Wednesday 31 December 2014

Go WILD for 2015!

 Following the instructions that I read on the ThreadAddict blog, I made a couple of little wild women - and I can see the appeal of making more!

These were 'quick and dirty' versions, with not much in the way of beading or embellishment.  Still, in 20 minutes plus time to sew on the face, eyes and a brooch back, they were spectacularly quick to make and a joy to give!
I'm happy to say that I have 'texture packs' in other colours too, so lots more options from the scrap basket available!

I think that going wild in 2015 is a jolly decent plan - but perhaps I'm a bit Christmas-holidayed out!

 I did manage two other quick makes before Christmas hit us.

Another anti-ouch pouch - this time in grey (how lucky that I'd impulse bought this grey chevron fabric and it arrived the day before the request for a grey version did - having a fabric stash is lovely !).
I also made my final fabric post card of the year - this one had the theme of 'fire'.  I would show you it the right way up if I could, but I'm having a bit of bother with some of the settings on my PC at the moment, which is slightly limiting my abilities in some of the programmes that I run.  I'm hoping to find time to look for the solution soon!

In the mean time, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope that you are looking forward to 2015 with peace in your hearts and a sense of impending renewal.

See you next year!

Saturday 27 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

Merry greetings of the season etc. etc.!

I hope that you have completed all your sewing of Christmas gifts, drawn close to your family and are settling down to enjoy a wonderful Christmas!

This is my latest Christmas offering - Santa fabric, felt, a Suffolk puff and a wire wreath frame.  Very simple to make.  You want to know how I did it? 

I measured the width of the frame, added an inch, and cut a width of fabric strip of that measurement (my frame was 2" deep, so I cut a strip 5" deep with a pinking cutter).

Then, fold the fabric in half around the frame and sew the long edges together with a running stitch - they will tend to self gather, which is handy!

Add a hanging ribbon and whatever decorations you like that you can create.  I did wonder about adding baubles instead of felt decorations, and perhaps hanging some into the centre of the wreath.  You could have a lot of fun making these to your own style.  Quick to make, easy to personalise.  Why stop at one?!?

Happy Christmas to one and all.  I hope that your Christmas Wishes come true!

Monday 22 December 2014

Christmas Stocking Stunner!

 One VERY proud DD who at nine years old has managed to make a wonderful patchwork stocking!

She learnt to cut strips with a rotary cutter (not for the nervous of disposition!), sewed them together brilliantly with a 1/4" seam to make a stripy tube, cross cut them into 2 1/2" slices, and  unpicked the right short seams to make a diagonal pattern when she sewed them together.

Then she added a premade stripy toe and cuff, and, after the stocking shape was cut out, added a hanging loop as she sewed around the final seams!

What a fabulous job she's done!
I'd be proud of this too!

I'll just have to be proud of her!

Two more sleeps until it gets to see some action!

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Too Busy and Not Too Busy

 You thought I was talking about me?  Well, actually, yes, I have been rather busy - panto, festive films at the cinema, Christingle, school carol service, gymnastics display...... it's a busy time of year, isn't it?!?

What I was really talking about, though, was this quilt.  You can see what happened with those lovely Bali batik charm squares - but I really needed to find a background that wasn't going to overtake them quite so comprehensively!  The eye doesn't have anywhere to rest, which isn't what I'd really want.

Cheerful, but too busy!  The back is much more restful!
Whilst I have been busy, I haven't been too busy to make another 'anti-ouch pouch'.   A friend has been 'under the knife'  for a breast cancer op and this may help her to be a little more comfortable.

If you didn't make a note (or make one to give away!) earlier in the year when I linked to this pattern, consider making one now.  Just a little time and a little love could make someone more comfortable.  Go on, I bet that you could find 45 minutes to make one sometime over Christmas and the New Year!

This site has both a pattern and a full tutorial.

So, my 'November Quilt' has been started and finished before the binding on my October Snowball quilt has been stitched down.  Not a bad outcome (after all, I didn't think that I'd manage to make a November quilt until next year!) but I'd still like to get the Snowball quilt finished before Christmas!  I'm off to do some more stitching down now!

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Teeny Sewing

 Isn't he cute?  I wish I could remember which blogger showed her one, that made me jump on to Craftsy and buy the pattern instantly - coz although not sophisticated, Stu the Penguin  (and no, that isn't a command, "Stew the penguin" although possibly the designer enjoys a pun!) is bang on trend but teeny enough to take hardly any time to sew!  Want one too?  Then go over to my little mochi and buy your own.  Comes with printables, puzzles and other accessories to sew.

