Monday 30 September 2013

Holiday Memories...

Before I let Autumn consume me completely, (how did October come round so quickly!?), I am travelling back in time to reminisce about those bright, precious days in the holiday sun.

I love being on holiday, and I really love that even now, the kids wake up and say that they wish they could go back to Menorca again.

There are way fewer arguments, fewer tantrums and fewer stresses when we are away.  We have been so lucky to find somewhere so perfect for all of us, we haven't ruled out yet another return visit!

This year we took a glass-bottom boat trip that was pretty much the highlight of holiday, and that day won't be forgotten any time soon, especially now I have cast my quilty-eye over it!

When we got back home at the end of August, it was only a matter of time before I was plotting for Fiona's competition.  Not only has she gathered an awesome bunch of sponsors, but the idea is genius.  I have been looking at my mini-quilt every day since I finished it, and still get that smiley feeling about being away.  Thank you Fiona!

I wanted to try something new, and Lu's book was just the perfect inspiration I needed; thanks Lu too.  I am really proud that I have created something so far removed from everything I have made before.

It turned out exactly how I pictured it in my head and most importantly, the children could pick out so many of the references unprompted!

I have to admit it, I am thrilled with this mini quilt; all it represents, the fun I had making it as well as the relief of it actually working out.  (Humour me, please!)

I couldn't bring myself to use only solids, but I really had to be strict with myself not to overload on prints, so a select few and some treasures from my scrap bag from Ms Fanny, and I think I have got the balance right.  I realise this won't be to everyone's taste, and you could all just think I have made a right old mess, but to me it really is an extra, special, souvenir. 

Thank you again to Fiona for encouraging me to do something completely different and to break out of my comfort zone.

Honestly, solids, improv and real-life inspiration - who knew I could eh?!

Some important deets:
Measurements:  26.5" x 20.5"
Pieced & quilted - Aurifil 50wt 2021
Kona solids - Simply Solids
Hand-printed scraps - Leanne Fanny/The Little House Martin
Scraps inc. Moda crossweaves, RB Chevrons, Sherbet Pips and Architextures
Backed with Moda Muslin - Eclectic Maker

Make sure you take a look at all the other holiday memories appearing over at Celtic Thistle Stitches too, and if you have turned your holiday memory into a cushion, bag or mini-quilt, don't forget you have until this Friday to link up.

Sunday 29 September 2013


A couple of days ago Rachel launched her Washed Earth Mosaic Contest sponsored by Pink Chalk Fabrics.

To me, this time of year means misty mornings, leaves on the turn and berries.  Taking in the last of the sun's warmth and enjoying the peace in the house after the full-on colour and sound of the summer holidays.

The sky is more likely to be grey than blue; but on a good day, there's a bit of pink in the sky at sunrise.

Our autumn wedding included the pale pinks and deep reds of rose petals in handmade paper, and September is the month we moved house when I was pregnant with the girls, and we got to decorate in pink.

This is the time of year I cried more tears than I knew I could, and the time I have never been so happy; bitter sweet.

These are my colours, these are my thoughts...

Washed Earth mosaic

The contest is open for a few more days if you feel like turning your hand at capturing your feelings too xxx

Saturday 28 September 2013

Uptown girl...

Via the magic of technology, whilst you are reading this, dear hubby and I will be gadding about that there London, as our anniversary treat!

So in honour of the big day, I made myself a For Pleat's Sake Tote.  I am not the only one to have fallen for this free pattern, and by all accounts not the only one to have fallen foul of the dreaded pleats!

A word to the wise... when you make the two marks for each pleat, do not fold and match the marks together; they indicate where the fabric folds.

So here's my bag...

Lush Uptown paired with some Random Pencil Check in linen (good brown!).  I got my handles from Bag Clasps - super fast, and added a magnetic snap for a bit of mental security.

I stitched the handles in matching dark brown thread, which may, or may not have looked better on the inside if I had gone lighter, but I prefer the thread-less look on the outside, so be it...

It's a great size; big enough for all my usual gubbins and a bit of extra rummage room; and so quick to make, after that first set of pleats!

So love you and leave you, I expect I have shopping to do!

Friday 27 September 2013


Ten years, a whole decade, it has gone by in a flash!

Happy Anniversary, my love, my best friend, my husband, forever xxx

Thursday 26 September 2013

Harvest Feasting...

