Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I am so in tune with the season ... finally got my stocking garland up today!!!

The latest in my collection of Christmas houses has been up for some time though. (They seem to be getting smaller every year)

Here's how they look on the mantelpiece - the light's no good (too sunny!!!! unbelievable!!!) but you get the general impression.
I would like to wish all who read this (now very occasional) blog a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Stockings

See - I can still sew! These are my Christmas cards, I started them months ago with every intention of finishing them nice and early. Best laid plans .... they were finally finished last Sunday.

I wanted to take some good pictures before I wrote out the cards but the light has been terrible lately. I've made more than I can send so I'm going to turn some of them into a garland for my above my mantelpiece so hopefully will get a better piture then. They are made in the same way as fabric postcards - just in a different shape (you can click the picture for a closer look). Very fun to make - especially if, like me, you have lots of ribbons to hand.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I don't blog, I don't comment - I'm a bit rubbish really! Can you guess where we went at half term? Great weather for the end of October.
I still haven't got my crafting act together but I have dipped my toe back in the water - I've nearly finished my gift for the 2008 Secret Santa Swap (good job really, seeing as it's got to be posted on 25th November). I've also been doing some Christmas related stuff - photos to follow. In the meantime here's a picture of the garden of the Grand Trianon at Versailles.
Did my legs ache after spending all day walking in the grounds!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The English Riviera

Last week I spent a night in Torquay in Devon as I had to speak at a conference (get me!). Lest you should get the wrong impression of my lifestyle and job status - this only happens once in a blue moon, so I made the most of the sea view from my very swanky hotel room. Torquay is known as the English Riviera because of the temperate climate - hence the palm trees.

Other than that, nothing much going on here - been quilting my crumb chaos quilt but it's slow going so not worth a picture yet - maybe next weekend!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's for a girl

If you know someone's going to have a baby, you've got months of notice in which to make a quilt, right? So why do I always leave it until the baby is born to even start it?

I delivered this to my friend D's wife yesterday. Actually, I didn't do too badly as the baby is only 3 weeks old. I'd had a few days leave from work so at least I could get going on it pretty quick. Of course, I'd wrapped it all up nicely in cellophane with a nice fabric bow (the ribbon stash comes up trumps again!) and then remembered I hadn't taken a picture of the finished article! Doh! I couldn't bring myself to undo it as I would have probably had to use new cellophane but I think you still get the gist of it from the 'wrapped and folded' version. I wanted something simple and quick to put together so rail fence seemed to fit the bill in pastel blues and pinks. I used a very thick batting so it would be nice and comfy-cosy for a baby. Can't say the quilting is anything special, and there's a few small tucks here and there but I asked DH what he thought and he said (a) he wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't pointed it out and (b) they added to the artisan feel of the piece! Good enough for me.
My other best news is that DD got the grades she needed in her A-Levels and won a place at University in London. She is taking a 'gap' year this year (much to the chagrin of her father) so she won't go until September 2009 (and needs to find a job in the meantime) but we are all very pleased and proud of her.

Monday, August 11, 2008


We've been on our annual summer holiday to Wales - mixed weather, but not too bad. The credit crunch is meant to mean that more people are holidaying in the UK this year instead of going abroad, but in fact, it wasn't as busy as it was when we went in early June.

I took some knitting with me - more bears, but smaller ones this time. I'm knitting 3 at the same time - one each for DD, DS and DS's friend M. Nothing much to see yet apart from a pile of tiny bear parts (someone remind me that I don't do detail or tiny, I obviously temporarily forgot and thought I was someone else).
Unfortunately while I was away, Elf Donna announced the Secret Santa Swap for 2008 - no surprise that it filled up and closed before I'd even shaken the sand from my suitcase with a massive 128 swappers. Probably just as well, because my productivity of late is somewhat lacking, but I have fond memories of the lovely swap I received last year from Cheryl and I'm sure it will be even more successful this year.
My Mum has also introduced me a to new blog - not quilting or sewing related but this one is all about cakes. Called the Caked Crusader it is dedicated to the promotion of the most delicious looking home baking and is also quite quirky and funny - highly recommended!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Knitted Bear

I'm always too tired to sew in the evenings but I don't mind knitting or crochet now and again. Socks are a bit beyond my capabilities and I don't want to knit a whole jumper. Knitting a bear seemed the perfect solution - I already had some bear coloured cotton from a charity shop (which I bought before I even thought about knitting a bear - but as a hoarder who is firmly convinced that 'it will come in useful one day' my purchase is justified). The pieces are small and you get a finished item in no time.

The pattern came from this lovely book, containing lots of really great patterns for knitted bears - and I found out from the book jacket that the author lives in Leicestershire! (I'm hoping that I have managed to link the picture to the Amazon page where you can search inside - if not, at least you can see enough to search for it).

And do you like my Sweet Peas? My Dad planted them for me - I think they are my favourite flowers but the season is so short.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lilac Time

It's been a while again, hasn't it? Still run ragged at work so not much going on here in the creative department. I have finished up all of the rectangles I had on hand for the lilac top - can't decide whether to just leave it as it is and call it a cot quilt or add borders to make it bigger. I do like this pattern though, I'd like to try it in plaids from shirts or multicoloured scrappy.

I'm thinking there's definitely a lilac and green theme going on here - this is the flower bed opposite the shed where I hung the photograph. I like the way my foxgloves have come out all white.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's not mine ...

... but I wish it was.

