Saturday, March 31, 2007

Doll Quilts and Easter Eggs

I've changed my blog banner in line with the season to show my pysansky eggs, I bought them new from Poland on e-bay, they are wooden and handpainted. I don't know if I'll be able to bring myself to put them away after Easter though. On trips to Austria and the Czech Republic I've seen shops that sell nothing but painted eggs, mainly real eggs where the white and the yolk have been blown out. They look fantastic in the shops but there is so much choice that I've always gone out without buying any because I just couldn't decide which ones to buy.

Another new purchase which I've ummed and aahed about for a while before buying is this doll's bed from IKEA. I'm feeling quite attracted to the idea of doll quilts like Finn has been showing on her blog lately but I wanted somewhere to display them. Hence the bed, which DS put together for me last weekend. My husband's only comment, predictably, was 'Yes, but where will you put it?' I have to grudgingly admit that it is quite big for a doll's bed so I'm not entirely sure where I will put it. At the moment it's on top of the freezer - such a classy place to display doll quilts! I sewed up a few plaid squares just to get started which has spurred me on to finish cutting the fabrics for my plaid YBR from shirting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Confession Time

Both Joyce and Meggie kindly commented that it was better to make chicks than cakes for the Easter Treat Sale at the school on Friday. Sadly, I am not the virtuous woman you think me to be - I made cakes as well. Here they are. Don't know what they tasted like - in truth I just enjoy wrapping them up to look pretty, I'm a big believer in the art of presentation and a sucker for cellophane. The tin sign behind them was a Christmas present from my Mum - isn't it lovely? It also means that I can use some of my ribbons. I get them from a stall that comes to Leicester Market on Saturdays, they are so cheap that I buy them even if I have no immediate use for them - you could call it a ribbon stash.

Haven't had chance to sew much apart from the chicks but will be going away to Wales over Easter so I'm going to take my machine and try to make up for it then. I really want to try the peacock feathers that Tazzie has been using to such good effect instead of just meandering as usual.

And ... the clocks have gone forward, hooray, more light = more productivity. Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Treats

As it's the time of year when chicks come into their own I've been making yet more for the Easter Treat Sale at DS's school.

They are all the same this time, so much quicker to make from strip piecing than cutting and sewing individual squares. You've probably all had your fill of daffodils by now but I couldn't resist taking a picture of the ones at the bottom of our garden. The weather was so good last weekend that even the rabbit got out onto the lawn for a few hours, it's been rubbish since, cold and windy but the forecast for the weekend is sunny. We live in hope.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blog Banner

I know zilch about html so my blog has always been very plain. I do quite like it that way but I've always wanted a more decorative banner at the top. I thought new (beta) blogger would make it easy, but not so, I tried and tried but couldn't insert a picture in the header. Then I found Peter Chen's blog with simple instructions for how to do it. I followed them and yay, it worked!

The picture you see up there at the moment is some of the shirts I have bought in charity shops and cut up for patchwork, I am going to make a Yellow Brick Road out of them for my next project. I like the idea of changing the banner each month to show a different picture.

Aside from that I have nothing even vaguely quilty or crafty to report so how about a picture of an enamel mug I bought in Prague? It seems like a bit of a bizarre thing to post but perhaps it will make sense when I say that the reason I bought it was because it reminded me of Tonya's wonky houses.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments on the String Bag - it was so simple to make but I feel very virtuous using a reusable bag made from reclaimed fabric instead of a plastic one, though my daughter did say that people would think I was a hippy. Nothing wrong with hippies is there?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

String Bag

Don't faint, it's me, posting for the third time in four days! Must be spring fever.(Or should that be string fever?) As strings are all the rage these days I got out my strings that I've been sewing on and off for about a year. I first wrote about them here and here My original intention was to make a throw for the sofa in my kitchen (and one of these days I'll post a picture of it without a throw on it because it may well qualify for the title of most ugly sofa in Britain). In its defence, though, I must add that it is very comfortable. Because I knew that the throw would have a lot of wear I used what we in the UK would call calico (for the foundation - the strings are cotton shirts or quilting fabric), which is a very thick utilitarian furnishing type fabric, not like the printed calicoes in the U.S. I am now thinking that maybe this wasn't such a good idea because of course it is also turning out to be very heavy. And ... having made a 10 1/2 in string block for Nancy's birthday, I also think I've made my blocks too small, they finish at 6 inches square. So, I made a great big shopping bag. I'm trying to think of what else I could use the blocks for because I do think they are too heavy for what was intended (actually, even the bag is quite heavy, but I think it will be okay). Then, I'm going to start again with a lighter foundation because my string bin is overflowing.

On another note I feel I must apologise that I haven't been commenting on blogs much the past few days. No excuse really except I'm just so tired, after travelling to Chesterfield yesterday I've been to Stoke on Trent today and I just find driving so tiring. I've promised myself a blog fest tomorrow night where I'm going to catch up on what's been going on out there and comment away merrily.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Just a quick post. Today I had occasion to travel to Chesterfield in Derbyshire for work. Wherever you drive in Chesterfield you can't miss the famous crooked spire. I would have taken my own photo but as I was driving at the time it would have been a bit impractical, not to say dangerous. Now, this caused a problem, as I found pictures of the spire here and here and here but as they are all copyrighted I couldn't use them in my blog (fair enough, I wouldn't really want other people to use my photos either). So ... how about a vintage postcard from e-bay - the spire hasn't changed much in the meantime. The links I gave earlier tell you the history of the spire and some theories as to how it got to be so crooked.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


DH has bought me the loveliest book - we were shopping in WH Smith when I saw it. It didn't have a price on it so I took it to the cash desk, fully expecting it to be in the £20 - £25 range as it is a big thick book cram bang full of beautiful colour photographs of fabric. She scanned it and it came up as £9.99, we did not have to think twice, but it did seem ridiculously cheap. When we got home I looked it up on Amazon, here, and their discounted price was £21.45. I think there must have been an error when they stored the price on the computer system because it wasn't on sale or anything and WH Smith don't seem to discount much these days.

It is such a fabulous book, I would gladly have paid that much anyway. It has photographs of textiles from the last 200 years, categorised by motif, colour, period and design, mostly from the collection of the author. Amazon describes it as 'the biggest and most lavish survey of printed textiles ever published'. There are many American cotton fabrics from the last (20th) century included. I like the way the descriptions are written too, because although it looks like quite an academic book, they are written in a chatty, conversational style. Certainly well worth borrowing from the library if you get the chance, I would highly recommend it.