Today seemed to involve a lot of washing and tumbling; pinning, un-pinning and re-pinning, Kelly will know what I mean by that; as well as a lot of time at school!

The Harvest Festival was surprisingly fun; 2 out 3 kids had speaking parts, but unfortunately they didn't find out until this morning, so I was only armed with my phone...

After the assembly, there was feasting...

Paella cooked by the headmaster always goes down a treat!

But when we got home, I had a mild breakdown about the state of the playroom, and spent 2 unscheduled hours sorting through tubs of what can only be described as crap!  I gave up in the end, but it's on my hit list!

I think I am a little tired and emotional!  I stayed up until the early hours to watch the America's Cup - TeamNZ all the way round here, so having to hear, over and over again today about the US win, (ahem, Aussie skipper and local Brit tactician?!), I probably need an early night to get over it.

But first I need to get back to stitching on the handles of my Anniversary Weekend bag, those babies are not going to sew themselves!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

I knew it would be dangerous!

I worked today, but now I am off until Monday, as tomorrow there'll be the school Harvest Festival and Autumn Feast, and it was just easier to be off all day, and on Friday hubby and I will be doing the anniversary day-off together thing - hurrah!

So after I finished today I needed to get some Vilene from Eclectic Maker; I even told Jo that was all I was in for.  Famous last words...

Half a meter of Stof linen, and the lush Lush Uptown birdies!

I have bag-making plans, which I am blaming on this lady and this other one!

Watch this space xxx

Tuesday 24 September 2013

3 months and counting!

Yep, I am going to say it, 3 months time, it'll be Christmas Eve.  I am planning on being snuggled up under my Cherry Christmas quilt by now and that, is as far as my Christmas plans will probably get until the middle of December, when it will be all-out panic!

So I finished the binding on Sunday evening, and it was just so nice sitting under it that I think I would like to use fluffy fleece on all my quilts from now on!

I did light touch quilting in a matching teal Aurifil 40wt, and echoed the edges of the coloured blocks, twice.  This is more than enough to hold the fleece in place, and I bound it in a selection of scrappy leftovers - it is Christmas after all!

The pictures really don't do it justice; fleece is a nightmare to photograph, and I was busy hopping around the grass as a billion daddy-long-legs were flying around my legs!

I haven't washed it - there doesn't seem much point, as I didn't spray baste, yep, I found a dusty box of quilting pins, and with no batting, I am guessing it would just end up with it looking like it needs a good press.

Unlike regular quilting, I started at one edge rather than the middle, having pinned one half of the quilt only; after the first pass with my walking foot, I smoothed out the fleece again and re-pinned, working this way from one side to the other - it worked perfectly, no puckers or baggy bits to report, and took about an hour.

The original blanket had a stitched folded edge, so there was no fluff until I was ready to bind, and even then it wasn't too bad.  I did zig-zag the edges before putting on the binding though.  I machined it to the fleece side and then hand-finished on the top side.

So now I have depressed you about the 91 shopping days until Christmas, I'm going to skedaddle out of here quick smart, night night xxx

Monday 23 September 2013

Just keep swimming...

Trying to keep my mind occupied yesterday, I came to the conclusion, that as much as I was lusting after one of Kat's beautiful frame purses, especially the ones made of HR goldfish in bags, I really should use my own frame, my own goldfish, and save my pennies for next weekend, (more on that later in the week).

So I did.

I fussy cut a precious little Swimmy, pulled my current favourite denim yarn dyed linen and the white frame I got at Eternal Maker last weekend.

An hour or so later I had drafted a pattern, after a fashion, because the frame is only 2" x 4", and came up with this little beauty...

I did the little fishy outline and quilting in Aurifil 12wt, and put in the spotty lining from an M is for Make scrap pack.

I love this little purse.  It makes me smile.  And that, as they say, is what it is all about.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Legoland 2013

We made it!  Having watched the weather with almost obsession for the last few weeks, we went for it, and had a great, mild and dry day!

Not a lot of pictures, because not a lot had changed, although I didn't remember these things of nightmares living in the fairy tale dell...

The gang had a great time...

And hubby gifted me my alter ego...

Now, I am resting my feet; next time, I'm wearing the red boots. xxx

Friday 20 September 2013

Friday catch up...

I have responded to about 200 emails/comments and read through 3 day's worth of blog posts this evening, so now it's my turn!

