Saturday 31 March 2012

First Quarter FAL

I decided not to write a post yesterday as I thought that you really didn't need to hear about me having to go to Northampton, getting lost, going to the DVLA and then having a rant about car tax. I wasn't very amused by it all so I was quite certain you would be even less so.

Therefore we are pretending that never happened and moving forward swiftly to Rhonda's Finish-A-Long first quarter linky party. I made my list deliberately short when I signed up to this deal. I thought I had a better chance at success, more fool me! But it isn't all failure because I do have a finish. Time to revisit what I thought I would be able to accomplish.

1. Finish Emily's quilt. Fail!

It is almost finished, but almost in a finish-a-long is like close not counting except in horseshoes and hand grenades.

2. Piece my Brit Bee blocks and turn them into a quilt. Fail!

Not a thing done here other than get them out and admire them periodically.

3. Do something, anything, with my Farmer's Wife blocks. Despite the wonderful FW party Sunni has been having this is a - Fail!

Not sure but was sort of hoping that if I left these in a dark corner some helpful elves might have come and turned them into a quilt one night out of the kindness of their hearts.

4. Piece and complete my Terrain HST quilt. Success! Phew!!

This was my one and only success but I count it as a good one because I love this little quilt.

5. Get going on either my Favourite Fabrics quilt, my HR Fan Club quilt or my For the Love of Birds quilt. Fail(ish)!

Well, I never indicated that I would finish anything here really, but just put it in with a wish and a prayer. But I have accumulated enough Heather Ross fabric to proceed with plans for a quilt when time allows. I have started the Birdie quilt, and lots of my Favourite Fabrics went into my Stained Colourful quilt so I feel like despite not having a finish I have made lots of progress. And I am well set up for the next quarter with things started.

In that original first quarter post I talked about a swap I was going to be involved in and Mouthy Stitches was formally announced, launched and brought to a successful conclusion but in the spirit of the FAL I do not think that really counts as a completion. Nor does the fact that I told you I was in the FTLOS swap, which I also successfully completed. But I am mentioning them here just to say - despite the epic fails above - I have been busy and done a lot. Honest!


Thursday 29 March 2012

Playing By The Rules

Okay, if yesterday was faking it then today had to be me proving (to myself) that if I wanted to I really could do - sort of, maybe - paper piecing if I put my mind to it. It has been another sunny hot day so I went with the obvious choice. Ice cream.

If I was doing this completely wrong,
just let me pretend that I got it right - thanks.

Proof that I still had the paper in position well into sewing the block.

And the resulting raspberry ripple ice cream.
The other thing on the agenda today involved one fat quarter and one person who left a comment on my post two days ago. I skipped all the technical crap and did it my way this time.

Names on paper.


One grubby hat.

Names in hat.

Willing child.

Hand in hat.


Miss Beau Jangles said...
I get confused about the different types of piecing! I like the sort in the new york beauty QAL.
I would make a jacket for my cafetiere, and mini jackets (and hats?!) for my tea caddies!

I'll be emailing you for your address and then the FQ will be making its way to you soon after. Congratulations. Thanks for offering up your idea.

Since a large part of my day was spent sorting through piles of paper and assorted crap I am now going to go pour myself a large glass of wine and enjoy some pasta with the girls. 


Wednesday 28 March 2012

Faking It

Today was the day. I was going to face up to another nemesis and take on paper piecing for Miss March in the Brit Bee. Well, I sort of did it. Maybe. First I went online and found a pattern.

Kind of hard to tell, but it is for a birthday cake. And I started out well (but forgot to take photos). I made the candle. Put the background fabric on said candle. Then started on the cake. But decided that it need to be a bit bigger, with a layer of strawberries and cream in the middle. And it needed to be on a plate. So I made it up as I went along after that. Which doesn't exactly qualify as paper piecing really, more like fake paper piecing. I don't think I did too badly on the improv side of things though. Even if my plate is a little wonky.

I have another block in mind to make for Miss March. Wonder if I will manage to stick to the plan this time. Somehow I have my doubts.

Other accomplishments today are doing the hand quilting for my mum's cushion cover.

And getting two thirds the way round sewing down the binding on 'that other project'.

For other news, the girls came out of school today to announce how they did in the Easter Egg decorating contest. Last year they were in different classrooms and each won. (Blogged here.) This year they were up against each other. Helen won first place with her gondolier.

