Friday 31 May 2013

Friday Fings!

A potentially quite calm day was kicked into touch at about 9 am when I re-read the letter about camp and spotted the part about all Cubs to bring a homemade cake with them!  Bugger.

I don't do baking, other than that banana bread recently, so, with a bit of wishful thinking and a super special, and thankfully helpful friend, I jotted down the recipe for chocolate flapjacks, (having sampled many at the weekend), and dashed off to get supplies, including a baking tin, (oh I know, say nothing!).

Obviously we had to sample some, to make sure the Cubs were going to be OK, and I have been told by the girls to make more tomorrow, and that they want flapjack instead of cake for their birthday... in November!  Success then.

More in-keeping with the me you have come to know and love, a delivery from Pink Castle's 30% off skinny bolt sale last week; 2yrs of AMH voile and some Liberty Lifestyle...

And I have managed to crack on a little with my Super Tote...

I have got to the stage of basting the elasticated pockets to the lining, so fingers crossed it will be a June 1st finish.

Finally, dear son got dropped off at camp, complete with flapjacks, and it looks like they are going to have a great time...

So that'll be May then; finishing on a high in both temperature and spirit.  See you in June xxx

Thursday 30 May 2013

Be Prepared...

I spent the day preparing.

Dear son heads off for his first full pack camp tomorrow, and apparently the sun is due to return for the weekend, fingers crossed pleased; not worried about him, but rain = mud = lots more washing for mummy!

I then spent the afternoon preparing a Super Tote.  Sooooooooooooooooooo much cutting and interfacing and all that horrible mularky.  I did not enjoy that bit.  But it will be worth it, hopefully a good night's sleep will clear my head for the fun piecing bit!

So not random.  Sorry, but here's a link that will make you chuckle, especially if you are of a teacher-persuasion, the parent of teens, or just glad your school days are over.  Make sure you make it to no.33, that's my favourite!

Oh, and I uploaded the contents of son's Nintendo 3DS SD card onto my MacBook for him today, he is nothing if not random...

Linking with Cindy's Really Random Thursday.

Wednesday 29 May 2013


Some days you know you will treasure forever.  Some days make you beam with pride.  Today I had one of those days.

The girls got behind the sewing machine for the first time, and they were thrilled!

We ran a few errands, and dropped dear son off at his friend's for the day, and needing a couple of bits from the little local sewing shop anyway, I thought, why not!

They were given free rein of the £1 FQ box and the discounted sparkly Disney princesses, and then we came home to sew.

Simple envelope back cushions were the pick of the day.

I did the cutting and pinning, they were in charge of the start/stop button, needle up/down and speed control.

There's ric-rac on the back, because I had some, in the right colours.  We even used the fancy combined straight/zig-zag stitch (no.11) to join the front and back pieces.

Within a couple of hours, and without any raised voices, we had cushions!!!

We even popped back to the sewing shop to show the lady, who was suitably impressed and a complete star with them!

When the weather changed for the worse this afternoon, they snuggled up on the sofa, and watched ET on DVD.

Now they are tucked up in bed using them as pillows.

A good day; a good mummy day.

Tuesday 28 May 2013


Today we had an early morning appointment for the girls to get their hair cut, so obviously dear son had to have ago under the space helmets...

There was a trolley dash and house clean, and even a little bit of secret sewing, all whilst the rain beat down outside...

We then headed out to the cinema.  At 2 minutes to 5, having spent a frustrating amount of time in the ring road traffic, I managed to get into The Eternal Maker and grab a couple of spools of Aurifil 2021 just before they closed.

I have since spent a couple of hours of my life, that I will never get back, watching Epic.  It was better than The Croods; it looked pretty, but there was no adult wit, and not a vast amount of story, but the kids loved it.  I got to eat a bag of Malteasers.

So now back home, exhausted, watching a chap in Dubai zooming along on a Juki making flags, and I think that's my lot for the day.

Hoping to play catch up and take it a little easier tomorrow.  Maybe.

Monday 27 May 2013

Bank Holiday Fortune...

Good and bad fortune in the shape of my latest make. 

Those wee Liberty/Heather Ross hexies that kept me occupied on my journey to Susan's and back were carefully planned to make a Lisa Lam Fortune Cookie purse; the pattern is included in the latest copy of Mollie Makes.  I bought a couple of the frames ages ago, and so now was the time.

Only it wasn't, well almost.  I made up the pouch yesterday, it looked perfect; I was thrilled. 

