Friday, 30 November 2012

French General Finishes!

A good friend of mine gave me some of her leftover French General charm squares.

Coupled with some sumptuous linen offcuts I was saving, I made up 2 cushions for my lounge.

French General Cushions Nov12

I've been needing some new cushions in my lounge for a while.  I always need one at my back when I'm sitting watching TV.

But when I finally get around to making them, I never want to use them, or watch others squash them all out of shape!  Sad I know! 

These are made with Ikea fillers (24" x 16") and my favourite 'hidden zippered' closure.

I wonder how long I will get to enjoy these 'ornamental' pillows before they fulfil their purpose in life!!

Fab Friday everyone!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The One Where I Forgot Something!

Working from home during the day means I have the privilege of being able to look after a couple of my friends' kids after school, several afternoons a week.

I know when their birthdays are, and I usually pride myself on being organised well in advance when it comes to theirs (& everyone else's) birthdays!

But I slipped up this week!

One of my Tuesday/Wednesday girls' birthday was on Monday.  I knew it was the 26th.  I've had her card written and set out from the beginning of November.  I always make her and her sister something for their birthdays.

Not realising how quickly November was disappearing like sand through my fingers, and foolishly thinking I still had plenty of time, I awoke Monday morning, checked the date, and then screamed!!

Ok, so that was a slight exaggeration!  I gasped in shock with hand to forehead (i.e. slapping myself on the head for being so remiss) and then wracked my brains all day trying to come up with an idea.

I managed to start working on my idea on Monday night (in class!!!) and got it finished yesterday, wrapped up and in time for youngun' coming through that door at 3pm!  Phew!

Journal/Notebook Cover Nov12

The smile and delighted reaction from this wanna-be fashion designer made it all worth while!

I think birthdays should last a couple of days anyway!  Don't you?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Angel Blocks

I love the concept of 'Angel Blocks'.

If a fellow bee member is struggling to make their blocks a particular month, another member offers to be their 'angel' and make the blocks on their behalf.  Like a kind of Guaradian Angel!

Well I got the privilege to dust off my halo & be guardian angel to one of my Brit Bee buddies, making her October's blocks for Susan.

Brit Bee Angel Blocks for Susan Nov12

These are the fabrics that Susan sent out, and she wanted a range of star block sizes.  The largest block there is 9.5" and the smallest (Pinwheels, technically not a star block!) is 3".

These 2 blocks have been foundation pieced:

Brit Bee Angel Block for Susan Nov12 Brit Bee Angel Block for Susan Nov12

The blocks are now on their way to a rather soggy England!

And the halo and wings have been put away for another day!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Messy Fun!

I started my new Brooches & Fabric Craft class last week.

The first week was all about playing with fimo (making buttons) and water soluble fabric.

Brooches class Nov12 Brooches Class Nov12

And over the next few weeks we will be making a variety of brooches and flowers.  Here is a sample of what they'll be having a go at!

Brooches Class Nov12

We will be experimenting with satin stitch, free motion sketching, suffolk puffs (yo yo's) and how to make use of all those leftover scraps that usually find their way into the bin!

I hope you've all had a great weekend!

Some of my lovely Brit Bee and bloggy friends were meeting up at Susan's today!  I'm so jealous I couldn't be with them again (just like we were in July)!  You can see some really fun photos of the afternoon here.

As for me, I spent most of the weekend reorganising and sorting my sewing room to accommodate some new open shelving (thank goodness for Ikea!) with the help of my long suffering hubby!  Thank you dearest!

To all my GB readers, stay dry and safe!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hugs & Kisses

This month in Bee Blessed we are making a block called The Great Big Kiss!

It is bringing a smile to my face receiving lots of 'Kisses' in the post - thank you!

I've never actually tried this block myself so I thought I best have a go!

Hug & Kiss blocks for Bee Blessed
This was a satisfyingly easy block to make!  You can find the tutorial here.

And the block on the left is my 'hug' block,  originally designed by Don't Call Me Betsy and called the Patchwork Wheel (you can find the tutorial for it here).

A rather clever bloggy friend of mine came up with the idea of doing 0's as well as the X's, which means the finished quilts will have hugs as well as kisses! Genius!  Thanks T!

If you would like to make a contribution to Bee Blessed, there is still time to donate a block or two.  Either (or both) of these blocks will be received with thanks and a smile!

And one final block to show you!

