Thursday, 28 February 2013

Something a bit different!

Yes I have made something new and I can show you immediately!!

I spotted Judith's blogpost at lunchtime, the March Bee Blessed block, or rather blocks; Monica S-S's Funky Wrench - Nuts & Bolts!

Apologies for the dodgy night shots!
So as soon as the table was cleared this evening, I made a pair, spurred by the knowledge that I will be seeing Judith on Saturday, and may as well make the most of her luggage allowance!

These were super quick and lovely to make, (you made up well for the February blocks ladies!); I used my Sizzix to cut all my fabric, but definitely not too much of a chore to rotary cut I'm sure.

The quilt(s) from this month will be going to Siblings Together too.

I wasn't going to link up with Cindy's Really Random - no-one can compete with her hilarious odd shoe day this week!  But my budding Heather Ross has swayed me to link anyway...

And if that wasn't random or unexpected, as I know my children's drawing are my staple random offering, how about this...

Renowned animal lover that I am (ahem), I am still going to mention Kim's charity auction for Safe Rescue.  If you, or anyone you know is in the market for a beautiful Bloomsbury Garden quilt, bidding closes tomorrow night at 10pm UK time.

Stolen from Kim's blog - I am sure she won't mind!
As I type, the bids have reached £105.  So please pop here for more details.

Now you really weren't expecting that from me eh!?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How I work...

I know you have had enough of all the secrecy; I'm sorry. 

Today though I managed to get a quilted panel made into a finished secret, the binding on my secret block-mini sewn down and the hexie secrets all finished, so it was a good day.  Coupled with a decent haircut (well, trim), and the sun coming out, for the first time in weeks, I will class this as a fine day off.

But I won't leave you completely void of anything new.  Here are all my basted hexies that I need to make into something as declared on my FAL list...

And that's the wider picture of how I have to work to get all this done!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sorry chaps...

I really meant to have some stuff to show you this evening, but instead I have been pre-occupied with this...

... and a bunch of my favourite people; one of whom will be receiving something made from these...

Look at the Y seams!!
... which I started cutting after tea and is already finished I know, another of my not-so-secret secret makes!

Monday, 25 February 2013


Back to work, school, swimming.

Still stitching secret things, but they are almost finished, so I will be back to being a complete show off very soon.  Promise.

But here, have a picture or two for your trouble...

PS. So far, the change in my spam filtering is working - I hope no-one real has been barred from commenting xxx

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Secret Service...

Well today has been all about the top secret.  I have worked on a couple of things...

...a mini quilt all pieced, quilted and ready for binding and 90 hexies basted. 

And that is all I am saying.

Now hubby and I have a date with Mr Bond, so until we meet again...

Friday, 22 February 2013

The days all merge into one...

This Half Term has been hard.  I don't know if it has been the bitterly cold weather that has stopped us venturing out to the park, or if the kids really really do actually want to kill each other; but I can't wait to get back to work for a bit.  Just a little bit mind, my day off, alone, will be wonderful!

So at some point this week, I am not sure which day, I caught up with the Lucky Stars - February - BOM.  I am going to carry on with the low volume-solids combo, and hope I don't run out before the end of the year...

They are starting to look good together already...

Today we did venture out for a little while in the snow flurries and ended up at The Range looking for outdoor boots for Cubs; no boots, yet I came away with a couple of cushion pads, some wooden stamps and washi tape; it's a good job we don't go there often.

I also started some top secret makes this afternoon, so I may be a little more vague than usual over weekend xxx

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Thursday Randomness...

Well I managed to get all the ironing done this morning, 1 1/2hrs, three episodes of Frasier, whilst the washing machine simultaneously created more, but hey ho...

School holidays have obviously been a bit of an influence on the random in my week, the girls have been making me signs...

Thread, Scissors, Quilting Things!

And they know me and my tea drinking habits so well...

Dear son got a drawing published in the online Moshi Monsters Googenheim gallery...

He was so thrilled!

We even had to have a Moshi dinner...

And that is all the photographic evidence of my week with the kiddos; which looks quite fun without the real-life volume!

Linking as always with Really Random and wonderful Cindy.  How has your week been?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wednesday waffle...

Today I wanted to knock a couple of things off my February To Do list, namely for Judith; the siggie blocks to go with her Brit Bee blocks and also a pair of blocks for Bee Blessed...

I will not fib and say that I enjoyed making these - so many pieces, trimming and pressing.  My points are not perfect, they took all morning, much to the kids' annoyance; but they are done and look better than I was anticipating at the mid-way point. 