So how big is Stu?  That's the joy of him.  He and his fish fit inside an Altoids tin.  Got no Altoids to hand?  Don't worry, turns out that there is a thriving market in the empty tins on Ebay - who knew?  Gotta love an auction site that lets me buy empty sweet tins.  Turns out that I could have wanted one to house a Raspberry Pi, but I didn't!
 So later this week Stu will have some igloo papers printed out for him and stuck onto on the tins.  Another project that isn't quite finished yet, but the sewing part is done!

I was glad that Stu was a success - this is a photo of the hand sewing that I'd tried about a month ago.

I know.  Criminal waste of fabric and sequins!  Even my lovely DDs looked at and couldn't think of anything supportive to say! 

Proof, if I should need it, that if the hands and mind aren't ready for sewing it's best to leave the scissors and needles out of reach until the planets are correctly aligned, or whatever it is that makes a difference to my sewing.
This week I'm pleased to say that I've managed a bit of machine sewing.

The obvious project to work on would be the one with the blocks already sewn and ready to make into a flimsy.  Who wants to stick with obvious?  I decided that the arrival of a charm pack and a new ruler in the same post must be an omen - so broke them both open and decided to try and make just one more little quilt before school breaks up for Christmas!

Wish me luck!

Happy winter stitching, one and all, and I hope that you are at the 'success' end of the scale!

Wednesday 3 December 2014


 Only small bits of sewing and crafting to show this week - and all for deadlines (or at least, scheduled!) in one way or another!

The first item is the quilted postcard I made for Avril's birthday.  I used a thicker than usual thread in the bobbin and tried to stitch the feather from the reverse.....a fun experiment, and one that I'll try again.

Learning point: slow down on the wide open curves to avoid 'eye lashes' on them.
 Next item to show is a slip cover for a scrapbooking album.  A winter wedding is soon to take place, so this has the bride and groom's names as well as the date and year on them.  Not a desperately complicated design, but made with love!
 My girls and their friends had a bit of a Hama bead session on Friday.  I'd pinned a few ideas from Pinterest  which I showed to them, and they set to.
I was so impressed with the snowflake that I  took it so that you could see it properly against a darker background - isn't it a great idea?  I confess to having made a couple myself, now!

The weather has turned chilly which is just setting the mood for writing Christmas cards  so there may not be much sewing to show next week either!

Hope that the start of December is letting you find a little time for crafting and sewing too!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Love Entwined Progress

 I finished the stalks on the final vase of this panel a couple of weeks ago.

It was, we are told, a coverlet.  That means just two layers.

I want mine to be a quilt, so I've had it up on the wall whilst I tried to decide how to quilt it.

I think that I'd like to try and hand quilt it - but at almost 3 feet square it will be the biggest hand quilting project that I'll have undertaken.

If I'm hand quilting it (which feels right, as it is pretty much all hand work apart from the compass piecing) then I want to choose something easy to stitch through.
 I'm wondering about wool.  It's not the obvious choice for something that I know will be wall hanging, but my hands get sore quite easily, so I need to think about that first and foremost, rather than how flat and straight it might hang on the wall.

I think that I've decided on a variegated King Tut thread (nice fast colour changes for hand stitching, as recommended by Jacqui Harvey at a workshop some time ago).

Now I just need to baste it and start sewing, rather than wondering about it!
Aside from the thinking time, I've spent a couple of happy hours at the sewing machine making scrappy stars for my latest Round Robin offering.

The little stars work out at 2" finished, so each of the 16 squares within it at just 1/2" each.  They are reasonably accurate, but not perfect, if I'm honest.  Nicely scrappy, though!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Off the Cuff

 Or, perhaps, ON the cuff?

I made a cuff book  earlier in the year, from a frayed shirt and part of the sleeve fabric.  To my shame I can't remember which blog I picked up this idea from, but it's not an original idea from me, I'm afraid.

This is the outside when it's buttoned up.
 This is how it looks when you open it.  I made the pages different lengths.
 My 'title page'.
 The early part of the year.  It rained (a lot!) then the grass grew......  Okay, okay, I never said that it was going to be an interesting book!
 Later in the year we went to Barcelona and I started stitching this sat outside the Aquarium there whilst the rest of the family went in.
This page represents the journey that I made down to see my Dad every week after he was admitted first to a Hospice, then to a nursing home.