Sew Bee Happy Mosaic block Nov12
The Mod Mosaic block (designed by Elizabeth Hartman), made for Emma in Sew Bee Happy
This is the last month of this scrappy bee, hosted by Kat.  It has been lovely getting to know some new folks from all around the world. Thank you ladies for your blocks and the opportunity to make some blocks I haven't tried before.
Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Quilts Resurrected!

I'm starting to accumulate a few quilt tops!  Most unlike me as I tend to work on 1 quilt at a time, usually for a specific person or project.

However like the magic porridge pot, they just seem to be growing by themselves!

So I decided to move them on another stage and get them basted.

Basted quilts

Around this time last year, I took part in the Across the Seas  QAL, thinking I would make a baby quilt for my friend who was pregnant at the time, just in case she had a boy!

She had a girl!

So I lost interest in the quilt, despite having the front and back made.  The QAL ended and the quilt got relegated to the bottom drawer!

Across the Seas QAL quilt

Then I unearthed my Brit Bee quilt top, from January this year! I LOVE my Brit Bee quilt - I still smile each time I look at the blocks made by my girls!

But I didn't know what to do on the back of this quilt.  So it got parked!

Brit Bee Quilt basted

It is now half basted, while I slowly hatch a plan for the back.  As the theme of the front was log cabin, I'm thinking a Leanne style mahusive log cabin back!  Stark raving or what!

Ferry Floor is a quilt top I made this Autumn & I plan to teach it next year.  It is now basted both front and back waiting to be quilted.

Ferry Floor basted

And finally, my own vintage sheets quilt is now basted and ready for quilting (I even have the binding made!). 

Vintage Quilt Nov12

It's satisfying when projects can be moved on a stage!  But boy is there still loads to do!

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Eggplant or Aubergine?

A month or so back I 'aquired' an offcut of some lucious deep purple linen.

The label described the colour of this linen as Eggplant.  The British vegetable equivalent is Aubergine!

Whatever your vegetable preference, one thing you must know:  IT ISN'T BROWN!

EPP Linen Cushion

I decided to put my holiday EPP project to good use.  These diamonds were sewn from a wee pile of scraps, while travelling at 70mph along some motorway in England or Wales in July!

It was quite difficult photographing the true colour of this linen, which I doubled up as I didn't want the white wadding showing through.

EPP Linen Cushion

I wanted to highlight the hexies created in the negative spaces around the stars, so I used an open satin stitch in variegated thread, which just happened to have the exact colours of this project in it!

This was an impromptu make, so I didn't have the right size zipper to make the back.  Instead I covered 2 buttons in the linen, made a couple of button holes and voila!

EPP Linen cushion

This cushion finishes at 24" x 16" (Ikea filler) and is now sitting proudly on my BROWN sofa!

And before I go, Bee Blessed volunteers hit record numbers yesterday!

Bee Blessed Nov12

We were delighted to have 3 new members, swelling our numbers to 13 yesterday (the most we've ever had in one sitting!).  From the youngest (age 11) to the oldest (never you mind!) we were a busy and productive hive!

Thank you to everyone who has already made the Great Big Kiss Block for us this month.  It is so lovely seeing the blocks accumulating.  The tutorial is here if you fancy having a go!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

It's Hip to be Square!

This month in Hipbees, the lovely Catherine set us the LynneBob Squarepants Block.

Lynnebob block for Hipbees Nov12

Now I've made this block before, my very first ever Bee block for Trudi in Brit Bee (April 2011 I think?). (Note to Trudi: Still waiting to see the finished quilt - hint, hint!!)

It was invented by the uber talented Lynne Goldsworthy in 2011 and was popularised through the Brit Quilt Flickr group.

I didn't achieve perfect points back then, and sadly it would seem not much has changed!  Despite accurate cutting and painstaking trimming, I still have one or 2 points that just refuse to meet up!

In my opinion, half square triangles are the rebels of the quilting world!  Try as you might to bend them to your will, sometimes they just won't conform!

But the important thing here is that Catherine is happy with this block.  And going by the others that are popping up on the flickr group, this is going to be one superb quilt.

Let me leave you with some fine finishes from my Friday morning class.

Stack n Whack Cushion Class Nov12

These are Stack n Whack floor cushions.  Aren't they fab!!  All quilted and squishy and just waiting to be jumped on and snuggled up to!  Well done ladies!

The pattern for the Stack n Whack Floor cushion is now available in my Etsy Shop.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Applique Love!

My first Applique course finished last night!

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this course, and from the smiles and finishes last night, I'd say those attending enjoyed it too!