I was this (this) close to stopping at making one, but as much as I dislike working on things that I am not feeling the love for, I am a stubborn madam, and did not want to admit defeat!  Also I am going to be handing these over in person, so I am hoping to overwhelm Judith with quantity rather than quality!

Seeing as it is Half Term, I let the kids reclaim the dining table for some drawing this afternoon, so I joined in by pulling out my Joel Dewberry stash and colouring in the blank layout sheet for my Orbit quilt...

I am so determined to use up fabrics that have been lurking, hoarded, waiting for projects, so as soon as Lindsey posted about her QAL, I was in, and knew these fabrics were next on my hit list.

The pattern calls for 13 prints, I only have 10, after excluding the browns, which I am saving (honest), but as I have all 1/2 and full meter cuts, I have managed to work out a suitable balance of repeats.  I'd like to have these cut by the end of the holidays, but the overflowing ironing basket is starting to look beyond a little slovenly, so I may be otherwise engaged for a few days!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I don't give a ...

Flying Monkeys!!

Those words often fly from my mouth in the company of small children, especially when their shouts and screams are heard over the buzz of the sewing machine, and my intervention has been requested!

Anyway, enough of my parenting style, here is my little dabble in green.

The Pantone colo(u)r of the year is Emerald.  The official colour is not what I would particularly call emerald, but what do I know?  Ali of a²(w) however has deemed all green as good green when it comes to the Quilt Challenge.

I do love green, but more the brighter, limier(?), grassier greens, and this was blatantly apparent when I searched for suitable fabrics.  However a few trusty Summersville scraps and a FQ of ELB's Quilt Blocks fitted the bill, with a few others thrown in for luck.

I toyed with the idea of flying geese, and then had those pesky flying monkeys from the Emerald Forest, going round in my head; although it is not officially the Emerald Forest is it, just the Emerald City I think - but I am not a fan, so it's all a bit lateral thinking.  I do know the monkeys are really blue, but you get the gist!!

Anyway, long ramble short, bring on the Flying Monkeys cushion...

Pre-quilting, in the sunshine.
I started with a 12" block, 64 x 1.5" HSTs paired with natural Essex Linen.

I was going to quilt the panel in my thread of choice Aurifil 50wt 2021, but it looked just a little too skinny, so I unpicked and went with a lovely green 40wt (2888), and it looks way better.

I sashed with linen to make it up to about 17" square, then French seamed the two sides together.  Flea Market Fancy green seeds and some more Quilt Blocks with a 16" cushion pad, job done.

They're in the trees, they're coming!
It's not going to win any prizes, but I made it for the fun of it, the challenge was simply that, a challenge to go a little out of my comfort zone and start overhauling the lounge cushions, because they really are starting to look like they have seen better days.

Monday, 18 February 2013

It was too sunny...

... and I was too busy doing Half Term type stuff this morning, that by the time I had finished making my emerald cushion this afternoon, the light was not so good, and the pictures that I took were pretty rubbish.  Sorry.

So I will get some more tomorrow and write up a proper post to do it justice.

In the meantime, here's the lovely bundle that arrived from Japan today...

I won a month of my choice from Alyce's Blossom Heart Quilts' Japanese Bundle Club back on SMS Giveaway Day.  I chose February - Sewing themed, to spread that winning feeling further.  I may have supplemented my winnings with a little Heather Ross, Kumino Fujita and Easter bunnies. 

What awesome fabrics.  I cannot thank Alyce, and her hubby enough.  Fabric should be the last thing on their minds right now, but they still managed to get this mailed before heading off to be with family in Australia.  Thank you Blossom Hearts xxx

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ooh aah, just a little bit...

This weekend was mostly about family.  We spent yesterday up at my parents', left dear son there for a little holiday, and today the girls got to party...

Fortunately, after about 30 minutes of watching 6 year olds dancing, I was given my marching orders and came home to a sunny conservatory, and a little bonus fabric-pulling time!  Result.

Inspired by lovely ladies such as the calming one, and the other one, I thought I would have a play with my greens and make a little something or other for the Pantone 2013: Emerald Quilt Challenge.

Hopefully I will have a little finish to show you tomorrow of the cushion variety; nothing too complicated or award winning; I just need to fabricate a little back-story to make it sound way more interesting!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pretty Little Pouch Swap

I dipped my toe in to one of those flickr swaps that had previously been a bit intimidating, a bit close-knit, and a bit beyond me.

I was wrong.  I have partaken in many swaps, and compared to many, including the Mouthy Stitches swaps, the PLPS is very different.

After the initial self-categorising of skill level, (I plumped for intermediate), and the allocation of partners, it was pretty much a matter of just getting your pouch in the mail by the specified date.

