Friday, 31 August 2012

Brit Quilt Swap R3 Mini Received!

I wasn't expecting to receive my mini so soon, but just look at the wonderful post I got today:

I have been wondrously blessed by the uber talented (& Chief Tease!) Suzan of Quiltitis!  Suzan only gave tiny snippets of clues in the flickr group as to what she was making!  But boy oh boy, did my ship come in!

Apart from the delicious devon fudge (my most favourit-ist kind, which didn't last too long!) here are the details of my spectacular goodies.

I love everything about this fab set; the colours & design of the mini; the just as beautiful back (how did she know I love elephants?); just about the best made label I've ever seen; scrummy scraps; and the cleverist of mugrugs, with a matching id tag attached (Suzan had the last picture on the top of her covering letter, showing how to use the mugrug! She'd thought of everything!).

And just take a look at a close up of the stunning embroidery that is on the back:

This reminds me of the lovely embroidery on my Nanny's tray cloths I've been recycling recently!

I love my wonderful BQS mini!  Thank you Suzan so much!

I can't wait to see what everyone else has got, and what the reaction will be to the mini I sent out this week!

Twice Queenie!

I'm thoroughly enjoying my role as Queen of the Bees, giving out orders to my minions!

Not content to order 11 Hipbees around to my creative bidding, I'm also September Queen bee in Sew Bee Happy!

This is a bee where we use out of our own stash and scraps, so I've asked the super talented SBH ladies to each make me one of these:

The ladies will keep to a colourway they were previously allocated, so I should end up with 11 more rainbow crazy patchwork blocks.

I've decided to donate these blocks to Bee Blessed, and to make this the Bee Blessed September block of the month also.

So, for all of our amazing Bee Blessed supporters out there, here is Aneela's fab tutorial on how to make a crazy patchwork block.

All I ask is that you stick to one colourway, make the centre section 10.5" unfinished, and then add plain white borders to bring the block up to 12.5" (please no white on white, or kona snow).  A good tip is to cut your border strips 2" wide (i.e. wider than you need) which makes it easier to then trim the block down to 12.5".

This is a great scrap buster block (my fav!) and I know the Bee Blessed ladies will have fun with this one too when we meet up on 15th.

Looking forward to seeing all your fabulous blocks!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hipbees Queenie!

I'm Queen Bee for September in Hipbees!

I thought long and hard about what block to set my lovely friends, in this relatively new bee, and came up with this:

This is a take on the friendship braid, only with a little more wonk!  I first saw it over on Tallgrass Prairie Studio, where Jacquie calls it Free Pieced Chevron.  There's a great tutorial over there on how to make one if you fancy having a go.

It was uber simple to make (which I know will appeal to my Hipbees!) and as I had to base a block around using scraps, it ticked the box on that score too.  I'm posting all the colour coded scrap bags out tomorrow, with my addition of skinny Klona grey sashing and white borders.

I'm looking forward to seeing these rainbow blocks come together.

Have fun ladies!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Ain't nothing going on but the rent!

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss

Well it's back to school time in our house this week!  Some of us are smiling more than others!

I'm aware I have been a bit more silent than usual on my blog recently.  I prefer to keep the majority of my blogs about creative things, and as I haven't made much recently, there hasn't been much to blog about!

This is the first summer I have worked right through.  The classes have been well attended and great fun, and it's been lovely getting to know some new folks too.

But now it's admin time, getting ready for the new term of classes and projects which start next week (you can get the full list of classes here).

This will mean lots of pattern writing, as well as testing new patterns and ideas for the 2013 programme (which usually comes out after Hallowe'en).

And I'm not the only one who has been industrious this summer.  Shannon, my eldest daughter has been beavering away on her fimo creations, and has some new stock in her Etsy shop, some of you quilters might want to have a peek at!

Quilting row markers!

I know what's going on my Christmas list this year!

She returns to school tomorrow, so won't be able to take custom orders during term time, but she will still be keeping the shop stocked up in fimo goodness!

Well, I will be posting about some new bee blocks for September over the next few days.  I might even get something made!

