Thursday, 30 June 2011

POST! Woohoo!

While going through the mudane motions of the last school day before our summer holidays (gathering up the laundry, packing the dishwasher etc.) the doorbell rang.

It was the postman, much earlier than normal.

He didn't just have one package for me, not two either, but THREE!  Yippee!

The first one I opened was from my Mad Hadder friend Hadley.  

These are the nicest fabric scraps I've ever seen.  And how cute is that mini pincushion!
Some time ago I signed up to Hadley's Pay It Forward project and got all these amazing lovelies!  Thank you Hadders for your great taste and amazing generosity!
Even the greeting card is adorable!

Next I opened a package from Prints to Polka Dots.

I just adore those birdies!  These fqs were all less than £2 ea.
I had ordered some bargain fqs from their website and got 4 of the 5 ordered.  Nice huh?

I specifically chose pinks because I'm making the Kaleidoscope quilt for Bethany's room, which is mainly green with some pink accents.  (More on the Kaleidoscope QAL later, when I get my finger out and get cutting!).

And finally, Miss July Queen Bee from our Brit Bee, Judith, has sent through her fabrics and instructions for the blocks she'd like us to make.  

Her inspiration is a red & white blocks quilt, and we get to choose what blocks we make - hooray!  I think one of my blocks will be Monkey Wrench, which will look really effective in the two colours.  Will keep you posted.

So this was a really lovely postie morning. I have been back at my sewing machine, but I can't show you yet what I've been doing - oh I love being mysterious!

Unfortunately, my machine is making unfamiliar clicking noises and I think I'll check her into Sewing Machine Clinic for a wee MOT before clicks turn into clunks!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Fabric shops - a dying breed!

Hubbie & I had a lovely day up in L'Derry yesterday, spending my birthday money!

I got some much needed jeans & t-shirts & accessories.

The highlight of my annual trip to L'Derry is visiting one of the cutest quilting shops we have in N.I.  - Quilt Cottage (nee Mission Hall Quilts).

I had my shopping list ready ( moda jelly roll, fat quarters etc.) but when we got there it was all closed!!!! Disaster!

We found out from a neighbouring shop owner that the owners have gone into liquidation and the shop is no more.  The stock was bought up by a shop owner in Belfast.

This is a real blow for good quality fabric shops in N.I.  There are so few here.  I know there is a lot of online buying these days, especially of designer fabrics, but I still love the experience of walking into a wonderful sea of colour and pattern and being surrounded by creativity and inspiration.  

So this is all I've managed to pick up so far.

I've had to turn my attention to online buying, which is sometimes risky when you can't gauge colours so well.  But what can a 'girl desperate to buy fabric' do?

There is one more place I might try before relenquishing the plastic to the virtual fabric shop.  It's half an hour drive away and I would need to be sure I'm going to buy something there to make it worth the petrol expense!!

Will keep you posted.  

P.s. We've had sunshine all day here!  So glad I didn't go to Wimbledon for my 40th!!!!!!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Trunks Away!!

I've had a wonderful day!  

Another day of celebrations thanks to my lovely sister, who hosted a lovely get-to-gether at her home.

I live 25 miles away from my parents & my sister and her family, so this was their day for celebrating birthdays with me & my youngest.

L-R: Sister, mum, me, dad
There was champers ..............

...........little gifts ..................

and the one I was really hoping for ................

A trunk!

This is what I've been wanting to store my quilts and cushions in at night so our dog won't chew holes in them.  Isn't it fab!

I was so worried someone was going to jump out of it when I opened it!!

This is a joint gift from my sister and brother, who lives in England.

And while I was there, I managed a pic of my nephew and the colour brick quilt I made him for his birthday earlier this month.  He loves his quilt and insists on sleeping under it, even in summer!

The 'big' nephew is the quilt owner!  Cheeky chops just decided to get in on the action!
And of course there was lots of food and birthday cake!

The other birthday girl with her new camera!

My wonderful, crazy family!
Thank you to you all for scheming, keeping secrets and making this a wonderful birthday!

Tomorrow - shopping!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

La Dee Da!

Yesterday, I got to pretend be posh for a while!

My friends were taking me out for a birthday lunch yesterday, but wouldn't tell me where we were going.

We only ended up in the poshest hotel in Belfast (yes Belfast does have posh hotels!!).

The Merchant Hotel used to be a bank.  It has the most amazing interiors, complete with chandeliers, and exquisite soft furnishings.

We went for 'Afternoon Tea', where silver service abounds!

How lucky am I to have such sneaky wonderful friends!  Thank you friends.

Warning!  More boring birthday pics tomorrow!

Friday, 24 June 2011

40 today - Eeek!

Well it's finally happened!

When I woke up this morning, I'm glad to say I hadn't grown an extra nose, my hair hadn't fallen out and my teeth were all there - phew!

Then this is what I came downstairs to ..............

I had told the girls the only thing they were allowed to buy me was a fat quarter or two of fabrics.  So daddy took them to our LQS and this is what they choose.

The cow print is so fun and daring, just like middle daughter who choose it!

And of course, no birthday for me is complete without some of these ...............

............and some of this ..............
I'm being taken out to lunch by 2 friends today - a surprise venue and I've been told the dress code is smart casual - hmmmmm!

The main celebrations will be on Sunday, a double birthday party (my youngest is 10 on Sunday) at my sister's house.  No doubt there will be more pics to bore you with.

