Tuesday 30 April 2013

Making progress...

Here are a couple of pics of my Patchwork Please!/Give Me Liberty embroidery pouch as promised...
I have reached a bit of an impasse - the pattern calls for some transparent vinyl for the clear pocket, but where, oh where, do I get any of that??

In an attempt to use what I had on hand, I tried sticking sticky backed plastic to itself, but that is still too thin, and anything else I have, like document wallets and the like, just don't feel right.  I ordered a sample from a table covering type company, so we will see what that is like, but I am guessing more plastic bag than I need.

Does anyone know where I can get what is needed in the UK?  Should the sample turn out to be the biz, I will let you know, but any ideas please in the meantime.

Talking of meantime, Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is less than a week away...
... just saying xxx

Monday 29 April 2013

Here we go again...

Monday, again.

Not a lot to show, sorry, as it was back to the grind, followed by swimming and the usual domestics.

I have finished the cover of my embroidery pouch earlier this evening though, so pics tomorrow, and made a start on basting my little EPP project whilst at the pool...

Right, back to blog reading for me; seems like EVERYONE has something proper to show today, except me!

Sunday 28 April 2013

Not the best of starts...

I got up really early so I could check out our spiky friend, but unfortunately he had checked out already; so a little diversionary tooth brushing with the kids was required, whilst hubby got busy with the clean up operation.  

It also seemed like my MacBook was coming out in sympathy, but a couple of re-boots and a hard slap later and I brought it back to life; you win some, you lose some, eh?

So onto the day proper, making use of the early start, I had the main block of my Patchwork Please! embroidery pouch all sewn up before 10am; the points are not all perfect, but I love it...

I did then spend a disproportionate amount of time then pondering the rest of the pouch, but I want it to be just right.

We had a picnic lunch, on a windswept, freezing cold, heathland!!  The sun never quite made it, any warmth was zapped by the Arctic blasts, so after an hour of asking the kids if they were ready to go, we finally upped sticks and came home...

I couldn't resist cracking on with the rest of the block once the kids were in bed though...

Shocking photo, but you get the gist!

And so ends another weekend, and next week's is a long one - woo hoo xxx

Saturday 27 April 2013


Today was mostly caught on Instagram, so apologies if this is like deja-vu for you!

I cancelled my Genius appointment, as all is currently tickety-boo in the tech department, but I might make another one for next weekend, just in case things conk out during the week!

Anyway, after the weekly joy of loading up at Tesco, we went out to the village football team's Fun Day.  The kids won lots of sweets, I got cake!

The rest of the afternoon was spent fabric stroking, and trying to get the now seemingly poorly hedgehog to eat some pet food - it's not looking good; the fact he/she is out all day doesn't bode well.

Then once the kids headed up to bed, I got fussy cutting...

Precious HR and Liberty, so I am reading and re-reading the instructions this time.

Hoping that tomorrow will involve more sewing and less crouching next to bushes in the garden!

Friday 26 April 2013

Dunces corner...

Well after Wednesday's tantrum, there was a lot of unpicking, fiddling about and just a bit of bad language, but I ended up with a pencil case in the end...

So many imperfections I could almost cry; the good bits are actually really good but the bad bits are shocking!

If you already have the beautiful Patchwork Please! you will know what it is meant to look like, but I am guessing that if you don't, then it probably doesn't appear so odd.  Rather than slender grown up pencils though, I have reverted to big fat children's scribblers.  Sorry Ayumi!

I will make another one, I will read and follow the instructions properly and then I will end up with one I am proud of!  Lesson learnt.

For now, I am currently deliberating whether to go see the Genies at the Apple Store tomorrow morning or not.  My MacBook is currently playing nicely, but you know darn well that if I cancel, it will go wrong immediately; however, if it is working, they will not be able to do anything...  I give up, I'm going to go sew something instead! xxx

Thursday 25 April 2013

Random quickie...

I am giving you a single random, what with my computer misery an' all, but it's better than nothing... I hope!

Discovered when we got back from school today, to shouts of "Mummy there's a squashed owl or something in the garden, come quick..."

