Friday, 31 May 2013

The Opposite of Yesterday

It is amazing what a good night sleep can do for you. As much as yesterday was a total washout, today was fab. The sun shone, I got things done, spent time with a good friend, sewed some, and got an entirely unexpected gift.

I slept in. In this house 8:30am is a huge sleep in. Though I did go to bed late due to having my date last night. Reginald D Hunter was hilarious, as was his opening act - though if you are adverse to 'strong language' then it might not be for you. I belly laughed for two hours. Laughing is an excellent way to spend your time.

I hopped out of bed this morning and hit the floor running. I made chocolate cupcakes, chilli for dinner, and a key lime pie (which I shall report on tomorrow once it has been sampled). Ange came over with her daughter. We put my two girls in charge of her little one and it worked out beautifully. A picnic was quickly knocked together and we went off to a great playground and let the girls do the playing bit while we took care of the gossiping side of things.

The cupcakes were topped with popping candy which we found no end of amusement in.

On our return to the house I got some secret sewing done while Ange cut hexie papers. And the post arrived. I was very surprised to receive an unexpected gift. Anneliese, who blogs over at Mail From The Cheeky Monkeys, had sent me a sewing pouch she made. She hadn't been very happy with it during the construction and I thought it looked fab. So she sent it to me. A huge thank you to Anneliese!

Seriously, fabulous fabric choices, lovely embroidery and hand quilting, useful pockets and such abound. Who wouldn't love this?!

So I am about to fill it with an embroidery hoop and thread, and other accoutrements, and take Emily to her riding lesson. She can ride and I can stitch in the sunshine.  Perfect end to a pretty perfect day.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Piss Poor Planning

In my carefully organised calendar that I keep in my mind I knew this week was going to be busy. But I clearly had today marked down for sewing. In big red letters.

The weekend was busy - in a good way - as planned. Tuesday was an out all day sort of day - in a good way again. Wednesday was the girls' friends here and then a sleepover for them too. All went perfectly to plan.

What I failed to take into account was not how tired the girls would be today - that was why it was to be a stay home and veg day today, with me sewing - I planned for this. What I stupidly did not plan for was the fact that I would be the one most exhausted by the sleepover. Lord love us, but I am tired!

This is all I managed to accomplish in my 'whole day' of sewing.

A whole whack of scrappy binding that I need for a particular project. That is it! Nothing else got accomplished other than attempting to nap and failing dismally, and playing on the computer.

No sewing will get done tonight either. Because I have a date, with himself (just in case you were wondering). We are off to see Reginald D Hunter. I am looking forward to this. I hope he is even funnier live than he is on television with all censorship removed.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Sample Swap

Last year at the FQ Retreat I signed up for the Sample Swap. I enjoyed it so much I have put my name down for round two this year. I need to make four of the same item to be swapped with my group at the Retreat. So today I got down to designing an embroidery for the hoops I plan on giving.

I decided on using the Underground symbol as inspiration as I wanted the hoop to reflect the London roots of the Retreat. I also decided I would go with embroidery floss instead of perle cottons for a change. I rounded up the necessary supplies and got to tracing out the pattern.

And then I started stitching.

One down. Several more to go. But at least I have made a start.


Monday, 27 May 2013


Each and every year, as a family, we go off to the bluebell woods. There are lots of bluebell woods in the UK. But this is our bluebell woods, because it is where we always go. It is beautiful, and peaceful, and seldom crowded.

With the odd weather patterns we have been having in this country when we go has been getting later and later in the season. I know this as I blogged about it on 25 April, 2011, and on 13 May, 2012.  (Oh, seeing the changes in my babies over the past two years is killing me!) What does not change is the joy it gives me to wander through the dappled sunlight each and every time.

The girls have not yet reached the age of eye rolling boredom when told where we are going in this particular instance. Thank goodness, as eye rolling boredom does my head in and I am sure I never, ever did that when I was their age. Ha!

In fact, it did seem like they were enjoying themselves a great deal.