I was planning on sewing down the binding on my Cherry Christmas quilt, but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow now!  Yep, I got the most fluffy fleece blanket along with the groceries at Tesco yesterday - it measured about 2" all round bigger than my quilt top; (I had to look up my blog post for the measurements and a metric to Imperial converter on my phone), but the perfect colour, a beautiful teal, and only £12, it was a no-brainer...

And as the kids were over at their friends' for tea, I got on and pin-basted(!) it and quilted it all before they were picked up at 6pm.  So there will be a Christmas reveal some time soon!

Other things to show you...

Little felt cupcakes made with the Rainbows tonight...

... less painful than I was expecting, and I will be back there in a fortnight.

I whipped up a key fob earlier in the week for dear son's friend to go with her zippy pouch...

More blocks have been coming in for my Stitch Tease LV Scrap Vomit.  These from Katy...
 ... and these from Random Di...
Look how lovely they are all looking now...

Di also sent me some DS Quilts fabric I'd asked her to track down for me, from JoAnns...

What would we do without super friends, and Paypal!?

And finally, I whipped up a couple of blocks for the Bee Blessed ladies...

Busy week really!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Random Nuisance!

Oh my week, not a lot of random, but a hell of a lot of noise!

The men who inhabit this...

Pooview, W. Sussex
... are not in my good books, nor is the neighbour; but I had nothing but smiles knowing they told her they'd probably still be about when her kids got home at 4.30, she said goodbye and went off to work at 2pm; they packed up at 2.30!

All the drilling, has given me a 3 day headache, I hope it shifts before I help out with sewing at Rainbows tomorrow night, as I fear that will bring a whole new level of shrill!

Linking with the Randomeers, who have probably got far better random than me!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Keep calm..

... and sew on.

Despite the best efforts of the builders next door to drive me out of my mind own home for the day; pneumatic drilling, 30 seconds on, 5 seconds off, from 9am to 2.30pm, 5 meters from my conservatory door; I gritted my teeth, (and swore loudly when they couldn't hear me), and stitched up my Cherry Christmas quilt top.

I used Sarah Fielke's Ups and Downs block pattern from Hand Quilted With Love.  I had charm packs, so I simply used the 5" squares, plus my yardage to make the HSTs...

It measures up at 54.5" x 68", which will be a very useful sofa-sized quilt come the festive period...

 I just have to ponder the backing.

I was thinking some minky or fleece, but am a bit worried about quilting that, so maybe flannel may be the solution?  I have plenty of time eh. 

Famous last words!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Knitting Nancy!

My sweet, (but obviously misguided), friend Rachel claims that all quilters can knit - I wish!

All over blogland and instagram my pals seem to be whipping up hats and socks and all sorts of fancy business whilst I can't even cast on (get me and the lingo).  I probably need another expensive hobby like a hole in the head, wool really makes me itch, and hats give me bad hair, but I still wish I could.

I tried once, the stitches got tighter and tighter until there was no way the needles were going to be set free without scissors.

One of the girls got this as a present a couple of birthdays ago - it has sat, looking scary for too long.  I am thinking I might borrow it, just to see...

But for now, and for those, like me who are not all that with the big needles, here are a few things I have spotted recently...

Lindsey's super cute bear, in a Liberty skirt!

Fancy a cuppa?

Don't mind if I do!

Monday 16 September 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...nah!  I wouldn't do that to you, but I have spent the earlier part of the evening playing with my Cherry Cxxxxxxxs charms and cutting some yardage into more.

But what I was going to say was, it's beginning to look like my vision is coming to fruition!

My first Stitch Tease blocks have arrived from Di (Quiltova).  I love them, and here's what they look like with mine...

So happy!

Not happy however about the next door neighbour's builders who are here for the next 3 months or so. 

Today they started breaking up the old conservatory's concrete floor, very slowly, and very loudly and very when the sun came out for the 30 minutes between work and the school run and when I very much wanted to have a sit outside.  Oh baubles!

Sunday 15 September 2013

Getting stuff done...

Today was a good day to get stuff done.

By the time we had our Sunday roast for lunch, (yes it is officially winter!), I had cleaned the house, changed, washed and tumbled all the bedding, done all the weekend's ironing and basted my Holiday Memories mini quilt.  Rough with the smooth.

I quilted my mini this afternoon, and will get the binding on in a bit; I am just waiting for a paper-cut to stop bleeding, as the binding, and much of my mini are white, and that's not a good combo!