It shows the train tracks, the lavender farm I went past, the orchards, the other fields, and a river.  There were two main routes.  Both of them took me past parts of the Medway and the Thames.
This shows the Thames again - running through the Borough where we live and where the girls both go to school.  DD2 is still at St Marys, DD1 moved to Waldegrave school with a swan logo this year.  They both love to read, but DD1 finds it hard with her dyslexia.

It's been fun to stitch this over the year, although I had hoped that I'd be able to manage this simple stitching on the train journeys, which wasn't the case!  never mind, I kept up to date with Radio 4 comedies, dramas and some other podcasts that I might not otherwise have made time to listen to.

If you've got an old shirt ready for recycling, maybe you'd like to make a cuff book too?  I can recommend them as a splendidly portable project!

Sunday 16 November 2014

In case you wanted to know......

 I haven't done much sewing over the last few weeks, but this was one thing that I did make - a fully lined eye wateringly bright fabric case (with shoulder strap robbed from another bag).

DD2 is currently trying out the trumpet (sorry, neighbours!).  The case that she's been given has no shoulder strap and is awfully heavy.

I bought a smaller, lighter case, but the music teacher wasn't a fan (and the trumpet is only borrowed at the moment, so he's allowed to have some say in the matter!).

This was my next suggestion, with DD2's choice of Cloth Kits fabric.

Not sure that it's the total answer - after all, it doesn't magically take the weight away!

 My other sewing has been on our local quilt group's Round Robin.  My challenge this month (thank you Avril!) was to make a flag for what would be left of the UK if Scotland had left us.

Excellent theme!  Here is just a glimpse of part of the flag that I made.

I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge!
Finally, I thought that it would be nice to share with you a picture that my Dad had on his bedroom wall for almost 50 years.
Painted by his friend, David John, in 1966, it shows Sonning Lock.  This photo really doesn't do the saturated colours justice!

I can only hope that anything that I've created lasts that long and is appreciated even half so much.

It's off to a new home with my brother now, where it will continue to be appreciated.  Nice that it's going to be with a 'Thames boy' - his first home was in a houseboat on the Thames with our mum and dad.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Life Goes On.

 I missed showing the card that I made for my tea guzzling brother on the event of his 'significant' birthday last week.  I've been waiting years to put this pun into card form!
 I also don't think that I've shown this tissue holder - another small project made from colour catchers (and just a little bit of lace edging).

Very fast to sew up.  Its now in my handbag so I can see how well colour catchers last in 'stress' situations!  If it doesn't fall apart too quickly I might make some more of them.
I have also made progress on my Love Entwined.  Shown here with the pins holding some of the last bits of Vase No. 4 in place, I've sewn these and the berries down and even added the backstitched stems.

I still haven't got as far as removing the paper from behind the zig zag border and washing the piece with Synthrapol, but they are on my list of things to do.

Small progresses, but at least forward movement.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

David G. Evans 1928 - 2014

Two wives, three children, two step children, eight grandchildren.  Good friend to countless people. 
My dad died yesterday and I can't begin to think how big a hole he is going to leave behind.

I hope that I can take his life as a lesson on how to get the maximum pleasure out of the world, whatever it throws at you.  He was a decent, honest, wise and funny man and I hope that he's having a ball in the big hereafter.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Windmills in my mind!

 I'm finding it hard to concentrate this week - I'd like to blame the windy weather or the lingering cold that I've got, but I'm not sure that I can!  I've probably just got too many projects that I want to work on all at once, and not enough time or energy to do that!

One little project this week was to make some simple pouches from colour catchers - preparation for a crafty 'girls night in' that I've planned for later this week.
Very fast to make, and it's made me wonder what my girls could think of to make with them next week when they are off school for half term.  Perhaps they can recycle some, write up a project and try and get their eco (green!) Blue Peter badges?

The only other sewing to show this week is a postcard for my Birthday Swap - the theme was 'circles' for this one, so I had a play with a scrap of fabric that had been gifted to me and some time with my lovely Inktense pencils.

I'm back off to my windmills - perhaps I'd better write a good list and get my projects written into a sensible time line for the week, otherwise I might not manage to get anything else done with a paralysis of indecision!

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A little early for snow?

 Yes, far too early for snow, of course, but not too early for snowball blocks!

I've decided to make a quilt using snowballs this month.  I had hoped to have made more than just this sample one, but have been knocked sideways with a horrid cold and cough.  Still, when I'm sewing again at least this will be a simple project to continue with.  All the initial cutting is done, so it's just a bit more sewing, swiping the rotary cutter and pressing to do. 

I'm making the blocks with coloured squares so I get the 'bonus' half square triangle blocks shown here at the same time.  I'm looking forward to playing with them once I've made the quilt!
 I realised that I hadn't posted a photo of the finished August quilt.

