Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wanted! Wonky Homes for Pippis

Don't you think March has hurtled through at an alarming rate?

With the end of one month comes the next block for Bee Blessed!

Thank you everyone for your cuter than cute Pippi blocks.  You can see most of them here.
Don't they look quite the dysfunctional perfect family!!

And yes, we even have a set of twins!

If you are still planning on making a Pippi block, there is still time - we will never turn away anyone from our Bee Blessed family!

We thought these Pippi blocks would look great in a quilt alongside some wonky houses, so this is what we are setting as the April Bee Blessed block.

There are several great tutorials out there already (thanks Nicky!), so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel on this one (and apologies for not having an example made for you to see)!

Improv. pieced house by Unruly Quilter

How to draw your own paper pieced house by Free Patterns by Sophie Junction

All we ask is that you keep the background/sky in white, and add a little bit of grass or ground at the bottom of the house.  As always, please square your block to 12.5".

The rest of the colour scheme and style of house is up to you!  Have fun with our April social housing project!

And I'll leave you with some pics of our progress from today's gathering of Bee Blessed:

Man Quilt Top

Sampler Quilt Top

Jelly Roll Quilt - completed

Blue/Pink Log Cabin Quilt - completed

Beatrix Potter Cot Quilt - completed

Thursday, 29 March 2012

April Brit Bee

Firstly, 'thank you' to everyone for your thoughtful comments to me this week.  I've been pretty shattered and a bit stressed out lately, and v.much enjoyed some much needed time off yesterday.  It was heart warming reading your lovely well wishes, and I'm feeling much more myself again.


April marks the final month in the first year long Brit Bee!

It's amazing to think that a group of 12 women, unknown to each other, were formed this time last year out of the first Brit Quilt Swap.

We have become firm friends, sharing the highs and lows of life, and are hoping to continue the bee on into another year.

The super talented Jo is Miss April, and the theme she wants us to work on this month is 'Circles'.

Now I'm not known for my love of circles and curves, so I decided to grab hold of the nettle and get on with it!

I got my package of yummies from her this morning, and by this afternoon I had made this:

18.5" x 22"

Blanket stitch applique in coral thread, and satin stitch applique in invisible thread

Jo gave us the choice between making 2 x 12" blocks or a larger block.  As the piece of background linen was 18.5" x 22", I decided to go with one larger block.  And while the centre piece isn't technically a circle, I wanted to maximise the gorgeous Heather Ross fabrics, and a more oval shape fitted the proportions of the background better.

I hope you like it Jo!

I've also managed to get all my Stained QAL blocks done:

Just the internal sashing to put on now and I'm thinking wider outer borders. My nephew is a rugby player, so yet another sizeable quilt required! 

They make 'em big in our family!

Off to class tonight - can't wait to show you some amazing Value Quilt pictures!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring Greens (& other colours)!

I've decided I'm going to enjoy today!

The week has been stressful up to now, and it is robbing my joy of this beautiful weather and season.

So I'm taking the morning off from 'work' (I even had a lie-in, on a school morning - gasp!) and am going to slowly potter the day away.  Just what my (self-diagnosing) doctor ordered!

I've already been out in the garden, enjoying the new bursts of spring colour:

And talking of bursts of colour, I have some pics to show you of our progress in Bee Blessed:

First up, another sampler quilt in green and orange:

Doesn't this one just shout 'Spring'?  Just the back to get pieced for this one and it's ready for quilting.

And Sarah has been beavering away with the orphan blocks (the ones leftover from earlier projects), making up the cutest pram blankets:

The dino quilt was a panel kindly donated by River Fabrics, which has quilted up brilliantly into a cot bed sized boy quilt.

There are a few more still being worked on, and we meet again on Saturday, so I'll have another progress update for you then.

Also, I'll be posting the details of April's block at the end of this week - watch this space!

And now I need your help!

I would like to make my niece a cushion for her 14th birthday next month, using the Mod Mosaic pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.

But my niece's bedroom is pale pink and white, and my pale pinks are sadly lacking.

What collection would you recommend I choose from that fits my criteria, of not being too babyish, but suitable for a girly 14 year old?

All suggestions gratefully received!

Have a great one!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Big Deep Breaths!

I've had a really stressy day so far.  But I don't want this post to become a rant, so I'm working hard at keeping things in perspective, taking big deep breaths and putting it all down to being tired!

I'm pleased to say that yesterday I managed some non work related sewing, and got my no.3 blocks finished for the Stained QAL:

At this moment in time, I'm so tempted to push all work sewing aside (not the first phrase that came to mind) and carry on with the no.4 blocks for Stained QAL.  They work up like a dream, and that would take me within touching distance of getting the quilt top finished!

But at the moment I'm sitting in the sunshine, hoping that there is some scientific evidence that topping up your vitamin D increases calmness, sanity and world peace!

