Sunday 31 March 2013

Saturday 30 March 2013


It's been one of those days, not the greatest - and I am very tired.

You know when you tell the kids that if they eat too much chocolate they will be sick, and they don't believe you; well after last night, they do now...

The toys got swiftly ousted for their own benefit! (Ange, keep your thoughts to yourself x).
So not much sleep and a lot more washing than I had anticipated.  We didn't therefore go on the village egg hunt today, and it snowed anyway.  Nothing settled, but why is it still that bloody cold?

I did finish my Orbit though.  It is all washed and lovely, and I will take it to my parents' tomorrow for a proper photoshoot, all things being equal...

Pre and Post crinkling.
I also cut all the templates for my Marcelle Medallion quilt.  I have some additional fabric en route from Pink Castle, and can't wait to get on with it.

Well I think I better just grab a quilt, settle on the sofa and try not to spread my mood this evening, don't you!?

I really hope your weekend has started on more of an upbeat note than mine xxx

Friday 29 March 2013

Bags Of Fun - Winner!

Mr Random has spoken, and the winner of the full collection of 9 Sew Sweetness bag patterns is...

Congratulations Cathy!!!  I will email you straight away.

I am sorry you couldn't all be winners, but fear not, there are more chances out there on t'internet.  I already know of giveaways over at Katy's and Megan's, so all is not lost.

You could always treat yourself to a copy of your favourite from Sara's online shop, a super speedy PDF pattern might just be what you need after all those Easter Eggs!

Thank you all so much for entering, and a huge thanks to Sara for such a generous prize. 


I only managed to get a little hexie stitching done today, nothing photo-worthy yet.  We also went to my sister-in-law's for egg-hunting, Wii-ing and smiles all round...

... a good start to the weekend for us, and hopefully for you too xxx

Thursday 28 March 2013

Random stuff kids do...

Well as it is Thursday, that's all the excuse I need to show you this little selection.

Firstly a clip of last week's recorder 'concert'... you didn't think I would just keep the experience to myself did you!?

This week parents were treated to an African 'inspired' dance, sorry, only photos, no movie...

...and then I had to buy these...

That's a pincushion, in case you weren't sure!
If sewing is an unlikely career path, then maybe a bit of fabric designing could be on the cards...

For added random, after months of cold, wet, snowy, miserable weather, I managed to get all the Rainbow and Cub uniforms out in the sunshine for the first time today...

...until it clouded up about 30 minutes later!

And finally, my car tax disc came today; is it just me, or does this just not look like a real date!?

Linking up with Cindy's Really Random Thursday.

Back tomorrow to announce the winner of my inbox-busting Sew Sweetness bag pattern giveaway and maybe a bit of stitching xxx

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Checking in...

My Inbox is busting from the sheer number of comments on the Sew Sweetness bag pattern giveaway, and I know I have a load of other emails to reply to, especially about my beautiful Nips, so just a quick hiya and apology for my tardiness ce soir!

I have received an awesome parcel though, which I am waiting to show you in full, but here's a sneaky peek...

...and this evening I have basted and quilted my Orbit quilt, so hopefully I will at get the binding attached to that soon too.

I swapped my regular day off today for tomorrow, so I had to work, but I am now on Easter holidays!!  Such a long, cold term, I am so glad that's over.

I need to run a few errands, shop and do all those boring housey things tomorrow, but that will clear the way for Easter and family things, and hopefully time for a few stitchery bits in there too.

So I can't stop now... I have a list or two to write xxx

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Bags of Fun - A Giveaway!

*** The Giveaway Is Now Closed***

Well I gave you good warning about fixing your No Reply Blogger statuses (stati?), and here's why...

My lovely friend Sara aka Sew Sweetness is offering one lucky, lucky follower of this here blog, the chance to win a set of her amazing bag patterns!