Linking with Cindy as always xxx

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Conspiring against me...


So yesterday ended with compounded aggro and upset; my computer is on the blink again, sadly some undeserving people are on the blink too and a bit of school trip wrangling had been chucked in for good measure.  Anyhow I thought today would be better!

After more fun and games at school, I got on with prepping some EPP, all ready for a day sitting in the sun...

... and it was cloudy ALL day!  Still I suppose I am now prepared for when it is needed.  Every cloud and all that!

So I thought I would jump into my Patchwork Please! and make the lovely Retro Pencil Case as I was stuck indoors.

Only I just raced ahead, in my merry way, thought I'd spotted a cutting typo, kept going and then realised too late that there was no typo and I was just an utter berk!

The mood I was then in, I figured the little hand stitching was likely to end in tears, so opted for machining contrasting thread, and then utterly hated it!  This is the pre-unpicked panel...

I did not paper piece the main pencil panel, and then went ahead and did not use the template for joining the pencil ends - so both panels have ended up wider than they should.  I have looked at it for so long that I see nothing but faults now.  Poop.

Well I have proceeded to unpick, re-cut and soldiered on, but more of that when I have calmed down a bit, promise.

So back to the laptop horrors - I will be checking my emails on my iPad or hubby's computer, but via webmail, which I totally hate.  Using Mail seems to send my MacBook into a spin, so I will not be replying for a bit; if I spot anything more urgent than comments, I will try to get back to you.  Also I will be reading blogposts, but likewise not commenting much, sorry chaps.  I am pre-writing a couple of posts now, whilst the going is good.

I am hoping everything will be resolved by the weekend, for now, I think an evening of mindless TV, and endless cups of tea is in order xxx

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Larking about

I haven't played a mosaic game for a long time, so when I spotted Rachel & Lark Cottons' current challenge, I was popping fabric onto my imaginary Wish List last night before you could say 'oooh lovely!'

So here is my Contrary selection...

Top to bottom, left to right...

Kulla in Tangerine, Glimma - Lotta Jansdotter
Soba in Tangerine, Glimma - Lotta Jansdotter
Topograph in Tangerine, Architextures - Carolyn Friedlander
Flower Child in Clementine, Boho - Urban Chicks
Cruiser in Cream Orangsicle, Lucy's Crab Shack - Sweetwater
Ledger in Ivory, Architextures, Carolyn Friedlander
Crosshatch in Silver, Textures - Art Gallery
Birds On A Wire in Blue Mist, Noteworthy - Sweetwater
Tortoise Shell in Aqua, Salt Water - Tula Pink
Snip Snip in Sky, Wonderland - Momo
Blue Giraffe, Cosmic Zoo - Kokka
Fine Feathered in Denim, Field Study - Anna Maria Horner

It's quite muted, for me, and that's why I like it!

If you fancy having a go, and the chance of winning your selection in fat quarters and your bundle being sold in the shop too, check it out!

Have fun; I'm off to watch the Great British Sewing Bee final xxx

Monday 22 April 2013

Medallion Monday...

The sun is here for the week, apparently, woo hoo! 

Work was bearable, the ironing has all been done, and I have been adding to my Marcelle Medallion. 

I didn't manage a photo this evening as it got dark already, but here is where I was at yesterday...

I have since added the wide, single strip border - more polka dots, aqua this time.  I am looking forward to piecing all those little cross blocks next, especially as they are all cut already.  It is safe to say that I totally love it!

I am sure there was a load of other stuff I was going to tell you, but my brain is blank; so for now, I'll just bid you a peaceful Monday night xxx

Sunday 21 April 2013

Thank you Weather Gods!

Well what a brilliant weekend - I think it must go down as the best this year, weather, activity and mood-wise! 

We made the most of it today, and headed out early to Petworth House; about 10 miles from us, but ordinarily c.£40 for a family of 5.  So when all it cost was the car parking, there was no excuse for just staying home.

So be warned, you may experience photo-overload...