Well done everyone on trying out some new skills and producing amazing and creative cushions!

The pattern for the LOVE and House/Trees applique cushions (as seen above) is now available in my Etsy shop.

The patterns have full colour, step by step photos and come with shape & letter templates and guides on Satin Stitch and Free Motion (Raw Edge) applique.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A New Hem Line!

I was recently given a corduroy skirt!  I love corduroy, but alas, this skirt was just too short for me! (with knobbly knees & chicken legs like mine, you really don't want to be showing too much!)

Apologies for the 'blue' tinge (had the wrong white balance selected on my camera phone! Doh!)
So I thought I'd have a go a trying to lengthen the skirt by adding a bit of something onto the bottom of it.

I dug out some old wool trousers I'd been keeping for recycling, cut up one of the legs and hey presto!

The trim you see there was a belt off one of the kids' old skirts or trousers which nicely hides the unseemly white line you get when you let down a hem!

I'm really pleased with how this skirt turned out.

And it goes perfectly with my new 99p Italian Leather shoes which I picked up in Barnardos at the weekend!  Bargain!

And just before I go, the gorgeous Laura Jane is hosting a Low Volume Charm Swap, and we need a few more folks to sign up to get the numbers up to 56 people.  I'm all signed up with my low volume fabric picked out.
Riley Blake, Daisy Cottage, Damask Grey
Low Volume refers to the 'quietness' of the print and colour, soft & muted as opposed to loud and bright.  All you need is 1 yard of fabric cut up into 5" charm squares.
Sign ups are available on the flickr group here, where you can also see the other yummy fabrics that will be in the swap.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pretty Things!

Here are a couple more presents I've made recently:

A linen pouch for my mum for her birthday:

A Christmas Mugrug set for a friend who LOVES Christmas!

Thank you for all your lovely comments encouraging me to take time out to notice lovely things around me.

Here are 2 pics which brought a smile to my face yesterday.

Our garden at this time of year looks pretty sad as everything seems to be dying back & mulching down.  But there is one wee splash of colour still hanging on among all the drab browns!

And my youngest made me laugh yesterday when she got changed after school into an outfit which almost exactly matched mine (even down to the hair clip)!

I hope you notice some lovely things today!

Monday, 12 November 2012

My Nemesis

I'm pretty sure that every quilter has a particular technique, shape or pattern that they just don't connect with.

For me it's circles.

I greatly admire the stunning quilts patchworked in circles made by others, and I love to see new and imaginative ways to use circles in quilting.

But when it comes to actually sewing them, circles become my nemesis!

So you can imagine my gut reaction when my Brit Bee roomy Sarah posted her inspiration mosaic for her month in Brit Bee!  YIKES!

Because I love my Brit Bee-ers so much (I think I would pretty much have a go at anything for them!) I smiled sweetly and said I'd have a go!

Yesterday was that day, and this is what I came up with, using the sumptuous reds and purples Sarah had sent me.

There is so much sheen off these fabrics that I've tried photographing them in lots of different locations (except outside, pouring with rain today) and this is the best I could get with my phone camera!

For the circle in this block I used Lucie Summers portholes technique, which I learned at Fat Quarterly Retreat in June.

And for this block, I made my own Drunkard's path templates using this tutorial, and let Ms. Improv. take over!

Despire my curves being a tad wobbly in places I really love these blocks and thoroughly enjoyed making them!  They were just the therapeutic distraction I needed this weekend from the stresses and strains going on at the moment.

Thank you Sarah for your creative genius and the faith you have in your fellow Brit Bee-ers not to make a complete horlicks of your blocks!

And this wise and sensitive friend also reminded me this weekend how important it is to take time to notice the beautiful things around us, in nature, in life, and not to let busyness make us short-sighted and miss the wonders that are all around.

So I'm going to try and take some pictures this week of things that I see around me, taking a few extra minutes to just look & ponder!

Feel free to join me!  You might be surprised what you start noticing!

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Ok, so you know what's coming!  The title says it all!

With 2 teenagers in the house it can only mean one thing!

Last minute birthday presents for friends!

My 17 year old was invited to a triple birthday party (3 friends celebrating together!)

And my 13 year old has 2 friends with up-coming birtrhdays.

All 5 pouches have been stuffed to the armpits in sweets and fimo treats to keep the hormones at bay!

I have to confess though, 2 pairs of jeans were harmed in the making of these pouches!

I'll leave you with a photo of the spectacular sky we had last night!  Awesome Autumn!