I hope my international friends are staying safe from bad boy Isaac, and that those closer to home are enjoying the last official week of summer!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Good Times!

I have just had the best 4 days with fellow Brit Bee-er Terri and her daughter Maddy.

Now there is never a dull moment when these 2 are around!  Here's one example!

On Monday, we went straight from the airport to Sainsburys to get the food that Terri was going to cook (I like to make my visitors work for their keep!) and there was a power cut just as we reached the tills!  She'd only been in Belfast 5 minutes and was causing havoc already!

However, the power cut actually worked out in our favour as Sainsbury's staff allowed us to take unscanned items away for free!

These pair love all things 'Titanic' - how convenient that I live just 10 minutes away from where it was built!

So a trip to the new Titanic museum was a must!

Tuesday, outside the museum.

Terri came along to my classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and managed not to scare everyone off or lead them astray!

We enjoyed long chats til the wee hours of the morning, and rummaging around charity shops for fabric bargains (more on that another day!).

One of the highlights for me was not having to do the cooking!  Terri is an amazing cook and can do things with vegetables I didn't think were possible!  She looked right at home in my kitchen!

We managed a little bit of sewing!

Working on Brit Bee blocks!

But mostly we managed lots of talking, laughing, eating and shopping!

Thank you my friend for sharing your time, talents and really bad sense of humour with me!

It was a blast! Missing you already!

P.s. My big girl got her GCSE results yesterday (Thursday).  Go here to see how well she did!  I'm one proud Mama!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Smiles all round!

I had the wonderful task of handing over this quilt today:

I made this quilt this year as part of my mate Sarah's Stained Quilt Along.

A little earlier than scheduled, my sister and I decided it would be a good day to present her handsome 'almost 18 year old' son with his birthday quilt.

After the deliberations on what to call this quilt - 'Stained Blue', 'Stained Grey', 'Slated', 'Hip to be Square' etc. (thank you everyone for all the suggestions) I decided not to give the quilt a name.  Unusual for me I know.  But nothing seemed to be quite right and it just felt ok to leave the quilt nameless.

And despite my wonderful nephew still affectionately calling me 'Auntie JuJu', I decided to put a more grown up label on the back.

(I think he was a little disappointed it didn't say Auntie JuJu!)

Anyway, he loved it and proceeded to drape it fully over the sofa in his room!

Ah, giving is so satisfying!

Another reason why I'm smiling today is because a very special lady (& her daughter) are coming to stay with me tomorrow!

Many of you will know her (most certainly will know of her!!!), she's as nutty as a fruit cake and is one of the most selfless and caring people I have the privilege of knowing (not to mention uber talented too!).

Check back this week to find out about my crazy visitor!

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 17 August 2012

One Way Traffic!

I've noticed recently that there seems to be a lot of 'stuff' making its way into my sewing room, but not much coming out of it!

As you may remember I came home from holiday last month with a large wicker basket full of fabric remnants and purchases.

Last week, my neighbour was having a clear out and gave me approx. 150 fat quarters (not of the modern variety, but I will still definitely use them - no doubt Bee Blessed will benefit).

Today my sister gave me several bags of clothes (some of which need altered to fit my irregular sizing - get ready to work Martha!) and I also received a donation of curtains and curduroy!

All are now dumped stuffed into my sewing room, which was already bulging at the seams!  Oh dear!  I really need to redress the direction of this traffic!

And here is one more item which I am more than happy to accept into my sewing room.

As a welcome to everyone in the new Hipbees bee, my most thoughtful friend Sarah made everyone a Zakka pouch and conspired with my daughter to make a mini bee charm. 

I've decided to keep my water soluble marking pens in this pouch, which will save me time routing around in my pen pot trying to find them!

And I love these wee bees cos they have flowery bottoms!  Jan got a much better pic of it than me! 


Now we've all got hippy 'bum' bees!


Thank you Sarah for such a cute and thoughtful gift! 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A Vintage Line!

I managed to get the house to myself for an hour or two today, and cracked on with some sewing.