We were home in time for me to get the brick-block borders on my Marcelle Medallion, before tackling a mountain of ironing, inevitably created by having a full washing line all weekend.  But I won't let that spoil my happiness, I have work tomorrow to do that xxx

Saturday 20 April 2013

Sunny Snippets...

Well would you believe it, a Saturday warm enough for the first time to do this in 2013...

The grass got cut, and dear son returned from his first-timers Cub camp; very tired but loved every second; and it appears they spent every second awake.

This is the 'before' shot; after was not so 'compact'.

The girls went off to a Harry Potter birthday party...

Professor McGonagall and Luna Lovegood!

I got all the cleaning, washing, shopping and sorting out the way and spent a lovely couple of hours soaking up some rays, leafing through my Liberty Love and Patchwork Please! and planning a little fusion.

Hoping the dry and fine weather continues into tomorrow, because, even though I now have a pile of ironing that is making me wince, a day out somewhere 'historic' is on the cards, taking advantage of this offer.

Hope your day has turned out as nicely, and if not, there's always tomorrow xxx

Friday 19 April 2013

Giveaway WInner...

Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway.  The karma gods were looking in when I closed it this evening.  Actually I did have a pang of 'they'll think it's a fix!' when I saw who the random number belonged to!  But Mr Random has chosen, and who am I to disagree?

Come on down Number 70...

Birthday Girl Trudi!!!

I will get it wrapped and sent to you soon my friend!

Thank you all for sharing your favourite makes, I might love the pin cushion as much as my kids, but guessing you really would prefer the Liberty Trudi!?

Afraid I have nothing for my non-UK friends this evening, but if you are at a loose end this weekend here in Blighty, it's free-entry time at the National Trust, so download yourself a voucher and go have some fun!  xxx

Thursday 18 April 2013

Random Geography!

Well I am afraid I am a bit lacking in the Random department this week; try as I might, the girls were not really up for list writing for the sake of your entertainment, but I'll keep working on them!

I did discover a random coincidence (?) with this week's fabric splurge though! 

Keen to join in with Krista and Nicole's Give Me Liberty sew-along, I thought a bit of bolstering of my Lifestyle supplies was in order, and so headed for Eclectic Maker as I knew they still had my favourite print in stock.

Anyhoo, maybe some other things fell in the basket, but imagine my surprise/joy and bank-balance flinching, on seeing the return address today...

I had just got home from work in Worthing!  Who knew I was so close to this awesome fabric dealer!?  Not me, until now, (must have ripped off the previous wrapping too quick to notice!).  OK, so they are not currently a bricks and mortar shop, but keeping it local has to be good, as is not so local, and darn right international... hmm.

So I am all set to make myself some lovelies, which will no doubt accompany me to FQ Retreat.  I sent through my class options this afternoon too - so I'm starting to get excited again!

And just because it was there, and I know what you are really after...

Playdoh Earth, cross-section and labels.  Don't say you never learn anything here!

Linking with Cindy's Randomeers because it's Thursday.

Don't forget, you have about 24hrs left to enter my Liberty pincushion giveaway.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Please tease me oh yeah, like I teased you!

I think I am right in saying that I am the last one to post my Stitch Tease blocks.  So in theory, you could have worked out what I made already!

Just in case you haven't been ticking off all the blocks on the tour, here are the ones I made for my fellow Stitch Teasers...

Firstly, for Katy; you can read about her quilt here...
This was fun, although my raw edge appliqué is a little more raw than I would have liked! 

Then Annabella's NYB; you can read about her quilt here...
I loved making this.

For Diane, I really pushed the boat out;  you can read about her quilt here...

These were made using Penny's awesome paper-pieced templates; they drove me a little crazy and came at a really hard time for my family and I, but I am so glad I persevered.  Hard to photograph, Di's pics are way better!

For Susan I was back on familiar territory; you can read about her quilt here...

I had to sneak in a non-white star in my 'signature' fabric, the Cloud 9 herons, which appear somewhere or other in all the blocks I made.

Danny's block meant I had to think!  You can read about her quilt here...
If you are going to make some flying geese, you might as well make hundreds eh!?