They spent the whole time in the woods without any sibling discord. A small miracle. Even when log wrestling, or whatever you want to call this (if you can tell with all those shadows happening).

Me? I was just happy to be there with my family. I like traditions, things we look forward to doing together. They mark the years and fill those years with good memories.

It has been a blissful long weekend. Hope the sun was shining where you were too.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

My Fabric Mule Cometh

Oh happy days! Did I tell you that one of the lovely ladies who has been here this weekend is also my fabric mule? She has picked up some fabric orders I made and had shipped to her while she was in America, and brought them all to me this weekend. Happy, happy me!

So I am overflowing with fabric goodness here. To have all of it arrive on my doorstep in one fell swoop is amazing.

First up, from Jennifer at The Knotted Thread I got -

Some half yards of Simply Color ombres. I have some FQs of some of the prints and I have ideas buzzing round my brain of what to do with them. A bundle of the tone on tone chevrons - strictly for stash. Some flannel yardage of Terrain seed pods in orange for backing a quilt I will make with my three Terrain charm packs one day. The flannel is so tactile I just keep picking it up and hugging it.

From Super Buzzy, specially selected for me by Terri we have -

Fussy cut specials. You might notice that the yellow and red is the same print that I used for the giveaway day makes. I am showing you a close up of the double selvage so you can see how I used it as a fussy cut on the fabric basket I made.

From Amanda at Westwood Acres we have -

Two bundles. A FQ bundle of her Inside Voices IV - a bundle of the low volume fabrics that she puts together herself and that sell so quickly they are near impossible to get hold of. And a F8 bundle of the just released Full Moon Lagoon. Here's a closer look at both. The colours in Full Moon Lagoon make my heart flutter.

Finally, from Julie at Intrepid Thread, I picked up some different yardage that I fell in love with in a recent sale. All for my stash, except the Cuzvo for which some is backing and the other will join my other Cuzco until inspiration strikes.

That's all folks. The sun is shining, we have a ballet show to go watch. There is enough leftover food that dinner tonight shall be an easy affair for me. And I have yards and yards of fabric to roll around in. (I just might need more storage though.) Life is good!


Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Best of Friends

I am almost out of words. Today was brilliant. The best of friends here all day. What more could a person ask for? Well, just that those who couldn't make it were here after all. They were missed hugely.

Good food - yes, we had that.

Wonderful makes abounded.

Some quilty show and tell.

Laura Jane had a bounce.

It was, as I said, a day spent with the best of friends. Unfortunately we took the group photo after Ange left. (Sorry, Ange!)

I leave the last to Judith though. She was the only one who could perch her little bum on this seat.


Friday, 24 May 2013


Tonight Terri and Jude are coming over for dinner, and then tomorrow it's a quilters invasion again. Woohoo! It is going to be a good weekend. The best of friends, great food and lots of laughter.

So it's all about the food here today. And since I have three things in the making, but nothing yet complete, I will tantalise you with photos from the cook books.

On the menu tonight is laksa soup. Just about the best soup in the world. I can tell you more about it later if you like but it is a coconut curry broth with noodles, chicken, prawns, vegetables, fried tofu and whatever you like really. So, so good!

Desert will be chocolate pavlova with raspberries. Always a crown pleaser. It's in the oven right now.

And then I am making a batch of chocolate flapjacks at Laura Jane's request for tomorrow. Highly addictive, but you can tell yourself they are good for you due to the high porridge oats content. We won't discuss the high butter and sugar content. That is irrelevant.

Hope you all have as good a weekend as I am planning. Enjoy!


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Land of the Living

In the scheme of things in life toothache is a blip on the horizon, but it did manage to obliterate a few days and then some for me. Today is the first time I feel properly back in the land of the living since last Friday. And how happy I am to be here too!

I have a busy social weekend ahead so have tried to squeeze in some sewing before I have to pack it all away until Sunday or Monday. I flipped a mental coin and the HR quilt won the toss for more piecing together.

Despite a huge amount of encouragement from so many to pursue Alison's idea of putting flying geese between all the blocks I totally ignored her and went for the simple option. Because I could, and I am lazy I suppose.