2 of my vintage quilt tops are now finished:

It was so bright and breezy today, I couldn't get a good picture of them, so I took them inside and draped them over my dining table.

This one is for my friend's birthday next month.  One of those purple squares in the centre is from my pillowcase when I was wee!  It's the softest brushed cotton!

This one is for my niece who's had a really tough year. 

I've almost finished the top of the 3rd one, which will be for me!

So a productive day today!

Tomorrow my nephew comes to stay for the weekend.  He's 6, has cerebral palsy and is an adorable cheeky chap!  My girls love having him here.  So I don't think there'll be too much sewing done!

And before I go, if you love cute Russian dolls, check out these!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Coming Along!

Today was frustrating.

I have several projects on the go at the moment that require 'a good run' at them.  You know what I mean?  A chunk of time to really progress them to the next stages.

I soooooo wanted today to be like that!  Alas not!

I tootled about on this and that all morning, until I had to don my Taxi driver uniform and start the to-ing and fro-ing with kids (& husband) all over the place!  To make matters worse, road works at every turn and the worst rain we've had in weeks made the journeys twice as long!  Aargghh!

But I was determined to get some proper sewing done today.  When I got back I sewed like fury and got this commission quilt top finished:

The colours are much nicer in real life!
And I also got a bit done on one of my (3) vintage sheets quilts, so fingers crossed I'll have a few more quilt tops done soon. 

I've also decided to give my church pew a makeover!  Here's what it looked liked before my daughter and I attacked it with cream paint!

I need to buy more paint to get it finished, hopefully before our visitors arrive next week!

I hope you've had a non-frustrating day!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Buttons & Blessings!

I wanted to make my secret Brit Quilt Swap partner a wee handmade something, to go with her mini quilt and charm squares.

This particular person loves buttons & linen (a girl after my own heart) so I made her this:

This pouch gave me another opportunity to use the vintage lace I've aquired and a recycled Pilgrim necklace made the perfect zipper pull!

So now I've got something to put the charm squares and ribbon into for my secret partner!

And today my daughter got some long sought after sewing time with mum, and made an Antique Tile block for Bee Blessed.

Would you just look at that sneaky Martha trying to photo bomb!
Another one of my very talented students has started her own blog!  I'd love it if you would pop over to The Flax Mill and say hi to Ainslee!  She is about to have her first baby in a few weeks time - I see lots of baby quilts in her future!

The sun is shining, it's a glorious day!

I hope you are enjoying this day, whatever you are doing, wherever you are doing it!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tray Cloth Treasures

I've been enjoying a 'vintage themed' summer, exploring antique shops, upcycling old furniture and working with vintage sheets.

18 months ago, my Nanny passed away, and when mum and I were clearing out her house, we came across some beautiful tray cloths.

I don't think my Nanny embroidered them herself, but they were definitely handsewn.  I decided to keep them and yesterday I fussy cut a few sections to create this:

The front

The Back

And you might have noticed I've used some of my recently aquired (& freshly laundered) vintage lace!

The 'soon to be' owner of this pouch appreciates vintage fabrics, and I hope she likes this tray cloth pouch as much as me!

Finally, a wee sneaky peek on another gift in the making:

I sewed all these (& more) on while watching the Olympics Closing Ceremony! My days just won't be the same now without a daily Olympics fix!

And just time to tell you about another friend who has crossed over into the fun world that is Blogland!  Head on over to my friend Ruth, at Simply Sew and give her a big blogging community welcome!

Hope you've enjoyed your weekend.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Modern Maud's Autumn Debut!

I'm always trying to strike the right balance of projects across my classes, and so I thought I'd give Modern Maud a wee go in my Monday evening class.

The basic construction of this bag is straightforward, but what I like about it is all the features you can add in to it.

As well as covering how to strengthen and stiffen your bag, I'll be teaching how to insert a zippered pocket into the lining ....

and how to attach 'feet' to the bottom of your bag:

This is a really sturdy shopper which could have endless uses.

If you live locally to me and are interested in this class, just drop me an email at

The class starts on 8th October.