Helen's block was another fun one; you can read about her quilt here...
I embraced my inner wonk!

Finally I had to make the last block for Dianne's quilt top and then piece the bugger together!  You can read about her quilt here...
All the blocks were slightly different sizes, I worked a little jiggery-pokery to get it all to fit together, and I am really pleased with how it turned out.  My block is the one bottom-right - I was so keen to mail this off I didn't hang about for great photos!

So that's my lot!  Round 2, a more traditional Bee format kicks off soon, and I can't wait to see what ideas we all come up with.

Apologies again for prolonging the Stitch Teasing, but I had a little giveaway to post about yesterday, I hope you saw!!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Grazie Mille!

Do you see what I see?

How the heck I have managed to get to one thousand posts is completely beyond me.

OK, so to some it may feel like it's way more already, but to each and every one of you who has taken the time to pop by, read my ramblings, once, twice, maybe 1000 times, you make my day brighter, thank you so, so much!

To show my appreciation, it's only fair to have a little follower GIVEAWAY don't you think!?

On Sunday I instagrammed and posted this sneaky peak...

Which turned into this...

I think it is possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever made!!  I love it, I really would love to keep it, and I think that's why I should give it away.  Giving away something that I don't really want, isn't quite the point is it?

Just in case you missed my Le Challenge post; this is made using the Liberty charm off-cuts from my Marcelle Medallion quilt, and is another gorgeous pattern from Alexia's beautiful book.  It is a substantial 6" square, made of Liberty lawn and a little Lifestyle, pieced with Aurifil 50wt 2021 and backed with natural Essex Linen.  I even did ric-rac, and it worked!  It is looking a little less luminous than it is in real life - it was so sunny, so no complaining!

So what do you need to do, other than not being a No-Reply Blogger?  (Well, OK, you can be, as long as you put your email address in your comment, please!).

One comment only, (extras will be deleted), no hoops, simply tell me:

What is the most beautiful item you have ever made?

I will use Random.org to pick a winner at 8pm British Summer Time on Friday 19th April; open internationally and as ever with giveaways, I probably won't be responding to individual comments, sorry.

Good luck and thank you, my wonderful friends xxx

*** The Giveaway is now closed ***

Monday 15 April 2013

Stitch Tease - Mystery Revealed!

Queen Bee, Strip Mama, our fearless leader Di got the ball rolling yesterday with her grand reveal; which is only right, as she was the mastermind behind the last 12 months, but today you will notice posts popping up by the rest of the worker Bees.

Stitch Tease

It seems like a very long time ago that this merry band of stitchers started pondering what we wanted from this twisted Bee; Di's post goes over the whole whos and hows, so I won't repeat that again now.

Suffice to say, my initial request went something like this...

I do not want wonky,
I would like a combo of squares and rectangles of various sizes,
I would like as many different prints as you can muster within the strip, or rather, as few repeats as possible within a row, but some repeats between rows, if you spot a print someone else has used will help the quilt be more cohesive,
Like Susan, I like the idea of negative space, so within the strip I would like about half a dozen random white squares of various sizes, as long as they are white I do not mind if they are Moda Bella, Kona or Klona, just proper white!

Mostly Teal, Aqua, Orange, Green, Blue, Grey with touches of other colours within prints is fine, like the Dis (plural) fabric selections, but no big chunks of red or primary colours thank you.

Prints & Fabrics:
I think a mixture of big and smaller scale prints will work really well; a strip of all large, or all teeny won't look so good. No solids thank you.

I HATE batiks, please don't try to sneak any in, they make me sad, also anything that has that smudgy look, or like little bubbles, you know the sort.

I love bolder more graphic prints, think Amy Butler, Momo and Joel Dewberry but ANY Heather Ross is more than welcome.

No comedy, or kiddie prints!

I don't ask for much. 

... and my inspiration mosaic looked like this...

Stitch Tease Inspiration

My inital block was made and then sent on to Katy for the duration...

Starter block

Twelve secretive months went by, and without further ado, (as if you haven't scrolled down to look already!), this is the wonderful quilt top that I received back...