I know, that's all 9 bag patterns, pretty much one for any occasion that you may require a bag, and maybe even some occasions where you actually don't need a bag, but still want one anyway!  I already have the Aeroplane pattern waiting in the wings, (because, let's face it, I am never going to make a Weekender!).

If you don't think you are familiar with Sara, she's the really super talented, very cute one who makes the most amazing Melody Miller dresses amongst other things; and if I didn't love her, I would really really hate her!  She also sent me this beauty...

Over the past few weeks Sara has been showcasing all her new patterns on her blog, and an army of pattern testers have been making up all her designs in such a diverse range of fabrics that you would be hard pushed to not be able to visualise any look you may be after!

The patterns are rated from Confident Beginner to Advanced, so if you are new to bag-making you could work your way up the range.

So do you think you are up for a spot of bag makery?

3 chances to win... 3 separate comments please, I will delete any extras above your 3 chances!

1. Tell me, if you won, which of Sara's patterns you would make first...
2. Sign up for the Sew Sweetness newsletter, and come back and tell me so...
3. Bonus for followers of my blog; I prefer the traditional google click thing up there, on the left-hand side, but you can follow in any another way, just let me know which.

No Reply folks, please leave your email address within your comments so I can contact you and give your email address to Sara so that she can send you your patterns; if I can't get hold of you, I will redraw, sorry.

Open to anyone, anywhere.  I will draw one lucky winner at 8pm GMT Friday 29th March, it'll be a Good Friday for someone xxx

Monday 25 March 2013

A Labour of Love...

In January I sent out a stack of precut HST triangles to my fellow Brit Bees.  Greys, oranges and pinks, one of my all time favourite combos.

I requested (another, I know) whopping 24" block, instead of the usual two 12 inchers.  I toyed with just asking for random placement, but then decided on the Diamond Ripples block by Lara Finlayson from the Modern Blocks book.

Here's my original block...

Obviously as it was to be a Brit Bee quilt, Diamond Ripples was immediately renamed Diamond Nipples in my head at least, and is now affectionately thought of as my Brit Bee Nips!  You can stick to Ripples if you prefer.

I received all my blocks back by the end of February, and since then I have stitched up the mega-siggy block, embroidered over all our names, pieced and then quilted my new favourite quilt.

I am really trying to build up the tension here, but what the heck, here it is...

Ta da!!!
I bagged a seriously cheap bolt end of Loulouthi whilst all the blocks were out with the ladies, and I couldn't wait to use it on the second side; no backside here, I love both sides equally!

I madly decided that I wanted to contrast with all the pointy angles with some curvy quilting.  But FMQing is not my friend, and the only pattern I kept coming back to was the continuous spiral, on a 72" square quilt, with 1.25" spacing...

As it happens, that's 42 full 360 degree turns, plus corners!

NB.  If you quilt an anti-clockwise spiral, you will end up with more and more of your quilt passing through the throat of your machine until you reach gridlock.  If you lie awake at night knowing there must be a solution, and then finally twig that flipping the quilt and working from the other side will rectify the problem, and an ever decreasing throat-mass, you will be a lot happier.  If you are smart like Fiona, you will realise this quite quickly; if you are a bit slow, like me, and are too stubborn to google it, take heed!

Anywho, this quilting was hard, I still ache, but I LOVE IT!!!

I used a variegated 28wt Aurifil thread (4657), it's reddy-pink, orange and yellow, and works perfectly.  I almost chickened out and went for a straight grey or orange, but I am so glad I didn't.

Once it was quilted I thought I wanted a solid for the binding, to give it a proper frame, but firstly I didn't have enough of any solid, let alone a perfect one; secondly I didn't want to wait, and thirdly I had the perfect print ready and waiting.  Patty Young's Dandelion print in raspberry.  I bought a couple of yards ages and ages ago on sale, and the last serendipitous 20" was absolutely perfect as an almost solid in the colour I wanted...