But happily Emily got third place for her 'Homer Simpson' donut eating egg. Yippee! Two happy girls = one happy mother.

The school holidays start on Friday. I still have a long list of things to accomplish. Best get on with it then.


Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Coffee Pot Question

Yesterday I showed you my three FQs of Melody Miller coffee pots. I love them, but according to Annie at The Village Haberdashery they are the least popular according to sales figures. This surprised me so I ask you this - If you had a FQ of the coffee pots what would you make with it? How about if you had this FQ?

I know what I am doing with one of my FQs. But I'm not telling. I am willing to pop this one in the post to one of you if you have a pressing need to make something spectacular. So tell me, what would you do? (Shhhh! This is a quiet little share the bounty thing, not a g*veaway so don't go telling anyone. It is just between us, okay. I'll get the girls to help me pick one of the ideas, if there is more than one suggested, in a couple of days and, if I don't already have your address, I'll be asking for it.)

Meanwhile, between realising that you need to have more food in the house when adding a full grown male into the equation for week day catering, and all the usual 'stuff', I've been doing a little bit more sewing. Now, there's a surprise!

I cut and attached the binding to yesterday's project. Now it just needs hand sewing down on the back.

Then I started making a birthday present for my mum. I made her and my stepdad a cushion with Etchings scraps at Christmas and though I was not sure if it was good enough, they loved it. And it worked really well with their sitting room decor. So she asked for another cushion. Similar to the one I made. The problem being that the Etchings stash was near obliterated over the Christmas sew-a-thon. I dug about and found a little of the red on red text print - which I have tried to buy more of from my LQS but is no longer in stock. I dug around some more and decided that this would work with my Sunkissed yardage. I hope that this cushion top looks okay next to the first one.

I am all basted and ready to quilt, but a little research showed me that this is not a simple case of stippling my way from one side to the other. No, to match the other cushion I need to get out the needle and thread.

That's my evening taken care of then. One binding to sew and lots of lovely hand quilting to do. We leave for my mum's on Sunday so plenty of time to get this completed before our departure.

Next on the agenda is my Brit Bee block for March. I was trying to catch up on my blog reading earlier and saw this block on Laura Jane's blog. It was the reminder I needed that the bee block was due and that other people in our bee are way more adept at paper piecing than I am. As in they have done paper piecing and I haven't. I have a very steep learning curve coming up. Thank goodness I have been reading Katy's posts for her FPPFTT series avidly and hopefully will have picked up some handy dandy information to keep me from buggering it up completely.


Monday 26 March 2012

Life Would Be Easier...

... if I only had a brain. Honestly, the stuff I could have accomplished today if I had switched my brain on when I woke up.

It started with the school run. Upon arrival I watched all the other children coming in with a hard boiled egg each. Obviously I had forgotten. I also forgot the cello and violin necessary for their music lesson. Oh, and the cheque for the music teacher so that Helen can do her violin exam. (Why are those exams so expensive?!) Last but not least, Emily's PE kit was still at home having been used yesterday. I blame her for forgetting that. It can't all be my fault!

Needless to say a big chunk of my morning was spent boiling eggs, gathering said items, returning to the school with it all and breathing a freaking big sigh of relief when it was done.

Next I got out my fabric. Not all of it but a good chunk of it. The glory of having those storage units from Ikea.

Gratuitous shot to show Hadley the true joys of sorting by colour!
After way too much pondering (way, way too much) I finally settled on the fabrics for my project, cut them, and then decided I didn't like them for today's requirement after all.

I tried again. Pondered, auditioned, sorted and finally decided.

Somewhat happier, I got sewing before I changed my mind again. And that is what I did with the remainder of my free time. I now have this -

But it is a project to be unveiled in the future. Suffice to say it was an item on my 'to do' list that needed to be done, and I am well on the way to completing it.

I received a parcel today from the fabulous Annie at The Village Haberdashery. Completely the opposite service than I received last week from a different shop who took almost a week to get my purchase in the post. Annie had my wadding and a couple of other things that accidentally fell in my basket to me amazingly quickly. Great service!