I. Love. It!
I unwrapped mine first, and it was soooooooooooo hard to not gloat and flash it all about whilst all the others were still waiting; but it did mean it could get the full photo-shoot treatment!

I can tell who's blocks are whose by our tell-tale signature fabrics, and love it so much for all the prints that have been pulled with me in mind; it has turned out more beautiful than I imagined it could...

When you see all the finished tops you would be forgiven for thinking that mine was the simple relation of the group, but trust me, it is entirely what I wanted, and 10"x 60" blocks are not as simple to piece as they look!

I love all the blocks I made for the rest of the Bee, and I promise I will give you a run-down of all my contributions later in the week. 

This quilt is already on my FAL Q2 list, backing and batting are ready and waiting, so it shouldn't be too long before I have it finished.

I have said it before, (oh you should see the number of emails that have gone on during this first year!!), but I will say it again, for the record, thank you all, Di, Katy, Susan, Annabella, Dianne, Helen and Danny for my smashing quilt and a super year of stitching.  Love, love, love xxx

Sunday 14 April 2013

Oooh Le Challenge!

Entries into this month's Le Challenge have been popping up today, and I have been pondering what to enter, because, looking back over the past month, pretty much all my makes have been of a geometric persuasion! 
Le Challenge

I think my Orbit quilt is a prime example of all things square; my beach bag is hexagon heaven, and my first few Marcelle Medallion borders have incorporated more equilateral triangles than I had ever attempted before.  Today though, I made what has to be my most favourite, instantly gratifying, mini project, ever!

Now I can only, well, will only, be showing you this in progress photo for today, but it is finished, I promise you, (I have been smiling and squidging it since lunchtime).  I am leaving the grand reveal until Tuesday, before 10am so as not to fall foul of those strict Le Challenge rules, so you might want to come back for that one, just saying!

I love a (non-wonky) log cabin, and a Liberty one to boot?  Well it doesn't get much better than that does it?!!

Whilst I was cutting all those Medallion pieces yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking about using all those charm off-cuts, and before I had even got showered this morning, I was pulling the prints and planning this little beauty.

With a little diversion of the park and Tesco variety, and then lunch, I was all done by 2pm; just in time to have a sit outside in the sun... until an inevitable rain-shower!

***Edited to add - if you click here you can see it in its full beauty and maybe even win it!!!***

Lucy and Nat's joint online baby is looking like it will grow into a smashing credit to them both; have you linked up this month?  I'm looking forward to next month's challenge already.

So that's the Easter holidays over and done with too; a pretty miserable fortnight really, but that seems to have been the same for most of the UK, so we'll just put it down the never-ending winter of 2013 and move on!

Tomorrow I will be posting my Stitch Tease reveal; I don't want to giveaway what I am up to on Tuesday, but please keep coming back, it's going to be a busy week xxx

Saturday 13 April 2013

Summer holiday hexies...

Without 10 days of guaranteed wonderful sunshine to look forward to, I think I would go barmy.  So thinking ahead, I decided to turn my hexies into a great big beach bag.

It's a whopping 21" from top to bottom, plenty of room to fit in all the towels, lotions, goggles and biscuits for a day at the beach...

It's going to make me happy to keep looking at it until we head off to sunnier climes!

I quilted the hexies onto some fusible fleece and used most of the remainder of my parent's curtains, so another bargain make, and my second FAL finish too.  I promise, as soon as I go back to work on Monday, and-slash-or, the sun ever comes out again, my output is going to plummet, significantly!

This rainy afternoon though was spent cutting tiny pieces of Liberty and the rest of the fabrics for my Marcelle Medallion; a horrible job, but no-one else was going to do it for me.  But now I am free to piece to my heart's content.  Happy days xxx

Friday 12 April 2013

Aeroplane Bag - I did it my way!

As soon as I saw Sara's Aeroplane Bags, I knew that I would be having a go sooner or later. 

I had expressed an interest in making a Weekender when they were all the pre-Sewing Summit craze; but to be honest, all the 'oh yes it is', 'oh no it isn't' complexity-chatter kind of got on my nerves, and for the time and aggro, perceived or real, my heart wasn't really in it.