As you know, I was a bit worried that the embroidery of the siggy block was going to end up looking like a dog's dinner after a wash and tumble; so many useful and wise suggestions received, brain not fully in gear, I promptly forgot them all and remembered at the point when I had basted the whole quilt!

But fear not...
Before & After.
The photos are not too clear, the grey block is 16" square, which is why the signatures appear so teeny, but rest assured, all the embroidery is still perfectly legible, and another favourite thing about this quilt.

I cannot thank all my fellow Brit Bee ladies enough for their sterling piecing, and speedy return of blocks, you have enabled me to have the most wonderful quilt...again!  Mwah mwah mwah xxx

As you are probably aware, us Brit Bees are an emotional bunch, and not getting this quilt finished quickly, (even though it is on my FAL list), was never an option.  I know that as a Bee quilt some people may not think that I have made best use of all the mighty skills we have between us, but the fact that these blocks all merge and flow together is exactly what I love about it.  A lot of love and meaning got stitched into this quilt, and it will rank up there as one of my most treasured possessions for always.
I am snuggled up under it right now; the only perk of this damn cold weather!!

If you need me, you know where you can find me, cosy and smiling xxx

Sunday 24 March 2013


I felt like a winner, plucking my finished Brit Bee quilt from the tumble dryer this afternoon; oh it is so beyond what I was expecting.  Working close up on it all week, despite laying it out on the floor from time to time, still didn't prepare me for the full effect of having it held up to be oggled at!

Of course there were photos, but I am going to save the full reveal until tomorrow, when I have had the chance to sort the pictures; however just to keep you going...

Enough of the teasing, I have a winner to announce.  The recipient of a roll of 1.5" HSTs, courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop and Alyce's Having A Starry Time bloghop is...

Congratulations Mareenchen I will email you shortly.

Thank you for all the naming suggestions and block history, I would love to be a position to need to give it a name, but it was just for fun.  I really liked Benta's Scrolling Stars imagery; I had been thinking Staggered Stars, but Chiska's Peek-a-Boo Stars really made me snigger like a 14 year old!

I want to mention now that I noticed there were a tonne of No Reply Bloggers entering this giveaway, fortunately I picked someone I can contact.  Please check your settings peeps, or leave your email address within your comments; I'll make it worth your while again in a couple of days... just saying ;)

So see you tomorrow, when I will reveal my Brit Bee Diamond Nips in full glory xxx

Saturday 23 March 2013

Hexing about...

Whilst you lovely folks have been leaving me so many wonderful comments about my Sizzix cushion and the Starry block, (some of your name suggestions have, maybe unintentionally, had me in stitches), I have been busy... oh yes.

We have luckily had no settling snow, unlike so many of you; but the miserable weather this week has certainly been very conducive to staying indoors.

I have cracked on with my Brit Bee quilt.  I had an unscheduled day off on Thursday with dear son having a nasty looking itchy rash, which turned out not to be Shingles after a second Doctor's opinion; but with a late morning appointment, it really wasn't worth going to work afterwards, so the spiral quilting got finished. 

Today I have started on the binding, and I am almost half way round already; if it isn't finished this evening, it definitely will be tomorrow, and I really really can't wait to show you.

Last night I played with my basted hexies.  I had an idea the other weekend at the Brit Bee get-together, and so I decided to hone my low-to-high value layout...

In the poor night-time lighting, using the black & white filter was it was easiest way to sort them all into order...
First try, just by sight, not too bad I reckon!
After a little re-jig.

Once I had pretty much got them in the right order, I played with sorting the colours and came up with an almost there, on the left, and then final layout...
I am going to make them up into a panel for a huge tote bag; I am partial to using a Tesco Orla Kiely bag for day-to-day haulage, but I think it would be nicer to actually make something of a similar size.  My mum just gave me all the excess cotton/linen from their new curtains, which I think will be perfect.

The hexies, as well as my Brit Bee quilt are both on my FAL list, so I only have a week to get them done, and I wouldn't mind getting my Orbit snuck in under the 1st April QAL deadline too.  It's going to be a busy week.