I glued in the first side, bit of a squeeze, but the second side was never going to work.  I tried, twice.  The pouch was just too small for the frame; I don't even think if I had scrimped on the seam allowances that it would have worked.  Bugger.

But determined not to let that get the better of me, I pulled a regular frame and it was the perfect size.  So once again good fortune has made this pouch my own...

I am going to use this one for the reels of thread and bigger wotnots that don't fit in my Patchwork Please! embroidery case; sorry all you ladies who feel that I should be handing that one over - it ain't going to happen!!!

And because it was a sunny Bank Holiday, we headed out to the Steyning Country Fair.  There were lots of animals...

... lots of general fun and lovely grub...

... then home for more garden time.  My afternoon incorporated a lot of this...

... looking at blue skies and having my nails painted with water and paintbrushes, possibly not as relaxing as it sounds.

Tomorrow is forecast for rain again, I have shopping, ironing and cleaning, all that boring indoor stuff to do that I have been ignoring in return for a great long weekend, so I mustn't grumble. xxx

Sunday 26 May 2013


Susan has already posted about the wonderful time had by Brit Bee and friends yesterday, but that's no reason why I can't too, nor steal her pictures!

I had a very long day; up before 6am to get the 7.23am train to London, Tube across town, then onwards to Banbury to be met by our lovely hostess.

There was non-stop laughter and chatter the whole time, with added fine dining and fabric thrown into the mix...

It was another super day with so many wonderful people...

Yes I am in the photo, and yes I did wear the ER Staple Dress xxx Photo c/o Susan.
Thank you again Susan for letting us descend en masse, and to everyone-else who made such yummy treats, (the train journey spared you my culinary skills), and to one and all, thank you for another bunch of special memories.  To those Brit Bees who couldn't make it, you were dearly missed and in out thoughts xxx

Sadly I had to leave relatively early in order to get all the connecting trains home again before I turned into a pumpkin, but I did manage a little hexie action on route though, and hopefully I will be able to show you the end result tomorrow.

I probably spent too much time in the sun today recovering, so I am zonked.  I would love to have the energy to give a blow by blow account, but you honestly would be so jealous, it is probably best all round if I just shush now and get an early night!

Saturday 25 May 2013

Friday 24 May 2013

Best laid plans and all that...

I was hoping to spend the latter part of today concentrating on packing my bag and getting ready for tomorrow, relaxing into Half Term and all that...

... instead I was racing about with specimens of a 6 year old variety, and trying to get everything ready for those not going away for the day, whilst donning my winter coat again and generally getting rather cold, wet and miserable...

So hubby has just returned from the late night drop off at the hospital, and I think we are all set.

Time for an early night xxx

Thursday 23 May 2013

Randoming again...

Whilst I try to play catch up, and laugh myself silly at all your comments about my comments about the Staple Dress, I have a couple of randoms to show you this evening...

Now, I work for the government, so we are pretty security conscious, but I think x-raying the clearly stamped staff Specsavers eye test voucher is a little extreme - or maybe I have clearance for x-ray specs!  Chocolates from my parents have prompted me to get cutting a new hexie project, and dear son came home with Roman armour, (to be used with the Staple Toga no doubt!)...

But more exciting... Fat Quarterly Retreat classes and supplies have been confirmed; I got the ones I hoped for and may have cut the curved paper-piecing supplies already.  My excitement was contagious, so the girls drew me some London pictures...

My friends and I, rain, sun, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben, The Queen, a Tube train(!) and a big round table to sew on!
Me and a pal!
Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament(!), London Eye(!), Olympic Stadium with people playing football, The Queen in the Tower of London and Me and someone with fab hair and a Staple dress.
Linking up these gems with Cindy, Random Queen.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The surgeon is ready now...

Well I never promised, but I thought asking a 6 year old to do the honours with the camera would guarantee me anonymity and mystique!

Not wrong!  But we did persevere...

Finally got one in focus and had the whole dress, and me in it!