Then in waltzes Sara with a big old holdall, which held endless possibilities in my head!

So here is how I made mine, just in case you are interested; what I will say before you decide, is that this came entirely from my stash except for the 99p zipper.  If I was going to mess it up, I didn't want it to have cost a small fortune, and if the more casual finish of mine is not to your taste, that is purely me and not the pattern!

I bought 2 meters of Amy Butler wide home dec on sale for about £5 about 3 years ago; having realised pretty quickly this was not going to make a cosy quilt backing, it sat in the bottom of my fabric box, neglected waiting... until last week!

Front and back.
The pattern calls for all sorts of interfacing and things of which I have no knowledge.  I am sure they, or suitable substitutes, are all available in the UK, but I decided to get on and simply use cotton wadding offcuts and an extra layer of thick cotton, the excess from some of my parent's curtains; kind of a linen feel, which frays like a bugger, but easily zig-zagged.

I cut panels slighter larger than required in the pattern, layered the home dec, wadding and curtain fabric, quilted parallel lines c.1" apart, and then cut out the pattern pieces. 

Not the best photo, but shows the quilting on the panels quite well.
In the original pattern the bottom section is cut straight, and once the corners are boxed the bag tapers in; I wanted mine to go straight, and because I did not decide this until after I had cut and quilted, I reduced the top section by an inch (well 2, as it is cut on the fold),  and then extended the angle of the top section down across the bottom panel.  If you have the pattern, this will make more sense, I hope.

I also decided, in an ode to the Weekender, that piping would be a nice touch, especially as I was using one fabric for both the top and bottom panels, and because I had a pink zip and orange fabric, I wanted something to unite it all.

Thinking that a pocket between the two handles would also be a good idea, I used this to practice my piping skills, because I basically had none.  I found a tutorial online that suggested using bindaweb, you know the trouser hem stuff, to seal the folded fabric and squeeze the piping against the edge with your iron, but I can't for the life of me find it again, sorry.  I then trimmed the flat edge, and used Lisa Lam's tute.

It worked at treat.

So I added piping between the main panels; some AMH flannel, which matched perfectly.

My 16 layers were literally only where my bottom panel, piping, top panel, pocket and handles met; so for all those who envisaged a nightmare of sewing, honestly, it may have busted a needle, because I was going too fast, but it was fine when the thickness was not a surprise!

I didn't measure the placement of my handles, I think they have come out slightly closer together than the pattern, but somebody didn't think of that when they made the pocket!

I only inserted one internal zipper, part laziness, part balance with the one outside pocket, and Sara's method is excellent and turned out perfectly.

I didn't add interfacing to the lining; I didn't have enough.

Luckily for me, the main zip I bought was for a jacket, and therefore it unzipped and separated into two, like they do, which made inserting it onto both side panels really easy.  My second needle catastrophe happened when joining the two panels and all my own fault!

The only areas for improvement are my top stitching along the zip where it crosses over the darts, as I should have trimmed them better, so the second side faired better, and the zip ends are not perfect.  I managed to hand stitch up to the zip far more neatly and snugly than I could with the sewing machine.

Although it might look like I made lots of changes to Sara's pattern, they really are superficial, and I followed her clear and logical instructions step by step, and I was able to just pop in my taste and fancy at the appropriate places.  I would definitely not have been able to make it without Sara's guidance.

That's my 72" Scrappy Trip Along in there for scale.
I love it!  This is the large version, and easily big enough for a weekend away... oooh like Fat Quarterly Retreat!

If you haven't bought the pattern, I can highly recommend it.  And as you may have noticed, it didn't take long at all.  I was originally tempted to use quilt-as-you-go to make the panels, but that would have taken me days and days of indecisiveness, which I didn't have the patience for, and as it goes, I really like the effect of using the same print for the whole bag.

I would definitely make another one, and probably use the same construction, because I am cheap frugal like that!

Bonus: whilst people are still linking up their FAL plans for Q2, I have my first tick!!  And I got another today, but I'll show you that tomorrow!