So stay warm folks, unless you are in Sydney and experiencing record-breaking heat, in which case, be cool xxx

Friday 22 March 2013

Having A Starry Time...

Today I am really thrilled to play my part in Alyce and the Fat Quarter Shop's Having A Starry Time bloghop.  Hello everyone, please be gentle with me...

When Alyce asked me to play, I jumped at the chance and chose 1.5" finished HSTs from the range of Triangles On A Roll sizes available; and they are brilliant, pure and simple.

I am not going to go into too much detail on the 'how', the pictures are pretty self-explanatory, and there's this great video to help if you are in doubt; but honestly, so easy.

Cut from the roll a piece that will produce the number of HSTs you require, I pressed my paper flat, to stop it trying to revert back to a roll; then layer your 2 HST fabrics, right sides together, place the paper on top, pin in place and then stitch.

Sew all the dashed lines, and cut all the solids; simple as...

Remove all the papers and press open, clipping those tails is all the trimming required for perfect 1.5" HSTs!

So for my block, which I have been really slack in not naming, (although I am not claiming originality, so it may well have a name anyway), here's a quick how to...

Triangle On A Roll paper to create 16 background & print HSTs
Triangle On A Roll paper to create 8 Two-tone print HSTs
8 x 2" squares background fabric
1 x 6.5" square background fabric
2 x 6.5" x 3.5" background fabric

4 two-tone HSTs should be sewn to create a pinwheel; unfortunately my pictures do not show these Liberty prints in their best light, but if you look closely...

Make up one star, that will measure 6.5" finished; the remaining HSTs and 2" squares will become two halves of an identical block.

Attach one background rectangle to the top and the other to the bottom edge of the full star; attach one half star to two opposite sides of the 6.5" background square; join the two sides to make a 12.5" block as below...

Now it might not look all that, but bear with... First though, I decided to make my block into a mini quilt, and quilted it accordingly...

I think it turned out pretty nicely...

However if you were thinking this is perhaps not the most interesting of blocks, well look what it could create as a 5x5 block quilt...

I am not sure I would attempt all these small HSTs without the assistance of the Triangles On A Roll, (or in this case PicMonkey!), and being just a little bit smitten, I went and made something else; the two Liberty prints show up way better in these pictures...

I loved this little experiment.  The HSTs are perfect with such little effort; cutting the papers does not feel like the usual trimming, especially small ones which have a habit of shifting under my ruler at the crucial moment, and I would entirely recommend them to any HST-aphobe.
So, do you fancy getting your hands on a roll of 1.5" finished Triangles On A Roll?  Well who wouldn't!?

***The Giveaway is now closed ***

Just leave one comment telling me what this starry block should be, or is called; do feel free to expand your comment to include praise and awe.

I will pick a winner using Mr Random Number Generator at 9pm GMT Sunday 24th March.  Open to anyone, anywhere; multiple/duplicate comments will be deleted for fairness, and if more than a dozen people enter, I reserve the right not to respond, unless you ask me something specific x

Thank you for starring with me, and please make sure you catch Alyce's final stop on the hop tomorrow, and here's reminder of all the others taking part...

Monday March 18th - Rita at Red Pepper Quilts
Tuesday March 19th - Lindsey at Happier Than A Bird Quilts
Wednesday March 20th - Jane at Want It, Need It, Quilt
Thursday March 21st - Jenelle at Echinops & Aster
Friday March 22nd - You are here!
Saturday March 23rd - Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts

Thursday 21 March 2013

Sizzix Spring Bloghop

Welcome to my stop on the Sizzix Spring Blog Hop.  If you are not a regular follower, please feel free to have a poke about and see all the other things I get up to.

Anyone who does come here often will know I am a Sizzix junkie, I could turn out hexies or HSTs 24/7 and be very happy, but for today it is the turn of the tumbler die (657616).  So let's make a cushion!