There was no nagging from the swap mamas, no checking up and making sure people were on schedule, and no obligation to post progress shots, to comment or to be more involved.

Because of the recent rise in US postal rates, there was no transatlantic swapping, which made trawling the flickr pool a little disappointing; seeing so many pouches that would never be headed this way.

My partner, Caillean Z, only posted one fabric selection photo, so when it arrived, it was a complete surprise!

The box was huge, and weighed a tonne; it came in the post van, too big for the bike; and inside, a golden nugget of meteoric proportions...

Inside the nugget, my pouch...

An enormous, (but below the 12" size restriction!), grey linen pouch, with mini scrappy trip blocks and some super piecing.  She certainly nailed my 'likes'.

And inside the pouch...

Half a German sweetshop, and a little FMF change purse.  It's a good there was the one shot in the pool, otherwise I would not have known who it was from!

I am going to be able to fit a super amount of goodies in there, thank you Caillean Z from me, and from my kids, who thought Christmas had come again!

I posted about the pouch I sent in the swap to Jo here.

Am I pleased I joined round 6? Definitely.  Would I do it again?  Maybe.  Do I ever need to buy chocolate again?  Never xxx

Friday, 15 February 2013

Sweet Valentines...

Thank you for all the Sidekick Tote love, I am terribly behind on emails again, but will catch up at some point over the weekend.  Today has been filled with way too much domestic activity, Rainbows being invested and the arrival of my Pretty Little Pouch Swap parcel, but that will get a post all of its own.

This evening I am therefore just going to put my feet up, and relax, after showing you a couple of pics from yesterday.

Last week I pulled out my Zakka Style to make dear hubby something for Valentine's Day that he had actually asked for, a pen case.  I gave him a swanky fountain pen for Christmas, and it needed a cosy home.

I used the same man-flannel that I made man-presents from at Christmas, and even though I have made a few of these, that turning through bit at the end always makes me worry that it is all going to go horribly wrong!

It didn't.  Success all round.

And as if roses and chocolates weren't enough, dear husband and I headed over to Chichester for the day.  We has breakfast at John Lewis at Home, and then we went to The Eternal Maker. 

I say 'we'.  I went in for a while, whilst he waited patiently in the car, and just as it was time to pay, my gallant knight strode in and paid for my wares.  How lucky am I!?

4 half meters of the newly delivered Architextures, my favourite Aurifil thread, some luscious Cosmos floss and a meter of measuring tape. 

Gifts don't get much more perfect than that xxx

Thursday, 14 February 2013

My Type of Bag...

I bought the Sidekick Tote pattern from Anna-Noodlehead as soon as it was available last year, and it has sat, niggling me for ages, moving from one month's To Do List to the next; but in my 2013 stash-busting frame of mind, this was the week to do it!

Having ordered my metalware, from here, upon cutting up my Melody Miller and Echino last weekend, I decided I wanted to extend the strap, and so hatched a plan that required a further rectangle ring purchase, hence the waiting.

This was the first time I have made bias binding, and the first time I have actually sewn curves with it.  It wasn't so hard.  I was being a bit of a smarty-pants with lining up the spots, but it worked out fine.  My stitching down is not perfect, and the stitches from attaching the back peak out in a couple of places, but I can live with that.  I am rather chuffed with this detailing.

Instead of using velcro to fasten the pocket, I used a sew-in magnetic snap, and this was an easy substitution.  There was a little lady-handling required to stop the magnets from sticking firm to the needle plate of my sewing machine, but no drama.

The other amendment to the pattern was the addition of the second ring-end to the strap.  This gave me an extra 5", as I like to wear my bags across-body, especially when I am wearing my slidey-shouldered coat in winter.  I don't think it looks too odd; the extra ring, not the coat.

I pieced and topstitched the whole bag with Aurifil 40wt thread, firstly because it was the right colour, a deep turquoise, and secondly because I really couldn't be bothered to keep changing the thread between piecing and topstitching.  I also changed up the order that I pieced it; I used my walking foot for most of the construction, and did eveything I could before swapping out for my zipper foot.  Again, sheer laziness.

I did try to use my walking foot for the zip too, but failed after about 1", so my trusty zipper foot was reinstated.

I popped a bit of woven interfacing on the back of my lining where the patch pocket was stitched, just to give this area more strength.  And I think that is all I did that deviated from the printed word.

Mine is the smaller version of the tote, and is plenty big enough for my wallet, phone, keys, sunglasses (I know!!) and even a small umbrella.

I will definitely make another one, in the larger size next time; the pattern is brilliantly clear, and after all the cutting and fleece-fusing, it comes together really quickly.