Bit much to ask for I know!

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Girl on Fire!

It's a gloriously sunny day here in Northern Ireland!

Life always looks so much better through the light and warmth of a sunny day (though not through the dirt and grim of my windows!).

I had the privilege this morning of listening to a very inspiring lady.

Most of you will have seen this iconic photograph, taken during the Vietnam war in 1972.

The naked 9 year old girl in the centre is Kim Phuc. She is 49 now, married with 2 teenage sons, and she came to our church this morning and told her incredible story of being caught up in the napalm bomb in her village, recovering from 65% burns over her body, and the subsequent journey of healing and forgiveness that followed.

She was incredibly humble, gracious and inspiring to listen to, and it reminded me to be so thankful for the many good things I have in my life.  I am looking forward to reading her book 'The Girl in the Picture' by Denise Chong.

Yesterday, was another sunny day, but I was tucked away in my sewing room all afternoon, working on class samples.

However at 3.30pm my daughter brought me a welcome interruption!

This is my favourite kind of chocolate cake - light, fluffy and gooey! Delicious!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and enjoying some welcome spring sunshine.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Have you ever seen a cupcake smile?

Could everyone please stop having birthdays!

I don't remember March being particularly birthday-busy, but I seem to have a lot to make this month.

I've had to make so many presents for my daughters' friends this month, that I even checked back on my blog archives to March 2011 to see if I was doing this last year!  Nope, not a one then!  So I wasn't imagining the 100% increase in birthday requests!

Well whatever is going on (maybe my girls are just good at making friends!) I've rattled out a couple more pouches which have been suitably stuffed with sweets and other girly treats, and decorated with my eldest's cute fimo charms.

Pencil case

Smiling cupcake!

Makeup bag

And so this weekend, I'm going to sew for me. 

The plan is to get the no.3 blocks done in the Stained QAL. I've also got a few more class samples to make, but if I get any of these done this weekend, I'll be a happy bunny!

Have a sunny weekend!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Things that make you go 'Mmm'

It's been a funny old week.  I had a bit of a shock on Sunday (in a nice way!), which took me 3 days to recover from (more on that later)!

Then Monday felt like a Saturday, cos the kids were off school for the St.Patrick's Bank Holiday.

I met mum for coffee on Tuesday, and gave her the Cathedral Windows cushion.  The word she used was 'exquisite' so I'd say that went down well!

Yesterday I actually managed to get some sewing done, and then last night it was my daughter's school Spring Concert in the Ulster Hall.

It was a fabulous evening, with nearly 300 kids showcasing their musical talents in this awesome venue.

Today, the sun is shining, which has had a bearing on my selection for the Katy and Brenda fabric bundle competiton.

1. Coral Bloom in sunshine - Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket 2. Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow herringbone in Berry Pink 3. Timeless treasures Grid graph paper in fabric in black smirk by Kyla May 4. Deck Chairs in Coral - Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket 5. Metro Living lattice in marigold yellow by Robert Kaufman 6. Circles in Strawberry Pink Modern Whimsy Organic Fabric by Laurie Wisburn 7. Pop Flowers in Yellow Woodlands by Khristian A Howell for Anthology Fabrics 8. Simple Dots in Cloud Gray Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey 9. Waves in Sunshine - Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket 10. Fizzy Dot in pink - Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt 11. Mono Pez in yellow Pezzy prints by American Jane 12. Yard Seeds in Gray - Fruit Slice for Anthologie Fabrics by Khristian A Howell
If I were to be fortunate enough to win my own bespoke bundle, I would make these into a summer quilt, because the complete lack of sunshine during the summer in this country, means that you have to find it elsewhere! 

I'm calling it 'Mmmm', you know the feeling you get all over your body when the sun hits it?

The sunny yellows will be my warm soothing sunshine, the raspberry reds remind me of sweet juicy strawberries and summer fruits, and the soft greys are the 'on trend' colour to help blend it all together.

And while I have been sewing the past 2 days, they are mainly class samples and more birthday presents for friends (perhaps some pics tomorrow)!

Just before I go, the shocking surprise I got on Sunday was a new Ipad2! 

Now before you get all excited, I don't have it anymore! 

When I eventually scraped myself off the floor and started playing with it (terrifying!) we soon realised it wouldn't be able to do all that I would need it to for work.  So it was returned to the shop and a handy wee laptop purchased in place of it. Much more me, and it's turquoise too!!

So no more fighting with the kids over who's turn it is to use the tin bucket family computer downstairs!

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring Thursday.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A Titanic Tour!

I am guest posting today over on Karen's blog

Karen has been doing a 'tour' of Ireland, calling in and chatting with bloggers around Ireland. 

I've written a little about my part of the world, Belfast, and what it's like to live here.  Pop on over and have a look at some fab pictures!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Ouch! She Got Me!

