonda and the first quarter mid-term Finish-along and Thank Goodness It's Finally Finished on a Friday... got all that?

Back here, when the New Year was still, um, new, I laid out my first quarter hopes for some long hoped-for finishes...
i) My Brit Bee Constellation quilt,
ii) My Mystery Quilt top, and
iii) My Pips Hexie Cushion.

Well I think you might have noticed that I managed to get the Constellation completed, I've harked on about it enough!  Ooh look, here it is again...

I love this quilt so so much, it is on our bed keeping us cozy each night, and it is just such a joy to have finished.

The Mystery Quilt has moved on a teeny bit; I sashed all my blocks, played about a bit, then popped it all back in a box, a couple of times...

OK they really do look in need of a bit of a press, sorry!  I hope to get this all finished by the end of the quarter.

And during this weeks' ballet lesson, I managed to complete the hexie panel, which I now need to turn into a cushion cover, pronto...

I am going to have to get myself a new half-hour hobby for those dreaded lessons!

So there you go, I have had some success, and not forgetting that I have made a tonne of new stuff too, and started others things which may well end up featuring in the second quarter.

How have you got on?  You can't beat that 'finished feeling' eh!

Well I have to get my Mouthy Stitches parcel all wrapped up this evening, more on that tomorrow after I have laid out all 900 or so pieces that I cut for my Stained quilt, as I know for sure I mislabeled some, and possibly forgot to cut a couple of the others, oh it was a late night!  

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Time To Cut My...

Losses Winnings!

Yep, I have finally made up my mind to get cutting for my dear friend Sarah's Stained QAL.  I have been pondering fabrics for too long, and today I finally decided to use my Moroccan Mirage FQs that I won from Annabella, courtesy of Julie at the Intrepid Thread.

I don't know if it was because the sun was shining and it was unseasonably warm, or if I just wanted to blow away my grey mood of the last couple of weeks, but the bright colours made me happy today, and now I am raring to go.

So this evening I am going to pop a new blade for my rotary cutter and get down to business.

I really do not enjoy the 'preparation' stage, seeing the fabric pieces getting smaller before they get bigger again seems to contrary to my logical mind, that and it makes my back, hands and head hurt; I am not cut out for manual labour!

Hopefully I will be all chopped and able to catch up with the others soon enough, although some people, naming no names, Ms KC, have finished piecing their tops already!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Thank you...

Thank you to everyone who has left a comment or emailed me over the last few days - your kind words have really meant so much to me.

Today went smoothly, peacefully albeit tearfully; another chapter comes to a close xxx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Laying the Foundations...

I have ideas above my station.  I really want to do this, and I really wouldn't mind a crack at this, and I mustn't forget about this, but for now, I am doing this...

Foundation Paper Piecing For The Terrified Button

I have dabbled with a Lily's Quilts Big Little George, way more unpicking than should have been allowed, and then Kerry's awesome Winter Woolies, which I managed to piece backwards; so it's back to basics for me before I get to play with the big girls!

Last night I managed my first Courthouse Steps thanks to lovely Katy and her Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified!  An awesome tutorial, and despite me skin-flinting on my scraps, I got it all to work first time, woo hoo...

Look how tidy the back is too...

I know I should have cut the threads, but I was too excited!

So I am on my way to paper-piecing magnificence!  If you are wanting to try paper piecing, or need to get the basics under your belt, why not join in too, Katy is a fab teacher!? 

And whilst I have your attention, and if I may be so bold, may I ask for your vote?

I joined my Valentine keyring up with a linky party over at Melissa's Sew Bitter Sweet Designs last week, and in my 'altered mental state' at the time, didn't realise it was for prizes!  So now voting is open for the next couple of days, I would love it, if you honestly prefer my non-pink Valentine gift, and felt you could vote for me; thank you.  No pressure, but it seems daft not to ask!

Monday, 20 February 2012

My Monday...

Whilst my American friends are enjoying another one of their holidays, I had to go back to work today, oh joy.

Still I was greeted by a nice parcel of fabric on my return, so that's my consolation prize.


This was my freebie bundle for subscribing to Mollie Makes; it's only taken about 3 months to turn up and dare I say, contains some fuglies, but they are good size pieces and I love the kettle print, so it's all good.

Well I can't show you what I was mostly working on over the weekend, as it is my entry for the Modern Mini Challenge.  It is very different to my usual style, which is causing me to swing from 'total love' to 'not quite sure' on a disturbingly frequent basis; but I am going to go with it, so you'll have to wait until 5th March, sorry chaps.

The only thing, or rather 3, I can show you are these key fobs...
... made with thanks to lovely Kelly, maker of the most awesome sewing machine cover EVER, who kindly sent me some of the hardware which seems to be impossible to get in the UK - these came from a US Etsy seller, and I think I have found my new favourite instant fix!

Well it's going to be a long week, it's my Grandma's funeral on Wednesday, and all the kids' after-school clubs are back in full swing from tomorrow, so please bear with me if I seem a little distracted!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

For my sister...

I picked up that 1/2 meter of Little Folks voile on sale at Eternal Maker with a plan.

