Thursday 25 November 2010

Projects getting ever I feel very lucky to get an award!

Hardly any sewing at all this week - in fact, no 'proper' sewing at all.  I've covered a synthetic handbag strap with cotton (in an effort to stop it chewing up my clothes), patched over patches on one of the sofa cushions, and spent a fun evening making jewellery and bag clasps with friends (no photos as I gave them all away the following day without taking any snaps first, sorry!).

I've promised a personalised quilted cushion cover as a silent auction lot for the school fair, though, so at least there is a chance for some more sewing this side of Christmas, which is ONLY ONE MONTH AWAY - and is, of course, the real reason why not much sewing has been happening - too much buying, wrapping and prevaricating!

But an award!  How lovely, thank you Benta (and I'm looking forward to meeting you in person for a quilter's playdate next week!)

The 'rules' are that I have to share 10 things that you don't already know about me - hard for me to guess whether any of these will be new to you or not, but I'll do my best to think of 10 things.

Despite being 1) born in Birkenhead, I have discovered  2) through family tree research that I had both map engravers based in London and a bookseller in Twickenham (where I live) in the mid 1800's.

When I was a child the only pets I had  3) were ducks.  As an adult the only pets in the household  4) are hens (that really belong to my two girls).

That 5) the best explanation I've found of what it is like to have ME / CFS (as I do) is actually written about Lupus.  Read what Christina Miserandino has to say - and then thank Sally Bramald for linking to it earlier in the year.

That 6) in an effort to mitigate the symptoms of ME / CFS I have tried all sorts of remedies, including (look away, scientists) magnets, crystals, patterns of red dots, magnesium injections and a macrobiotic diet to name but a few.  The only ones that have had a substantially beneficial effect so far have been 7) pregnancy and cranial osteopathy (I still see my osteopath every three weeks, but have no plans to have more children!).  I'm sure that one day there will be something else that will sort out ME / CFS and I continue to donate money to research into it in that hope.

That 8) I have never had any desire to go pot-holing but that 9) I have tried lots of other activities including parachuting, para sailing, paragliding, micro lighting, hot air ballooning, bungee jumping, climbing, white water rafting, driving a double decker bus, riding a camel, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving (and I should really try and scan some of the photos!)

Finally, 10) I am lucky to have some very good friends, but my best friends of all are my husband, my brother and my sister who get me through the bad times and share the good times.  I am fortunate indeed to have them.

So, ten things that you may or may not have known about me before?  Fun to play along anyway, and to think just a little about what there is about me that helps make me the person I am now. 

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Even more small projects

Still not making progress on large quilts, but I've made a little bag (containing a beginners crochet kit) for a friend, and another nine or ten mug rugs (these ones in 'traditional' reds and greens ready for Christmas), and some more jewellery.

I'm planning on making a few fabric post cards next, so there is still lots of 'stuff' happening, just nothing on the flower tree or anything else of a larger size than A4!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Getting Ahead for Christmas

Not in most areas of my life (where I'm later than usual in printing Christmas lists and labels for envelopes....and yes, I do know that it's still fifty-something days to Christmas it's just that I like to be prepared) - but in making sewn Christmas decorations.

First of all the little house that I'd talked about the other day, inspired by the magazine cover and my own plump trunked trees.  I've added some beads and charms (and no, tiger tail doesn't poke through two layers of fabric and some wadding very easily for anyone who was curious).  I think that I'm going to re-do the window dressing, though, as the longer bugle beads didn't allow me to echo the shape of the window as I'd wanted to.

The second is a little decoration made like a paper snowflake (you know, folding the paper, snipping away, reopening it - you probably spent time doing this at infant school, even if you haven't done it since).  Instead of paper I used fabric with a fusible sheet on the back, so after snipping I could just iron the motif onto fabric before finishing the little quilt off.  More opportunities for adding beading and extra stitching ,of course....