There's a game going around blogland at the mo called blogger tag.  It's a new one on me, and I've only found out about it because it's been done to me!

My lovely friend Susan has tagged me, which involves me answering 11 of her questions before setting 11 of my own to 11 other bloggers.

I can't imagine why anyone would be anywhere near interested in the generalities of my life, but here goes:

1. What is your favourite cartoon from childhood?
Having difficulty remembering that far back!  I remember Looney Tunes i.e. Bugs Bunny & Daffy Duck etc. 

2. What is your favourite restaurant in the world and where is it?
I’m not too widely travelled, but the one I revisit as often as I can is called Pinocchio’s, an Italian restaurant in Christchurch, Dorset.

3. If you could buy any fabric bundle you wanted right now (someone else was paying) what would it be?
There are so many lovely fabric bundles to choose from, but I really love the orange and aqua mix of Sandy Gervais’ Designer Select Sassy Collection for The Fat Quarter Shop.

4. What is your favourite quilt made by someone else? (Please include a link or photo if that is possible.)
Again, a difficult one, as there are so many beauties out there.  But I’ll go with one I pinned recently from Angela (Cut to pieces):
5. I need a day on the beach. Where would you recommend?
Within the UK I’d say Bournemouth beach, because I lived there for 7 years (not actually on the beach of course!).  But from family holidays as a child I remember The Algarve in Portugal having lovely beaches.

6. If a sewing retreat could be held in the place of your choice and all your friends would be able to attend where would you have it?
Belfast of course!

7. What is the first sign of Spring for you?
Daffodils and crocuses.

8. Do you have a favourite smell?
I love perfume, some of my favs are Burberry Weekend, Lancome Tresor & Miracle So Magic.  I also love the smell of lilies in the evenings.

9. If you drink wine, what do you prefer - red, white or pink? If you don't drink wine, what is your favourite drink?

10. What sewing task do you dread the most?
Calculating fabric requirements

11. You are making me a dessert - what is it, and will you give me the recipe?
I’m not known for my culinary skills (!!) but I can make pavlova (6 egg whites, sugar, vinegar, cornflour & vanilla extract, cream, fruit).

Phew!  So glad that's over.  Here are my questions to the following bloggers:

1.       What is your favourite ice cream flavour/brand?
2.       What kind of stuff do you like to watch on telly?
3.       What are your favourite colour combos for fabric at the mo?
4         & 5. Who in your life do you most admire and why?
6.       What inspired you to first start sewing/quilting?
7.       What part of your body do you like the most?
8.       Give me an example of something you have made that you are really proud of?
9.       Would you describe yourself as more of a patchworker or a quilter, or both?
10.   What has been your favourite decade so far?
11.   What are you most looking forward to this year?

Sarah (Sew Me)
Jan (Isisjem)

Over to you ladies!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mothers' Day Cushion

Although I'm not seeing mum til Tuesday, I managed to get her Cathedral Windows cushion finished in time for Mothers' Day today.

Hidden zipper!

This cushion was a struggle from start to finish, and while there are countless imperfections in it, I think mum will really like it!  And that's all that matters to me.

And my own Mother's day has been lovely!  The sun has been shining 'specially, and I got my favourite kind of pressies - homemade ones!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - yum!
I did get another wee thing, which I'm too embarrassed to blog about right now.  But some of you bright sparks may eventually work out what it was!

Hope you've had a relaxing Sunday!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy Paddy's Day!

To all my friends, far and near, happy St. Patrick's Day!

Despite living in the land of '40 shades of green', today will be a usual Saturday - lie-in, chores, sewing!.

At the moment I'm having some fun with these ...

have designs on one of these ......

made another one of these ........

and plan to eat lots of this when my friend Sarah and her family come for tea!

Hope you have a great St. Paddy's day!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Here Come the Girls!

My girls have had a run on 'it's my friend's birthday soon mum (wink, wink!)'.  

That usually means one of two things for me - get down to the shops to buy something or get down and busy and make something!

As I come out in a nervous rash at the very thought of going shopping, it usually boils down to option no.2!

So here are the pressies I've managed to whip up this week:

1. Slouch Bag (for a 13 year old friend - posted about here.)

2. Pencil Case (for a 16 year old friend) with pvc lining and stuffed with sweets and nail polish!

3. Journal & Cover (for a 13 year old friend)

4. Make up Bag (for a 16 year old friend) also stuffed with sweets!
Made from my old jeans - I might just have to make another one of these for myself!

So let's hope that's the birthdays sorted out for another wee while.

And finally, just time to show you the gorgeous scraps I won from Reene:

Reene has amazing taste in delicious fabrics and I'm sooooo going to enjoy using these!  Thanks so much Reene.

Happy Friday everyone!