I couldn't resist sharing the picture of this vintage string quilt that I spotted on e-bay. What a great way to set those string blocks, and don't you just love the wonkiness of it? I so want to try this layout myself. It may not be precision pieced from uniform shapes but it makes me smile just to look at it - it's joyful, that's what it is.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Remember these blocks? I did make a few more - maybe enough for a small lap / cot quilt if I put sashing round them. But ... whilst I love the effect, I fear I haven't got the patience or tenacity to make a whole quilt one block at a time. Which is a pity, as I have cut out enough 2 1/2 inch squares, half-square triangles and rectangles to make one (and it took me hours).

Still, nil desperandum, squares and half-square triangles always come in useful but I was trying to think what I could make with the rectangles - they are 2.5 X 4.5 inches so I couldn't use them to make flying geese. Could have done a very simple rail fence. But then inspiration struck - I remembered I had a copy of this book.

All the quilts in the book are made from simple rectangles so I used one of the patterns. They are really a form of one patch but you can vary the way you set them. I used the layout here.

I wasn't sure at first, but now I've laid out a few of the 'blocks' together to check the effect, it's growing on me. My kind of quilt really, simple and scrappy. And best of all, quick.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Time for Tea

Next up on my list of projects - a tea cosy. My team get into the office at 8.00 and make a pot of tea. Now, whilst there is enough in the pot for me, I can't get in any earlier than 8.10 as I have to drop my son off and the tea in the pot is lukewarm by then. So I made a tea cosy - keeps it nice and hot and waiting for me when I get in.
I can also reveal my finished blue quilt - I was getting heartily tired of it by the end so the borders just got straight lines quilted on them. It covers the ugliest sofa in the world - I would show a picture of it but the deep red buttoned velour and fringe round the bottom would be offensive to many of you. (As it is to me when the quilt rides up and you can see the offending fringe peeping out beneath). Also excuse the bare plaster on the walls - the sofa is in our kitchen and we haven't finished the redecorating yet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A bit of productivity

Hooray for the Easter Holidays, I've had a week off work and I've been able to get to my sewing machine and actually make something - and boy does it feel good! I'd been wanting to make one of these little doorstops for ages -the tutorial is at Oh Fransson! which I found via Jane's blog, Sew Create It when she made one. They really are a doddle to make, so as well as making one for our kitchen door I made some for presents too. It's a lovely pattern with nice clear instructions. I didn't line mine with fusible fleece (didn't have any) but I used some pretty curtain fabric that has been maturing in my stash for a while (well, it's plaid - how could I resist - I knew I'd use it eventually) and the flowered middle squares are cut from remnants from fabric sample books that I bought for 10p a page and again have been maturing for a couple of years (see, it was an investment, for every piece of fabric there comes a season if you wait long enough).

The doorstops have a zip at the bottom so you can take out the filling and wash it. Do you think I've got enough zips? This is my zip stash. I get them for 10p each - usually they are about 3ft long so I can only make things where you can cut the ends off - like these doorstops or the quilted bags I've made before. Have you seen the price of zips? I just feel I might as well get a lifetime's supply at that price. (I think I might have a stash problem - what with fabric, ribbons and zips, but it's harmless.)

Guess what I used for the filling? I didn't want to put loose beans in because some of them will be presents for homes with animals and small children. My original plan was to just sew up the beans in a bag and put that in but then I saw these bags of rice at Sainsburys for 43p and one of them popped in unopened is enough to weight the bag (I do pop a bit of wadding in the top of the doorstop to keep the shape).

We went to Market Harborough today and look what I found at a Charity Shop - a book on quilts and a vintage Laura Ashley dress and a child's dress to cut up for patchwork. Things are looking up.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I am still here ...

... haven't given up blogging or quilting, just finding it difficult right now. Other aspects of my life (mainly work) have kind of taken over. Can't say I'm pleased about it because I'm not, I always said my quality of life would be diminished if I didn't have some kind of creative outlet that was just for me. I am struggling to find a work-life balance (not helped by the kitchen upheaval - pics to follow in another post, or the bout of flu that I'm just getting over).

This is the sum total of my quilting efforts since Christmas, though I have to say I am ridiculously pleased that the lines so far have all come out straight. Next I'm going to meander in the squares created by the grid pattern.

I would also like to thank those of you who have e-mailed to check on me - it is much appreciated, as is this lovely table mat that Anne sent me, just to cheer me up!

This doesn't seem much of a post after over 2 months without posting but hopefully I'll get back into swing of things before too long.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's a sandwiched quilt!

I think I'm back in the groove. I knuckled down last night and sandwiched the blue recycled quilt that I made over a year ago now. Of course I haven't the faintest idea how I'm going to actually quilt it but I'm thinking simple is good at this moment in time. Although my back aches now, my kitchen floor is brilliant for sandwiching quilts.
Yesterday we also ordered a new kitchen, we had the existing one put in a few years ago but I couldn't begin to tell you about the sheer incompetence of the builder that did it. Some, but not all examples being: plumbing the outside tap to the hot water supply, installing the dishwasher with a chink in the hose so it leaked all over the newly installed laminate floor, building a frame for the new glazed internal double doors without remembering that it would be impossible to get it in through the back door ... oh, how we laughed! Not. Anyway, though the kitchen looks passable, it hides a multitude of sins so we've bitten the bullet and we're going to get it all put right by a reputable (fingers crossed) firm. I'm going to have a new bigger cooker, which I'm really looking forward to (particularly since the door fell off the one I've got). The fridge door is on it's last legs too, and the first dishwasher we had erupted in flames. Definitely time for a change.