I made another hanging decoration with an angel stitched last night at the Richmond and Kew Quilters meeting - a workshop led by my friend Lesley, and using one of the designs (and the threads) that she provided. The little wreath beside it is a starched fabric version of this.  It's fast to make, but slightly fiddly.  As it was fabric, rather than just leaving the holding together to chance, I ran a line of stitching around the central opening.  I think that more practise would help even up the outer 'petal's on it, although I was quite happy with the evenness of the inside gap!

Inspired to make your own snowflake?  Surely you've seen the virtual snowflake snipper by now?  If not, and you've got five minutes to waste, click here and you'll be able to snip some snowflakes to get you into the winter mood, without needing to clean up small diamonds of paper from the floor afterwards!  It might be useful to know that the scissors only work when the button on them is green, not when it's red - so you have to pay attention (and not suffer red/green colour blindness) to be able to play. Have fun! 

Monday 8 November 2010

Want a chance to win this beautiful quilt?

Isn't it gorgeous?  And not only does it look lovely from a distance, but the detail is fantastic too, and it's been quilted by award winning quilter Ferret.  Money raised from raffling it will go to help cover the costs of the 'Quilts4London' project.  You'll be seeing some of the pennant quilts that I've made for this project in another post....

So how can you win it?  You can have a chance at winning this king size quilt by sending a £1 for each ticket that you'd like to buy to Quilts for London.  Go here to get the details, then grab your cheque book and buy some tickets!  Go on, treat yourself!

Saturday 6 November 2010

More distraction

I was going to have another go at the flower tree quilt, but was too distracted by the idea of 'mug rugs' - as brought on by this tutorial by Jodi of Pleasant Home - and popping up here amongst other places too!

Unfortunately I chain pieced four of these before I realised that the trunks were a bit wider than one might hope for.....but not wanting to waste time with nimby-pimby unpicking I finished them anyway (sorry in advance to anyone who receives one of these - but as someone who rarely has a hot drink and would never think to protect a surface from one, I'm pretty sure that these won't be staying at home, fun though they are). 

Of course, they did remind me a little of the houses that I'd seen here

So I went ahead and made a cute little house - but can't show it as Blogger has taken exception to the photo!  Maybe it's a hint that it would like to see some embellishment on it....I'd better get busy with the beads, I think!  It will also give me a chance to see if I can poke 'tiger tail' through fabric, and secure it each side with a crimp bead, for those times when it's easier to keep busy with the jewellery pliers than to pick up a sewing kit.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Small liberated sewing!

Just two little blocks to add to my stay at home round robin this month.  I'm happy as the small blocks from last month look like a ladder to my new house!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Jewellery Japes

It was the last class on my short jewellery class yesterday.  I've made impressive amounts (impressive to me anyone, perhaps not to anyone else) especially since I've made very little outside of the ten hours of class time.  I showed you the first pieces on the blog here and here , but would urge you, if you wanted something lovely to wear to look here and either buy something or pester Raquel to run more classes! I just wish that I was better at photographing my pieces!

 This set is made with lilac tiger tail, silver crimp beads and clear 'crystals'.

These show my first attempts at stinging beads - very fast! 
We tried both cotton and faux leather.

This set used multiple strands of black tiger tail and experiments with leaving some 'loose loops' to add additional interest.

And this necklace is actually a set in itself - there are clasps at each end of the chain, allowing you to choose one, two, or three strands of different lengths.  I really like this idea of giving the wearer more choice, and would be tempted to go a little funkier on the longest third string in the future.  I think that this is my favourite so far, but I've enjoyed learning the basics of this craft, and thinking about how to put other ideas into practise in the future.

Now I need to tidy the surfaces in my craft room, and get to work with fabric and thread again - I'm still struggling with 'Megs Garden' (my lovely flower tree with the unlovely saggy areas).  I thought that I'd managed to get a solution by hooping it on an embroidery hoop, gathering bagginess into circles, and was then planning to FMQ around this areas before making them a 'feature'.  This has proved to be a bit tricky, though, as I can't get the quilt and embroidery hoop under the machine needle, and if I take the hoop off and loose that lovely tension over the surface, it doesn't act as I want it to.  Grrrr!  Time for another try, or to perhaps work on something else whilst I ponder another approach!