And to finish off this 40th weekend hubby & I are spending the day in Londonderry, where I fully intend to buy more fabric in a cute wee shop up there called Quilt Cottage Studio (I'll definitely take pics of my purchases!).

So for all of you celebrating birthdays along with me this weekend, a very happy birthday to us all!

P.s. My very special quilty friend, Sarah, is poorly in hospital at the moment.  Just want to say a big thank you to her for organising the gorgeous flowers, and I miss her and wish her back to complete, pain free health very soon.  Love you! Jxo

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Legs Are Out!

Today was a day of sunshine and showers, so we had some of this ................

This one's for you Hadders!
.............and some of this ....................

It was also the last day of term with my lovely ladies from Oasis.  I hope to have some pics for you soon, with some of their beautiful makes.  I will miss their craic over the summer, and will enjoy designing some new projects for them for the new term in September.

My youngest daughter turns 10 on Sunday, and she has requested a camera for her present.

We got her a half decent one, as she really enjoys taking pictures and the outdoors in general - her nickname is 'Nature Girl'!

So I thought it would be fun for her to have a wee camera case to put her new camera in.

Of course, it had to be green!

I just made this up as I went along, and wish I had sourced a wee tute 'cos there was some inevitable unpicking & re-stitching!

But I think Nature Girl will like it - it has all her favourite colours!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


There's been a slight delay in posting the May Brit Bee blocks.

You may remember, we are a group of 12, and each month, someone sends out their fabric and pattern to the other 11, to make a block (or 2) and then post them back to the originator.

Trudi started us off in May with the Lynne Bob Square Pants block and the lovely Giddy fabrics.

I can now reveal what my blocks for Trudi turned out like:

Lots of HSTs and endless trimming ..............

Laid out ready for sewing together ................

Completed block number 1

Completed block number 2

I can't wait to see what Trudi's finished quilt looks like when all the blocks are put together.

For June, Fiona sent us some Dream On fabrics to make disappearing 9 patch blocks.  These were literally a dream to make, and I'll show you pics of them once we are into July.

Another first for me yesterday was making a skirt.  I've been threatening to make one for a while now and decided to park all the other WIPs (works in progress) and just attack attempt the instructions.

I bought myself an early birthday present in the form of this book, which is described as 'suitable for those happy to take risks'.  

 Well, I'm certainly not a risk taker in life, but I seem to grow more courageous in my quilting (go figure!).

I followed the instructions on how to measure myself and create a bespoke pattern for an A-line skirt.  Then I made a practise one (from an IKEA duvet cover!).

I was so pleased with how quickly I turned this out that I got stuck straight into my vintage curtains.

And ta da ...................

.............. one summer skirt, complete with side zip!

It's by no means perfect, but I'm chuffed with it as my first attempt.  I can't wait to have a really summery day to be able to wear it (the fact that I have absolutely nothing to go with it is irrelevant!).  

It's much too cold today to get my legs out (that's my excuse anyway!).

Bring on the sunshine!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Teachers' Gifts Sorted!

My kids' Primary School teachers always get a handbag from me at the end of the school year (except the year when one of my daughters had a male teacher - before 'man bags' were cool!).

I've only one daughter left in P.S so I could spend a little more time & thought on her wonderful teacher.

I recently saw a tutorial for a cute summer tote bag on Grosgrain.

And here is my version of it:

I added a handy pocket for the wee stuff that always gets lost at the bottom!

This pattern follows the standard rules of bag-making (pocket & snap fastener instructions not included) and was very easy to make.

My daughter loves it and is confident her teacher will love it too!  Phew!

The same daughter has 2 classroom assistants in her class who she doesn't like to leave out.  So they (plus my other daughter's favoured form teacher) are getting mug rugs which I had made a few months back.

All that's needed now are a few yummy biscuits or sweets to go with them and we're sorted!

I'm going great guns with my lounge cushions (once I finally bought the right size cushion fillers - duh!).  Will wait until I've all 6 made before the grand unveiling!!

Here endeth another productive day!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Little Things!

June is definitely a month of gifts and presents.

I have so many I want to make this month, and time is running out!  Eeeeeek!

My chilldren finish school for the summer holidays on 30th June, which means teachers' presents must be made by then (more on that another day!).

My daugher is going to a friend's birthday party soon, so I rustled up this cute pencil case, which will be filled with lots of goodies!

On Sunday, we have Father's Day!  Hubbie got some lovely plants for his hanging baskets, but I thought I'd run him up a fun wee mug rug for his office.

He's from the south coast of England, where beach huts abound!  Well, we can dream!

My friend's mum is also being a complete star and altering some of my clothes (I really must learn how to make & alter clothes!).

You may remember I recently made her a couple of little brooches, so I thought I'd make her a pin cushion & matching basket to put her bits and pieces in.  

Another little brooch for a very stylish lady!

The final 'little thing' today is my donation block to the Tokyo Quilt Festival Partnership Quilts. 

This is a foundation pieced, wonky log cabin block & finishes at 9.5" (perfect for the Partnership Quilts criteria).  

The fabrics are batiks, in strong orange & raspberry and reminded me of the flowers I received for Mother's Day which were called 'Tutti Fruit'.  

Don't you think a quilt made in these colours would be so tropical and fun!

I will post the pdf of this pattern on my blog for anyone else who is interested, just as soon as I figure out how to do that!!

Have a fab Thursday!