I ordered some Kona Dusty Blue and decided that it worked well with these panels. I will have to order some more. I wanted to make sure it was what I wanted before I committed to several yards of it.

And as I piece I have already worked out how I wish to quilt this. Won't be for a while yet but I am sure I will stick to what I have in mind.

I got my classes for the Fat Quarterly Retreat this summer. If you are there you will be able to find me in Embroidery with John Adams, Improv with Lu Summers, Triangle City with Katy Jones and Needleturn Appliqué with Mandy Noble. I'll be the one talking too much and getting in trouble with the teachers most likely.

I leave you with a photo I took on my school run this morning. Life isn't at all bad when you have this countryside to drive through each day.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Numb, and Happy

I've been a good girl and behaved nicely at the dentist. To be honest, I was in such pain going in that anything would have been an improvement. Now I am numb faced and happy for it. But it does feel weird when I blink!

Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments yesterday saying they hoped the dental problem would be sorted today. I really appreciate it. As I haven't slept properly in about five days I am going to make this my round robin email thank you reply and move forward from here.

As a reward (I presume) for behaving so well at the dentist I came home to happy post. First package open was from Cindy at Fluffy Sheep. She had a discount code last week which I meant to blog about but apparently was too busy shopping to remember. Just looking at what I ordered makes me happy. The colours are so cheerful. I had noticed my solids were getting a little short on bright colours (or so I thought) and I always need more Auriful and DMC perle. Always.

The second package was from Rebecca - Making Rebecca Lynne - who organises the best fabric swaps. This time round it was low volume, but with a twist. Instead of charms she did 10" squares. We all bought two yards of fabric and in return got 36 different low volume fabrics back. And what a fabulous selection there was this round. Rebecca kept really tight rules on what we should buy and those rules produced the most amazing selection of fabrics.

Here are just three that make me grin.

In actual fact they all make me grin, but these ones stood out even more for me. Rebecca is a great quilter, and a lovely person, and - quite obviously from the above - an amazing organiser. Huge thank you to her for putting a lot of work into this swap.


Monday, 20 May 2013

A Quiet Day at the Ranch

I've got secret sewing to do...

... but I am struggling with nasty tooth ache and popping pain pills whenever I can. Not sure I should go anywhere near a sewing machine right now. 

The dentist assures me he can fix everything right tomorrow. So until then I shall sit quietly in the corner. (Yeah, like I ever do that!) My communication skills are sadly depleted the past few days though, so sorry if you have commented and I have not replied. I'll be back to my 'not able to shut her up mode' in no time flat. Promise - or is that a threat?


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Slowly but Surely...

... I am getting some sewing done on the HR quilt. I now have six panels completed.

I am now thinking how to put them together. I'm getting a little excited seeing these all laid out together.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Adventures in Improv

Despite the fact that I have a number of projects on the go at the moment I went off piste yesterday and decided to try something new. Improv. For the most part uncharted waters for me. Armed with a new inspirational book, and with an idea festering since seeing an embroidery that intrigued me a couple of weeks ago, I started pulling fabric.

My palette was a simple blue, grey, white and orange one. I made six 6.5" squares with a Kona white background. Then I pieced these into a larger background of Kona deep blue.

Then I started doing some hand quilting with perle cotton in the squares.

And I machine quilted the blue with an Aurifil charcoal grey thread.

For such a quick project I am really pleased with my first proper foray into improv quilting.

The quilt measures up at 22" x 27". I forgot to put in hanging corners when I was sewing on the binding so I shall have to add those later. But since I finished it so quickly I thought I would enter it into the Bloggers Quilt Festival in the wall hangings category.

If you stopped by from the quilt festival, thank you so much. Sorry about the whole description of the creating process but I really did start this yesterday so it is being revealed for the first time in this post.

I hope everyone is enjoying visiting so many different blogs to view quilts. I know I am!


The Bloggers Quilt Festival

Hello, and welcome to my blog if you have popped over from the Quilt Festival and this is a first time visit. The quilt I have entered is called Singing the Blues.