Tumbling Easter Bunnies Cushion:
You will need:
10 Bunny Print Tumblers
10 Background Tumblers
2 x 18"x 2.5" Background fabric
2 x 14.5" x 2.5" Background fabric
2 x 18"x12" Background fabric
14.5"x14.5" Fusible fleece or batting
2 x 18"x12" Lining fabric
18" x 18" Lining fabric
  • Cut all pieces, and layout tumblers as desired. Sew 4 rows of 5 tumblers and then join to make one panel.
  • Fuse or baste the batting onto the centre back of the panel - you will trim to size after quilting.
  • I quilted 1/2" either side of each seam; because of the way the tumblers are arranged, I used a washable pen to mark where the seam lines pass through the other tumblers as shown below...
  • Once quilted sponge/remove the pen lines, press and trim the panel to 14.5" square.
  • Sash the panel with the 2.5" strips, and trim to a square.
  • You may have a favourite way of making up your cushions, here is mine, a simple envelope back with reversed French seams...
  • Take the two back pieces and sew one backing and one lining piece right sides together, open then press wrong sides together and top stitch as desired along the joined edge.
  • Layer up your cushion pieces as follows:
         Bottom back panel - right side up
         Outer/top back panel - right side up
         Front panel - right side down
         Front lining panel - right side down
  • Pin in place.
  • Stitch 1/4" seam all the way round.  Trim the corners and turn through the envelope back.
  • Push out the corners and give it a press for luck.
  • I use a walking foot, but if you take it slow you should be ok - start midway along one side and stitch a 1/2" seam all the way round the edge, to enclose the inner raw edges.
  • This will fit a 16" or 18" pillow form, depending on how stuffed you like your cushion.
  • Plump up the cushion, and sit back with a hot cross bun!  (Alternatively let one of your daughters get their hands on it, and never see it again!).

If you haven't already, please check out all the other stops on the hopity-hop...

Monday 18th March -Katy over at her Sizzix residency
Tuesday 19th March - Carolyn at carolynforster.co.uk/wordpress
Wednesday 20th March - Laulli Pops at needlespinsandbakingtins.com
Thursday 21st March - Me!
Friday 22nd March - Anna at cafecreativo.blogspot.co.uk

An just in case you have been remiss in your hopping to date, you can enter this exclusive competition to get started with your patchwork and quilting adventure.

Click here to enter! The closing date is 28th March at 10am GMT.

The rules state its for UK/EU folks only I am afraid peeps, I'm sorry, but I guess if you are heading over here for Retreat or some other attraction, you could enter and if you win, someone could look after it for you.  Good luck.

Thank you one and all for stopping by, I hope this has given you an extra Easter idea that does not involve chocolate, although no reason why you couldn't work some into the mix somewhere!

Wednesday 20 March 2013

It seemed like a good idea...

So with the recorder concert looming large in my day off, I cracked on with my Brit Bee Nips, and decided to use the large bit of wadding I had for that, instead of the Orbit.

Basting took ages, despite the spraying; it was the trying to line up the centres of both sides and getting it all square that did my knees in.

And then, I decided that a spiral, radiating from the centre, would be a wonderful way to quilt it!!  (Must have been the fumes that got the better of me, and my original, simple idea).

I picked out a 28wt (not 12wt, as I had thought) variegated Aurifil, and I am loving how it looks.  However trying to stuff the best part of a 72" quilt through the throat of my machine in a tight circle has not been easy.  I battled for 2 hours and then stopped for tea.

My shoulders are now killing me, so I am giving it a rest for tonight.  I am about halfway though the full rotations, then I will have the corner curves to stitch too.  I still have that Sunday afternoon goal to work towards.

Today's Sizzix blog hopper is Ms Laulli of Pops, making some happy bunting, and Having a Starry Time is the awesome Quilt Jane.  Please check them out.

And before you ask, the recorders sounded just as you would imagine; I haven't recovered enough to get the video clips off my phone to show the would-be-proud Daddy; I don't see why he should escape miss out on the experience!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Quick, it's sunny!