As promised, a quickie-piccy of yesterday's Eternal Maker haul, minus the wadding...

The multi-coloured bag is a scrap bag of wool felt, with some excellent sized pieces and lovely colours which will be perfect for a bunch of needle books and the like.  I used the Aurifil 40wt for the quilting today, just for a little more definition; 2021 I heart you, no matter what you weigh!

And because I am so kind, as to be honest, I would really really love to win, if you are in the UK, please pop over to my friend Verity's blog, as she has the most amazing birthday giveaway going on right now.

If you do decide to enter, and why the heck wouldn't you? - please mention my name (or I will track you down), thank you.

So that has been my day, but now can we have some sunshine again?  I am done with all this indoor stuff for a bit!

Saturday 14 September 2013


Well I managed to get one present finished and the other half way there last night, before I needed to snuggle on the sofa with a cup of tea; I finished the second one this morning...

I didn't do anything fancy with the zipper tabs, and they worked pretty well...

I think I used 8" zips, and Vilene H630, which means these are really lightweight and finish at about 9" x 7".

Purse one, the Laurie Wisbrun chairs, was handed over this afternoon, after the girls and I had popped to Eternal Maker to get what I needed; Aurifil, wadding and some 1" webbing.  Then once they were re-shod, and ready to bowl, I went back for a peaceful potter and a little extra shopping, because I could, which I will show you next time.

The promised storms have not yet arrived, but I have my rainy day plans for tomorrow of the Holiday Memories variety, and no plans whatsoever to leave the house.

Hope your weekend is going well, and that you get to do a little of what you fancy too xxx

Friday 13 September 2013

Birthdays are a coming...

No sooner have we returned to the hum drum of school and work than the invitations for parties start rolling on in.

The girls are going bowling tomorrow for their friend's 7th, and next Sunday dear son is going to a girly class-mate's 9th...

 So I am going to turn these into zippy purses...

... tonight preferably!

PS.  Bowling just happens to be next door to the cinema, next door to Eternal Maker - strike!

Thursday 12 September 2013

Busy doing...

... bugger all really!

Playing with my Cherry Christmas stash, ordering some more of the white prints from the ladies at Pin It & Stitch; they have loads you know, if you are trying to get in the festive spirit too.

And I have been master-minding in Touchdraw...

I am thinking of using Sarah Fielke's ups and downs block as a starting point.

So I am going to get back to humming Christmas carols, and you can roll your eyes all you like; I am determined to have a festive quilt this year!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

My Day!

Having sacrificed the last couple of non-working days before the summer to FQR and the end of term, I don't think I managed to be alone for more than an hour at a time, and in total for about 5 hours during the last 8 weeks.  I do love my family dearly, but sometimes the lack of silence is overwhelming!

Today I dropped the kids at school, nipped to Waitrose for essentials, including my free cuppa, and by 9am I was back home and sewing.

First I made the notebook cover for my friend.  I had to trim the ends off the cover by 1/4" so that it all fitted perfectly, but I am sure she will understand and be able to cope with doing likewise should she get to the re-fill stage!

I think it looks very spring-like on this grey autumnal day, so I am hoping it will put a smile on her face.  I will be helping her at Rainbows (she's a leader), and doing sewing with the girls on a couple of Fridays soon, so I hope she doesn't decide she won't need my help after all!

So then I finished my Holiday Memories quilt top.  It looks great, to me.  I have tried to explain the abstract nature to the kids, and they are humouring me by saying 'oh yes I see'; I am sure you will all do the same in due course!

That done, I grabbed my KISS tapestry and snuggled up on the sofa and watched the first two episodes of Top Of The Lake.  I would have loved to have been able to grab some garden time, but that was not to be, damn clouds, but as far as a day off goes, it was wonderful.

I am feeling a little more energised, and I even pulled out all my Cherry Christmas and have decided on a plan of action!  Go me!!!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Tuesday tease...

OK I have been engrossed on my Holiday Memories mini quilt again this evening.

I now have two thirds pieced, and am hoping to have the whole top put together tomorrow.  It'll be up to the maximum size (24" x 30") before quilting, which will shrink it down somewhat, and I am still in love with it.

So here's a sneaky peek...

... a little porthole block.

I am so looking forward to tomorrow, I don't think I will be able to sleep!  Bring on the peace and quiet xxx