Here it is.

Somewhat busy with the novelty prints.  The sashing (and how I wished that I'd had enough to finish framing the novelty squares at the top and bottom of the quilt!) came in a bag of scraps from The Skep in Leeds more years ago than I care to remember.

I'd always thought that it was 'cow patch' fabric, but the more I sewed with it, the less certain I became.  I think that it might be Dalmatian fabric instead.

Oh well.  I'm sure that it won't matter that it is paired with cow print blocks and borders!

It has finished approx. 42" x 60" - so just right for wrapping up a child in (or for curling up under myself whilst watching mindless TV and sipping honey and lemon, as it turns out!).

Esther Alui has just published the LAST part of her Love Entwined pattern.  Amazing quilt!  I still haven't finished my fourth vase - which would be the last bit for me as I'm only making the central square.  Time for me to pull it out of the 'project wallet' and see what I actually need to do in order to finish it.

Perhaps some gentle hand sewing would be just the thing for me this week!

Happy sewing to one and all!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

More time, please!

 Life seems to have been lived on the run this week, for no particularly good reason!

Sewing time has been reduced by time spent at school meetings, tidying, sorting, and generally having the type of turnout (in some tiny areas of the house - I wouldn't like you to think that things had become too extreme!) that is more usually associated with spring!

Of course, every bit of tidying seems to result in even more ideas for the 'to do' admin and household chores list - never a good idea!  The list now runs to an entire sheet of A4 paper and the plans would total about £45,000 - or about £42,500 more than we actually have to spend right now!  Ho hum.  Back to the drawing board (or at least the sewing machine!).

I have managed a little sewing, though - but as both blocks are for my quilting group's Round Robin, which is kept secret over the five months that it run,
I thought that perhaps I should only show glimpses of the two blocks for my first recipient.

I got to play with a stitchery, an improve border, and some paper piecing.... not bad for just one 'hit' on someone else's project.

I'm hoping to make more progress on other projects this week although time does rather seem to be getting away from me again. 

I think that I'm going to set aside one week a month for (modern) family history and scrapbooking, rather than vacillate between whether to start fiddling with photos or fabric and ending up doing neither!

Hope that your autumn is more productive than mine at the moment!

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Hurrah for Sewing!

I'm delighted to say that I've finished my September quilt - an 'Angelika' (a quilt made from the leftovers of another quilt - this was made from the scraps of my August quilt - named after a member of one of my online quilting groups who has turned this into a fine art!).  I have to confess that I still haven't finished the binding on my August quilt yet..... so still running a bit late on that one.

I have hardly thought about what to make for my October quilt, but I'm hoping to make a 'proper' pattern rather than just relying on novelty prints for interest!
 So based on that, I'm not sure that I could raise a (an?) hurrah, but based on my birthday experience I most definitely can!

I received all this wonderful cards - aren't they fabulous?

I chose the theme 'purple' - can you tell?
 My girls and I keep on sorting and re-sorting them - tremendous fun!
I was also lucky enough to get these most excellent quilty presents!

The zipper pouch is a hand made lovely from Benta - isn't she clever?  Beautifully finished, a great inspiration.

The book and jelly roll are from my wonderful sister (and BiL, of course, although I suspect that he may not have been involved in the choosing process).  Great looking patterns, and I can hardly wait to get stuck in with the lovely bright fabric!  She clearly knows just what I like.

So, hurrah for sewing and fingers crossed that I find a bit more time to do some this week! I'm impatient to get on with several small projects!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

After the anniversary.....

After the anniversary, I can present the proof that my DH hasn't ever ironed Hama beads before....of course, the real proof is that on the back of this is a large swathe of Teflon coating from the iron.  Release paper? Nah.  Baking parchment? Nah.  

He says that next time he'll leave it until I get home (I was only out for an hour, visiting my lovely osteopath!) so we won't need to keep buying new irons!

Aside from that I'm mainly sewing down binding - no photos of those August and September quilts yet.

I also made my best beloved a card, of course.
And I've been sewing on a 'secret' mini project - just a glimpse for you now. 

Of course, I've really been spending time looking at lots of other lovely bogs.  Starting here with SewKalico who has played along beautifully with the worldwide blog hop -  and moving on via the blogs that she and KatesQuilting have highlighted.  I suggest you pop over for a look too - lots and lots of inspiration to be found and crafting loveliness to be admired!

Hope that you are enjoying some sewing time as the weather becomes a little cooler here in the UK.