My thoughts on the Staple Dress, for what they are worth...
  • I am a UK14 (mostly!), with 'broad shoulders and a figure courtesy of pies', so I made a Large.  
  • The area around the arm holes fits really nicely, not cutting-in nor gaping, and the whole fit is comfortably loose.
  • I made mine in a dressmaking cotton (poplin?), it has a relatively nice drape, but it is still a bit crisp.
  • I like the fit, but think I would prefer it in a jersey or something more flowing; I have some cotton voile, unfortunately not the super AMH floaty sort, but that may be a little better.  I am not yet back up to fancy slippy, stretchy fabrics, but do think these would look the best.
  • I made the pocketed version, I will probably not bother next time, or maybe just make patch pockets.  They are a nice touch, but I would like to french-seam the insides instead of the zig-zag I had to use.
  • I think that perhaps, if you are of the bigger-bosom you may, especially with the elasticated waist that I omitted, end up looking like you are smuggling footballs in a sack.
  • I lowered the neckline by about an inch; I wasn't confident enough to slice off more, it is probably more psychologically comfortable than anything!
  • If you are happy with your waistline, the elastic could look great, if like me you don't like to draw attention to the fact that you aren't as svelte as you used to be, then don't put yourself through the elasticated bother, you can still wear a belt!
  • Without a belt it looks either like a super-cool 1960s number, or a hospital gown, even April warns that this would be the first impression.  I think I will wear it as an ode to dearly missed ER!
  • I think if you are a skinny-mini the dress looks the most flattering; I have seen both enviable and avoidable versions on t'internet, so it possibly isn't a pattern for everyone, however if you want to make your first item of clothing, it really is a must.  Make it in some cheapish fabric, (mine was £6/m, and I used 2.2m), it will fit, and you can wear it round the house without scaring the postman, then work your way up to more complicated things.
I cannot see me wearing this much as a dress per se, but then I am not much of a frock-wearer; maybe on holiday, but I will wear it over jeans or leggings (no hybrid!).  I may even wear it on Saturday.  I may not.  But that will be more to do with the weather than anything else.

Well I hope this has helped if you have been wondering about this pattern.  Obviously these are only the thoughts of a 40-something, seen better days, mummy, so take on board or disregard as you wisely see fit xxx

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Using an 'O' Level!

My kids are not old enough for me to start nagging them about the importance of exams, yet, but today I can honestly say that I have used an 'O' Level; I only took them 25yrs ago!!! 

So I made a Staple Dress, the full monty including pockets and facings!  I even altered the neckline.

Unfortunately by the time I was finished, it was dark, so no modelling... that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.  As I mentioned the other evening, I have not added the elasticated waist; my waistline is not built for accentuating!!

So I will wear it with a sparkly disco belt, because I am like that, (well, when I am not at work, not at school or in my pyjamas...).  I will get a photo or two tomorrow, but I am making no promises on whether I will be in it, (but best you see me in it than out of it though!).

You don't need an 'O' Level in Dress to make this.  April has produced a foolproof pattern and instructions.  It took me 3 hours to make, including cutting, putting the kids to bed and trying on a couple of times.

It still has an air of 'heading into the operating theatre', but without the bum-flasher back; I am more than happy.  Next, to tackle a jersey version... maybe.

Monday 20 May 2013

In The Pink...

So Monday Blues is more how I am feeling, but I've managed to get the first make of the week under my belt already.

This was one of the things on my 'need to do' list; a birthday present for the girls' best friend for Saturday.

After tea, I turned these Walk In The Woods scraps...

...into this...

Water into wine, pah!

I had the notion to construct the front block in a scrappytripalong stylee, but the pieces were not conducive so I had to just piece it longhand.  It finished up at 15" square and plumps up nicely with a 16" cushion form.

Not thinking a real Staple Dress and a Super Tote will come quite so easily this week, but here's hoping xxx

Sunday 19 May 2013

Some Sunny Day...

There was a little sunshine today; just enough to go to the park and afterwards sit out in the garden with my parents...

It was all going well until a collision between a small boy and a bollard, knees were patched, and he did get back on again later in the garden, so no long-term damage done.

The fresh air worked it's magic and sleep came super-quickly this evening, so I could get a little sewing done.

I owe Judith a couple of Bee Blessed blocks, the fashionable and simple 16-patches; please forgive the getting dark 8pm photos...

I am looking forward to handing these over in person next weekend. xxx

One more week until half-term, tonnes I want to do, tonnes I have to do.  Let's see which wins!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2013

Well the Blogger's Quilt Festival snuck up on me this time around, and I was just a little unprepared!

Oh what to enter??

If you are not a regular follower of this little corner of the interweb, please don't look back at the last couple of days and judge me - I've been having a bit of a week; poorly husband and one child out of 3, extra-curricular school activities, a busy work schedule and an AWOL sewing mojo, which resulted in me venting my frustrations on a Staple Dress last night; angry-sewing never looks nice!

Anyway, back to business, I looked back over the last 6 month's makes, before plumping for the one I knew I would end up entering anyway!