I decided that as I usually send my sister a bag or a purse every year for her birthday, and we always joke how she really doesn't need any more, a break with tradition was finally in order.  So an Infinity scarf seemed like a good idea as it is coming to the end of summer in NZ, (although she got sunburnt sailing last weekend, so little sympathy from me right now).

Rejecting flannel, as I wanted something a little lighter weight to mix it with, I pulled out my remaining Oakshott fat eighths and some of the Dead Simple Runner off-cuts, and set to work.

The Oakshotts were perfect as they stop the scarf being too floaty, (that is a good thing in my sister's eyes), giving it a bit more structure in a softer way than regular quilting weight cotton.

I stitched together a small panel of the offcuts to make a stripey section and take the length up to 54" and followed (well sort of) Kerry's post here.

I think I am definitely in need of more Oakshott - which is handy as Lynne has the most awesome giveaway running at the moment over at Lily's Quilts, and my fabric 'kitty' is well and truly depleted at present.

If you are in need of more proof of the greatness of Oakshotts, check out Fiona's recent quilt top, or the Brit Bee masterpiece of Judith's.

I am probably still going to make my sister a coin purse, as I am a traditional kind of girl like that, and I have enough voile left for another scarf for me, win win xxx

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Vital Statistics...

Do you check your blog stats, maybe your traffic sources and search results?

I know some of you do too, you've mentioned it in the past.

I like to look and see if I am going to top the previous month's total views, (a bit OCD, I know...) and also where 'strangers' have popped in from.

On Tuesday, when I posted the Fugly giveaway result, I noticed a crazy record number of hits; now I knew there weren't that many people waiting to hear if they'd won.

So donning my Sherlock hat...

Gratuitous picture for Annabella!
... I discovered that the Brit Bee Constellation reveal was in overdrive, all down to a pin.  Now, I don't know who Michael Wurm is, but he has a lot of Pinterest followers (almost 565,000, can you imagine?!), maybe you are one of them... is he famous?

I feel rather chuffed to be on his Quilts board and the 'likes' and 'repins' are a bit of a morale boost too.  Pinterest I heart you,  I needed a 'pick me up' and you delivered.

As far as searches go, there seems to be a constant stream heading to the sock owl tutorial from waaaaaaaaaay back, but pretty much every month someone googles 'guns in car trunk' and ends up here, and they're probably rather disappointed!  I know that is my fault, because of this post a year ago, but why are people googling it!?  And obviously I am over the moon about the hit coming from a 'brown fabric' search this week!

Anyway, nuff 'bout me, did you know Singer have been making sewing machines for over 160 years?  Have you seen this special edition beauty...

What fun! xxx

Friday, 17 February 2012

More from me...

If you pop over to the Knotted Thread today, you'll find me there as part of Jennifer's Follower Friday series.


I have been bumping into Jennifer over the last few months on flickr and in blogland; she is super lovely and one of the merry band of Mouthy Stitchers too.  You must check out this awesome cross-stitch she currently has on the go.  Thank you for having me Jennifer x

And for those of you who complained as if it was my fault asked so nicely, you will notice that I have taken off the ridiculous new Blogger word verification; I will keep an eye on the recurrence of spam and see how it goes.  Spam-magnet that I am, I have already chosen not to publish a couple of comments that tried to be posted on older posts.   NB. when I am back at work, there will be a big old window of unchecked time, so please excuse any random comments that could appear for the worst part of a day.

Finally, here are a pair of purses I whipped up after tea last night for a couple of the girls' friends...

About as simple as it gets!

Now I've just got to finish the ironing mountain, and I am set for the weekend!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Going places...

New car, begging to go on a little road trip yesterday, we ended up in Chichester - a treat for me!

I bought fabric!  I needed some for a new Bee, I needed some for an idea I'd had for my sister's birthday present and I needed some for my sanity.  Eternal Maker to the rescue.

I now have Kei dots, only FQs, so don't shout at me...

I now have some voile, flannel and more herons...

And the postman also finally showed up with my last Christmas present from my sister c/o Amazon...

It looks brilliant, and I am thinking I need to make one of these soon, 20" zipper and all...

 Maybe for when I have somewhere to go in June?!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Keyring to his heart...

I did make a teeny gift for my Valentine as promised.

Dear husband will be picking up his new (to us) car today, following a bit a motoring disaster last Friday, (totally under the bonnet, nothing dramatic); so to 'celebrate' this mixed blessing, he hinted that some sort of keyring would be in order.

He didn't have to ask twice...

A little piece of Melody Miller typewriter and even some embroidery, simple, but true xxx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Fugly Valentine's Day!

I know, the prospect of chocolates, flowers, a pretty card or maybe even a sparkly surprise was nothing in comparison to waiting to see if you were going to win some Fugly fabric, right?

I believe quite a lot of the Fugly giveaways were ending today, so without further ado, and not wanting to out-do any of your sweethearts' efforts, the winner of all this fugly fabric...


Number One does win sometimes!!!!!

Yay Janine - I will be in touch shortly!

Apologies(?) to all those who escaped this time, please sleep easy, safe in the knowledge that I am not planning to do this again any time soon!

Thank you Lucy for hosting such a fantastic gathering of fuglies - it was fun seeing what grotters other people had too, and I even resisted trying to win everything on offer for once!