Monday, 23 May 2016

Small Is Good

Lots going on here and I do have the best intentions of telling you about it. I'm just kind of buried under work right now. And as I have a lot of stuff to get done before I disappear 'up north' for a week next week, and then for much longer in the summertime I have been prioritising. Blogging took the brunt again.

I have made my smallest quilt ever though. Mostly because I have been head down and working so much that yesterday I broke and just made something because I could.

I used HSTs that were offcuts from a quilt I made for Love Patchwork & Quilting a while ago. They finished at 1" in this little mini. Then some FMQ matchstick quilting to make all those little triangles of colour pop and my playtime was over. But it makes me smile and it was fun to make. It works with that almost instant satisfaction thing that I do so like.

So today I write patterns, and make dinner, and take Helen to the paediatrician (where she was fully discharged to continue healthily on in the world, thank goodness), and finished a quilt that has almost 1,000 pieces in it. Yeah, that would be the one that has been keeping me busy. Just have to write a pattern for it this week. Fun!

Just to note, I like the making bit, not the pattern writing bit.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

May Was A...

... Good month for me.

I got to appear in not one but two magazines for the first time ever.

If you look closely you will see that a little insert photo of what I made in the issue is on the cover too. Never in my life would I have thought these things would happen to me. I am so not too cool for school. I'm more of the squealing, happy nerd sort.

And there you have it, my Lecien Rainbow Quilt made with all those cuts of Ls Modern Basics, and my Circles cushion made for the PCSwap I participated in.

I'll tell you a little secret too. The quilt has gone on a little visit to Lecien. They liked it and asked to borrow it. (Another stupidly geeky girlie squeal from me then.)


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Off Again

I am not the only one in the family with a bucket list. My mum has one too. That was one of the reasons my brothers and I took her to Venice last year for her birthday. There is lots she still wants to see and do. Far be it for me to not help, or just accompany her. Silly not to.

So last weekend (sorry for the delayed report but someone messed with the wifi passwords while I was gone and my laptop wasn't sorted until the end of the week) I met up with my mum in London and we had a lovely time.

We checked into our hotel early Friday afternoon and went off for a stroll soon after. We were staying by Kings Cross Station as that is where mum arrives into from 'up north' so very convenient for her. Across from Kings Cross is St Pancras Station from whence the Eurostar departs, therefore full of lovely shops. We may have had a browse but I showed remarkable restraint in my spending. We also found out that the British Library was around the corner so wandered over there too.

There was a wonderful stature outside and whilst you cannot wander willy nilly inside, you can see the main atrium and the wonderful glassed in books there.

We had dinner in St Pancras Station that evening, and there is a huge statue of lovers kissing at the far end of the platform but I was way more interested in the frieze around its base depicting the history of the station. The detail was incredible and I wish I could have studied it for longer.

If you look at the bottom left photo you will see it depicts soldiers departing for war and their loved ones waving good bye. But if you can look behind those relatives waving farewell you will see a line of injured soldiers returning from the front. There was more emotion in each of these detailed works of art within the frieze than you see in most places.

Saturday dawned mild, with that wonderfulness that is and English spring day - on a good day. Versus the snow and sleet we got the week before. We decided to head down to St Paul's Cathedral, originally thinking to take the Underground until we saw the queue for tickets. Abysmal. I had an Oyster card but sadly Mum did not. But you've got to give it to my mum, she may be 81 but she acts far from it. She decided we should walk instead, and walk we did. It was a lovely peaceful walk through a very quiet area of London.

St Paul's was gorgeous. It has been about 20 years since I had last been in. I didn't climb to the top this time because even Mum admits she isn't up to that any more. No photos were allowed inside but it is such a nice contrast to the other cathedrals in the country that were built several centuries earlier. Then we had lunch there and enjoyed watching all the guests arrive for a (very posh) wedding that was taking place in a chapel in the vaults. Some seriously nice outfits paraded by. My girls would have loved it!

* Fun fact about the cathedral - if you buy a ticket to enter that ticket is good for a year, so I can go back and take the girls without paying for me again, and walk up to the top of the dome then.

The reason we went to London occurred that evening. My mum has always wanted to go to The Royal Albert Hall. We had tickets to A Gala For St George which was all set to be a very English affair. The Canadian in me thought it was fantastically entertaining and unique.

We also had our dinner at the hall. Unfortunately we didn't have time to fit in dessert before the show would start. That was when our waitress told us something we did not know. Our table was ours for the evening. So we could order our dessert, coffee, liqueur (me not mum) and it would be waiting for us at intermission. Score!

I tried to upload a video clip of a bit of the concert, flags waving, voices lifted in unison, singing Rule Britannia. Emily laughed her head off when I showed her. And then she played it over and over again, laughing harder each time. At least I entertained a thirteen year old.

Sunday I got mum on her train bound for the northern regions and went off for a wander. There was something that I wanted to pick up from a shop near Piccadilly Circus but found that it wasn't open when I arrived due to Sunday trading laws. So I went for a wander. The wonderful thing about the centre of London is how accessible everything is.

Over through a very peaceful Leicester Square. Then down towards Trafalgar but stopping off for a 45 minute wander about the National Portrait Gallery. (I shall never stop being amazed that these museums are free entry). Into Trafalgar Square, full of people enjoying the sunshine, time to watch some buskers before wandering back to find my shop open.

I am very lucky to be able to spend time like this with my mum. We are already making plans to tick more items off her list. Meanwhile she will be going gliding without me. That was an 81 birthday gift from her husband. You have got to love that!


Thursday, 28 April 2016

February, March, April

So I fell behind in my bee block making. And with commissions pending I had to pull my finger out and put some time aside. All these are for the wonderful Stitch Tease Bee

First up was February for Dianne, who asked for Mid-century Modern blocks. I struggled with this but using her Pinterest board for inspiration I came up with these two.

For March Cindy gave us a super easy block (which I appreciated considering the month I've had) and it was just a matter of randomly pulling colours and cutting 2" squares. Throw in some low volume and Bob's your uncle.

It's my photography skills that are wonky,
not the blocks.
Finally, I made the April blocks for Agnieszka in the month they were actually due in. Small miracle there. Se asked for botanical blocks that resembled how a child would press flowers, taped down in a notebook, little hand printed labels.

I tried some thread painting for one of them. I have to say this was not as difficult as I thought it would be but I do believe a have a long way to go before I was proficient enough to be proud.

The second block was a no brainer.

It's my favourite of all the blocks I made in the last couple of days.

I hope all the lovely bee ladies are happy with what I made for them, albeit it late for two out of three. Now I am ready and can say, bring on the next round.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Me Thin?

Yeah right. And here is one of the reasons why I'm not.

Emily made cupcakes on the weekend. Her piping skills far exceed mine. Seriously impressed with her chocolate roses.

If a bunch of luscious chocolate cupcakes wasn't enough to tempt me, then this appeared in our kitchen last night. This time Helen was the culprit.

The perspective doesn't truly give you a true impression of how big this ombre cake is. It's about six inches high for one. And there are four layers under that icing, with lemon curd and raspberry jam too. Once again, the piping skills put mine to shame.

So I can't lose weight because my girls are damn good bakers...

... and I have no willpower at all. That may factor into the equation.