I love this quilt; this is my Brit Bee II quilt, Diamond Nipples, (yes, nipples).  I am one of the lucky dozen who are part of the best bee in the world; I am also in the second best bee in the world too, as proven here by my friend Di.  I have just joined my third bee, which is shaping up to being the 3rd best bee in the world... go figure!

Brit Bee at last year's Fat Quarterly Retreat.
The block I chose for my month (January 2013) was Diamond Ripples by Lara Finlayson from 99 Modern Blocks; I super-sized my request up to 24" blocks.  OK, for the record, this is not a stash bee, I provided the fabric, and I also cut all the HSTs by Sizzix, so no trimming was required; as if I would exploit the goodwill of the group (again)!

The ladies did me proud, as I knew they would...

This quilt resides on our bed, it makes me smile, a lot; it will remind me of all those who made it forever.  There's a lot of deep 'n' meaningful sewn into this quilt.  The last year has been a hard one for me and all in the Bee, and the strength of friendship we have forged over the last two years cannot be beaten, so don't even try!

The deets for those that like that sort of thing...

Name: Diamond Nipples
Made by: Brit Bee
Side 1: 9 blocks in a mix of orange, pink and grey fabrics
Side 2: 3 blocks plus siggie block and AMH Loulouthi
Binding: Patty Young - Dandelion in Raspberry
Batting: Sew Simple 100% cotton
Quilted: Continuous spiral from the centre with variegated Aurifil 28 wt 4657 by me, at home on a little Janome QXL 605
Size: 72" x 72"

I am entering this into the Group/Bee category, so it can socialise with many other loved group quilts and be part of this wonderful and inspiring festival.

Now I have taken up enough of your time, so many quilts, so little time...thank you for having a look here, and enjoy the rest of the festival.  Time to get pinning!

Regulars, see you tomorrow xxx

Friday 17 May 2013

Friday, on my mind!

I am all out of kilter this week, I think the man-flu, busy-busy and disco have taken their toll on my sense of time, and zapped my energy!

I didn't even link up with Cindy yesterday; I managed to catch up with a lot of blog reading, but commenting was a step too far.

My Inbox is fit to burst, so apologies if I owe you a reply, I will try to clear everything down over the weekend.

And now the Bloggers Quilt Festival has begun and I haven't even thought about what to enter!

This evening though I made a Staple Dress - well almost; the arm and neck facings are not finished, but as I made it from an old sheet, it basically looks like an old sheet; ('Are you dressing up as a Roman?' was my husband's reaction!), I might finish it, and give it to the kids for dressing up!

I made an XL, but a L would be better - I am not going to do the shirring, just belt it, it really is a super easy pattern.  I just think it needs a knitted fabric, and that is a little scary!

Anyway, I don't want to leave you picture-less, (my Staple Dress is not photogenic), so here's what is hidden under a little girl's pillow tonight, as her first tooth came out today...

I better go get my wings on; unfortunately, pound notes went out of circulation in 1984, so guess a coin will have to do!

Thursday 16 May 2013

There were crisps...

... lots of crisps, lots of kids and lots of noise...

I have a headache.  I need a lie-down xxx

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Liberty, Liberty, Liberty!

Well I have had a Liberty-fuelled day.

Kids at school, hubby packed off to the office, (albeit he only made it until lunchtime), and I got down to it.

First I finished off my Marcelle Medallion quilt top.

I. Love. It!  Simple as.  I had a grand plan, lots of Liberty and not a lot of red, pure white or orange.   And it worked!

I took lots of photos...

Then I took some more...

Then the postman turned up with a couple of envelopes containing some more beautiful Liberty...

I knew Ali of Very Berry Handmade had the Eloise print I was after to finish my Retreat name tag, so I ordered what I needed, and maybe a little more fell into the basket, (well Ali does a mini-bundle deal on 3 pieces, so why buy 1 when you can buy 3, or something like that; and super lovely friend that she is, I also received an Only Ditzies Please! scrap bag, which I must say is a complete super bargain at £3, and with all those beautiful teeny prints, is perfect for smaller projects... I am thinking my Retreat goody-swap partners may be seeing these again!  Watch this space.

So with time to myself, I bound my partner's name tag, and made a blue Essex Linen lanyard; and then hand finished the back whilst catching up with a recorded EastEnders that I missed whilst on the Cub run!  (Hold a grudge, moi?).

I now have the dilemma of how to quilt my Marcelle Medallion, but I am surrounded by beautiful things, so I think I can cope with that!