The colour concept for the quilt began with some layer cake squares I was given in a swap. The range of blues inspired me; the injections of bright colours worked for me perfectly. The hard bit was whittling down the colour pops to just three. 

I have long loved the plus quilt design but knew that I wished to do my own take on it. I wanted a fair amount of negative space so that the actual pluses stood out well against the background.

And I wanted to have no interruption to the flow of the design. No edge, not even the binding. I went about this by incorporating the pluses that touched the edge right into the binding. 

The final part of the process, the quilting, was another new to me process. I had never done such tight quilting on a quit before. It was a learning process, to say the least. But I gained invaluable help from my wonderful online friends and love the texture that the quilting adds to the overall finish.

Singing the Blues finishes at 42" x 50". I used a range of quilters cottons, backing it with Kona white. It is quilted with Aurifil 50 white on the front and an Aurifil orange on the back. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and see my entrance into the quilt festival. I love visiting the blogs of as many of the entrants as possible. There is always so much talent and inspiration.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Three Things

First thing, a housekeeping tip (rare and unusual from me). If you happen to hoover up a wasp into your bagless vacuum, remember to empty the cannister outside. The wasp will not be dead. It will be angry though. No humans were harmed in this mishap but it was a right b**tard to get out the house again.

Secondly, Emily has discovered my new app A Beautiful Mess. She was very sure you would want to see what she has been up to with it.

And last, but certainly not least, I was playing today.

The question is, will I get it finished for tomorrow? Stay tuned.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Slowly making progress in hand quilting Stitch Tease Stars.

I am used random colours of perle cotton, and stitching in straight lines done the length of the quilt. Straight should be taken loosely here. I am not marking the lines on with anything. I am just starting at one edge and working my way to the far end. I use seams and such to keep me sort of on track.

I love the way the different coloured perle cottons stand out or fade away when they appear on different fabrics. I also love the texture all this stitching is giving the quilt.

It's approximately 80" from one end of the quilt to the other. It is going to take me a while to finish this.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Thanking The Wrong Person

The post fell through the door today with a satisfying thunk. I like that sound. Only I wasn't expecting anything that could make such a good sound. I put aside my sewing and soon found a package from Amazon lying by our front door. It was addressed to me.

Inside was this book which I told you last week I coveted when at Ange's house.

I just might have subtly put a note on himself's desk with book name and author written upon it and told him I would really like it. I think he may have grunted in reply at the time. So imagine my surprise and delight to have it arrive. I immediately took the above photo and sent him a message with it attached and a very nice thank you.

About a minute later the phone rang and he asked what I was on about. 'Well, the book,' I replied. 'I really appreciate you buying it for me.' 'I didn't,' said himself. Oh! Oh? A little delving further into the box found the piece of paper that informed me that someone much nicer than him mentioned above had sent it as a gift. A heart felt thank you was sent to the correct person and I can't wait to see her in less than two weeks time.

Here's a little peek inside the book. I love the way these quilts look. The sheer honeycomb makes my heart jump I think it is so beautiful.

Meanwhile, I did a bit of sewing with the HR today. I have the first two panels for the quilt made. I am throwing the pieces together randomly, but for once I put some thought in before I cut it all. Every last piece is made to finish at 2" square or a multiple of that. This is a jigsaw where the pieces actually fit, which is an unusual piece of forward planning by me. I have been known to go with the cut first, figure it out later approach too often.

Finally, many of us have switched to Bloglovin' for our blog reading device of choice with the demise of Reader. For the most part I am happy with it. Other than the irritating inability to comment on some people's blogs unless you close the Bloglovin' bar at the top of the page. That annoys me. It seems to me that this happens only with people who have their comments page set a certain way. I think it is when you have your comments setting on 'full page' this hiccup occurs. Otherwise commenting is fine.

The point of all this? Well, if you have had people complain about being able to comment on your blog through Bloglovin' then you might want to look at changing your comments settings. A simple and easy fix.