My tote had it's fist trip out today to Chichester, there may have been Valentine's fabric shopping, I will show you that, and the gift I made for my true love tomorrow xxx

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Missing Link

The hardware I needed to complete my Sidekick Tote arrived today...

...along with 3 beautiful charm packs of Alison Glass's Lucky Penny, my surprise prize from Pink Castle, I won at the end of January.  The colours are far brighter than my snap shows, and I am already pondering what to make.

Lucky Penny?  Lucky me!

Well I have finished work now for an extended half term, yippee, and I have already started making the most of it.  I've just got to sew up the turning gap, and the aforementioned bag will be finished! 

It is not perfect, I tried new techniques and made some changes to the pattern, bold, I know!  I can't wait to get some decent pictures to show you, and start using it xxx

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

#xplusalong Reveal

Thank you for waiting patiently, the sunshine was noticeable by its absence today, but at least it wasn't raining or snowing, or both; so, ta-dah...

I love this quilt, there's no denying it.

Each + is made of a different print, with my favourite, the white pins, smack bang in the middle.  I got the Sew Stitchy layer cake from Aneela back when I attended her embroidery class in September last year.  It reminds me of a happy day back when things were feeling really bleak.

As I mentioned the other day, I love the backing too; I have never made a simple pieced back like this before, why?!  I think it complements the busy front perfectly.

So that's my fourth quilt made this year, and I am champing at the bit to know what the next #QAL will be.  In the meantime, I have the Siblings Together fabrics sorted and 11 out of 12 Brit Bee blocks almost ready for attention, so I am hoping for No.5 by the end of the month!

For those who like stats...

10" xplus blocks adapted from AmyBadskirts' tutorial c/o Mrs Bone
60" square finished
1 Layer Cake & 2 Charm packs of Sew Stitchy
Sew Stitchy yardage for borders, binding and backing
Kona Ash & Coal backing
Aurifil 50wt 2021 Off-white for piecing and quilting
Quilted a 'walking-foot's width' either side of the + seams; unquilted squares c.7"
Sew Simple cotton batting, pieced with a zig-a-zag-arh!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pretty Preview...

I can only give you a little preview of my finished Sew Stitchy #xplusalong quilt, because by the time it emerged from the tumble dryer, it was dark already, and the colours really do need daylight to show them at their best...

I did get it finished last night though, and it wasn't at stupid o'clock either. 

I love this little quilt, it has made me happy on a day when I have been sweating the small stuff at work and school.

So weather-permitting I will give you a better look at my latest addition; 4th quilt of the year, tomorrow!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Another Sunday Evening...

... with some lovely binding to finish off!

This morning I quilted and attached the binding to my #xplusalong.  Best laid plans of the afternoon got hijacked by Nintendo DS internet settings, passwords and the like; but I managed to get halfway round, and I am not going to bed until I have finished the other half!

I have caught up on emails, and although I've been quiet on the commenting, I have almost caught up on my blog reading; so I am not ignoring you, just eager to get to the finish xxx

Saturday, 9 February 2013


This morning we kitted out the girls for their forthcoming Rainbows investiture and then took a family trip round Sainsburys, (you can imagine my joy at that).  This afternoon, therefore, was clear for some stitchy business.

I was all geared up to make a longtime-listed Sidekick Tote; but not as geared up in the hardware department as I had hoped to be; so I cut all my pieces and fused my interfacing and then put everything aside.

My #xplusalong quilt was practically screaming for attention!

So I sashed the xplus panel, taking the quilt top to a now 60" square, made the binding and pieced the backing.  I have been consciously trying to just use stash fabrics, so I had to spend a bit of time trying to work out how to use the yardage offcuts and some Kona Ash and Coal, and love the simplicity of what I came up with.

I then had the unbridled joy of trying to frankenstein a large enough piece of wadding.  It did it, eventually.  So please, let us remember that in quilting, it is definitely what's on the outside that counts!

In the last hour I have basted it and feel rather pleased with myself.  Hopefully this time tomorrow I will be stitching down the binding.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Going round and round in my head...

... right now...

... and deciding which combo of fabrics to use over the weekend...

At the end of a long week, that's about all I can cope with! 

I'll be back with more words and pictures tomorrow, promise xxx

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Random Rude!

This week I think I received my favourite spam comment ever...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Siblings Together v2.0": 

I tend not to create a great deal of responses, but i did a
few searching and wound up here "Siblings Together v2.0".
And I do have a couple of questions for you if you usually do not mind.
Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of these
responses appear like they are written by brain dead folks?