It was sunny today, all day, so when I got home from work, I was straight out in the garden, across the boggy marshland that used to be the lawn, and hanging quilts from the trees!!

After last night's teaser, I thought you might like to see my Brit Bee Diamond Nips in their full glory...

The remaining 3 blocks will be on the reverse along with the siggy block, and side two already looks great in my head!

Thank you for the tips on my embroidery.  I had to rinse off the marker pen from the siggy block, so I did it with hot water and there was no ill-effect whatsoever, so I think I will dive in with Sadie's suggestion, I have some light-weight woven interfacing that will be perfect.

I have worked out that I only have enough batting for one quilt though, (boo), so I will be ordering some more tonight, getting side two sorted tomorrow, and then cracking on with my Orbit before the joys of another Year 3 recorder recital; my ears already hurt at the thought.  

In the meantime, did you see Lindsey's Having a Starry Time contribution, or Carolyn's Sizzix-cut Spring Wreath?  No-one is doing anything to allay my fears that I have been invited on these hops in error!

Monday 18 March 2013

A Spring In My Step...

I have been making up for the lack of sewing this weekend, by getting the backing of my Orbit quilt pieced, and also my Brit Bee top all sewn together this evening...

I still have 2 names left to embroider into the siggie block, and then I can piece the back for that too.

Does anyone know if I should be worrying that after a wash and tumble, my 3 strand Cosmo floss names are going to look like my kids have attempted embroidery with their eyes closed??

Ideally I would like these two basted on Wednesday, so that I can hopefully aim for one finish over the coming weekend; with all the fun and games of the last few days I could do with a bit of a relax, and a Sunday afternoon stitching down some binding sounds like heaven to me!

I had happy mail to get me in the mood today too; a layer cake of Summersville Spring courtesy of Justine...

I still have my first collection layer cake and a bit of yardage waiting for the perfect project, so I am hoping that my spend to use theory will again pay off and I will be able to stash-bust and make something using both together.  The additional colours are lovely, so time to start trawling for the one.

Did you see Rita's beautiful Having A Starry Time blog hop post today?  I think I am going to have to work on my presentation skills before Friday!!

And as promised, more details on the Sizzix hop...

Katy kicked off today with her 2 Minute Treat bags, then I will be joining these other lovely ladies with Spring and Eastertime makes...

Tuesday 19th March - Carolyn at carolynforster.co.uk/wordpress
Wednesday 20th March - Lauli Pops at needlespinsandbakingtins.com
Thursday 21st March - Me!
Friday 22nd March - Anna at cafecreativo.blogspot.co.uk

And whilst I'm all about the info, and despite not feeling the lovin', I am joining the hysteria and doing the claim thing just in case the world ends if I don't!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I think that's about it for tonight... crikey, is that the time!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Good Geek Fun!

Today we went up to the Excel in London for the Big Bang Science Fair, aimed at children, to encourage them to think about all things, well, science-y! 

OK, so 6 and 8 is a little early for full-on careers advice, but the idea was to show how science is used in so many areas, and as dear son has already decided he wants to be a scientist, this was a fun-filled and educational day out.

There were computer games, interactive games, rocket launching, hoopla throwing and DNA profiling.  Electric cars and buses, jet engines and lunar explorers.  Food testing, sweet wrapping and Rubics-cubing.  You get the picture...

The highlight was the live Brainiac show, full of loud explosions, rockets strapped to revolving chairs and electric shocks; great fun, despite no Jon Tickle!

There was ample swag to be had too, I did manage a cotton bag, to satisfy my fabric needs, along with the 20-plus pens, assorted pompom bugs, sweets and stickers we collected.  I love a good haul, I really do.

Now my feet are aching, I am completely exhausted, and the kids were asleep before their heads hit their pillows.  Happy days, and an all-round successful weekend, hurrah! xxx