:-P And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I'd like to follow anything new you have to post. Could you make a list of the complete urls of all your public sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?
Also visit my site ....

I usually do mind actually, it is simply you, and no, I am not going to make a list!  What an idiot!

And no random post would be complete without a random picture...

Say no more!

Linking with Cindy's Randomness xxx

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Calm before the storm...

Today it was bitterly cold, so as soon as the kids were deposited at school, I was on lockdown.

Firstly I whipped up my last 5 #xplusalong blocks, then spent some time arranging all 25 on the floor and getting them into nice numbered piles.

I then made my husband a Valentine's present, but that will remain under wraps until next week.  Without giving the game away, I can tell you it's a Zakka Man-Style gift!

Then the Postie came with a secret Stitch Tease block from Danny and my loot from Kerry's destash.  Wonderful lovely lady that she is, she added in a couple of treats of the fabric variety to supplement my Hoey-love!

And Kerry was also integral in the present that came for my sister yesterday.  Having posted an update on all the lovely tea towels Al has on sale right now, I had to have this one...

This is how I like my animals!
I can't rate Al highly enough; I reviewed his online store last year too, and the speed he mails things out and customer service is second to none.  My bargainiferous tea towel was ordered over the weekend, with free postage and a free coaster, (which I have forgotten to photograph, but you can chose your own on promotion right now, and I chose this one), and it arrived on Tuesday, from Ireland!

Back to today, and I snuggled up with a film, Source Code, Sky+ed from the weekend, until pick up time.  I don't take time out like that often enough, so I may need to make it a regular habit; unfortunately I lose next week's freetime to an Inset Day swap on friday, but maybe the week after!

With no more ballet; twin 2 decided to leave after Christmas (hurray!) as both girls are now going to Rainbows, and Wednesday Beavers has become Tuesday Cubs, so I was able to get a bit more sewing in before teatime.

My Sew Stitchy blocks are now all sewn together...

I have sashing to add, to take this from 50" square to 60" square, and a backside to ponder.  It is so bright and fun, it already makes me really happy.

Tomorrow I will don my metaphorical crisp-lady hat and spend an unpleasant hour at the Key Stage One disco, so please don't expect me to be in quite such a jovial mood when we next cross paths!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Oooh lovelies!

Today I, and I suspect many other lucky peeps, received our Low Volume Charm Swap bundles.  As with all swaps, fabric got sent and the reality of why, ie. a return envelope packed to the gunnels with lovely charms, soon got forgotten.

But they arrived and I did that traditional (OCD?) thing of sorting them, sticking them in an almost-circle and taking a photo or two...

A big ol' thanks to Lolly for organising this fine ensemble, and to all the swappers, there are some mighty fine choices in there.  Now what to make??

I also received my penultimate January Brit Bee block from Lols, and a fun pressie that I ordered for my sister, but I will show you that tomorrow.

For now, I am going to spend the evening doing a big fat nothing, except maybe checking out a few blogs, watching TV and drinking tea; there has been too much child-manoeuvring, as well as actual thinking required at work today, so now I need to rest my weary bones under a cosy quilt xxx

Monday, 4 February 2013

Siblings Together v2.0

Last year I, and many many others, made quilts for the amazing Siblings Together charity. 

All 70+ quilts were given out during last summer's camps, to children, siblings, reunited at camp but ordinarily separated by the care system.  Heartbreaking.

Quilts for Siblings Together

If you are not familiar with the work of this organisation, you need look no further than the flickr group, or Lynne's Lily's Quilts blog posts here and here.  Tissues at the ready, honestly, you have been warned.

Here is the quilt that I made last year...

... and here it is again with its recipient...

You don't know how choked I still get when I see that photo!

As soon I knew we were on again for another summer of quilts, I was in, no hesitation.

In fortuitous coincidence, I was checking out the flickr group just as the lovely and blooming Amanda was offering up some fabric for the cause, and I jumped at her beautiful Tula Pink Hushabye strips, even the brown ones! 

Before they arrived today, I had the quilt sketched, maths done, backing (IKEA house print) and some Kona Snow pulled, ready and waiting...
I know there is no immediate rush to get this made, but I can't wait. 

So are you in, again, or for the first time? 

You don't have to make a whole quilt, if this year is anything like last year, you could donate some fabric, a quilt top or batting; do the actual quilting or send some blocks, every little counts.  I am sure, as time goes on, calls for help and offers of assistance will increase, and I think it is the collaborative nature that makes these quilts even more special.  Trudi sent me the batting last year, and with Amanda's fabric this year, I know I will be sending another quilt packed with love and best wishes from everyone involved.