This wadding will be cut for my Stained Colourful quilt
as soon as I find the time to do the backing.
Most definitely my colours - bright.
Sorry, but colours like this make me smile, I couldn't resist.
And a little Melody Miller of my own.
I'm thinking zippy pouches.
I'm thinking all sorts of ideas, actually.

So that was my day, other than the usual. The usual needs no mentioning because it just is.


PS: Emily's school team won the mini basketball tournament yesterday. She came home with some battle wounds but a huge smile because they each got a miniature trophy. You can't beat a trophy from stopping the bruises from hurting!

Sunday 25 March 2012

Whirling Dervish

I've been non-stop so far today, spinning round like a Whirling Dervish without achieving the accompanying religious ecstasy unfortunately. But thought I would take a few minutes to write a short post seeing as how I missed yesterday. You are used to me writing most days, and put up with it, but some of you actually check up on me (which I do appreciate) if I disappear for longer without prior warning.

Today has been one of those cooking and cleaning mornings where suddenly the state of the house became too much for me to put up with any more. Yes, even I can get to that point. It is looking remarkably nicer now. At least I don't cringe when I enter some of the rooms. Now my MIL is on her way and I have a big pan of seafood chowder ready for us all for after her arrival. Emily made the bread, and much appreciated that is too.

Yesterday I have no excuses for my silence other than life was too nice to come inside and sit at the computer. Embroidery in the sunshine was much nicer, laughing at the girls and their nonsense, watching himself cut the grass to the sounds of lawn mowers all over the neighbourhood jumping into action with this unseasonably warm - and welcome - weather. We finished the day with a barbecue, believe it or not. Barbecuing in March! I love it!

So I have little to no sewing to report, and I already gave you the recipe for the seafood chowder here. I will leave you with a glimpse of the name tag I have been working on, without giving away any details that would make my partner's name obvious - like the big letters her name is embroidered in!

Hope that you are basking in sunshine and enjoying your Sunday. We are off to watch Emily in a basketball tournament after our late lunch. Should be interesting. She is not known for her height.


Friday 23 March 2012


You have to be happy on a day like today. What absolutely glorious weather! The sunshine is just blissful as is the new growth in the garden. I love watching my little world come to life again - even if I am the world's worst gardener and am totally crap at it. My herbs are re-emerging after a winter in hiding.

The oregano has far more growth than expected.
Time to get the old dead stuff out of there, I suppose.

The chives are thriving too.
As is that tiny weed in the bottom left of the photo.

My baby rosemary looks less than pleased with the winter rigours it has undergone. The thyme - well - the thyme just looks dead. I will give it the benefit of the doubt for another week or two but I have a feeling it just needs removing and replacing. Some other things never die though!

The nettles are looking healthier than ever under the trampoline!

Days like today demand that laundry be done and placed outside. And other tasks to be sped through so that you can take some hand sewing outside and bask in the pure joy of it all.

I grabbed my tin full of perle cottons, a disappearing pen, my scissors and out I went.

Is anyone surprised that I keep my perle cottons in a tin that used to contain chocolates?

I am working on a little project for the sewing retreat. A small swap where we make name tags for each other. Obviously I cannot show you the finished product until after my partner receives it but I can show you the basic form I was working on today with my colourful threads.

I am hoping I have chosen colours my partner likes and it will look a lot different (I hope) by the time I am finished with it.

What other reasons do I have to be happy today? Well, some of you may be aware that I have been on my own during the week for the past two years while himself worked away. But as of today we are a full time family seven days a week. No more waving good bye on a Sunday evening. Such a good feeling but, I must state, the fight for control of the telly remote has commenced!


Thursday 22 March 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

Two girls in school. One mother sewing. Oh joy of joys! Last night I delved into the girls sewing box and looked for anything that I could use for piecing. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they had acquired this out of my sewing supplies!

I didn't mean to sound like a thread snob yesterday, but the girls have some thread that came in one of those sewing kits you can buy. I tried to use some once in a cheap and desperate attempt as it was the colour I desired and I didn't feel like going out to buy some. It broke, and tangled, and generally was a complete nightmare. But this Gutermann polyester - well, if I had only known they had it days ago I probably would have been much nicer to them because I would have had a distraction while housebound.

Needless to say I have been sewing today. We will skip through the unpleasant bits like the huge grocery shop, or the washing of bins (yuck!). No, all that is immaterial because I finished my Stained Pink Colourful quilt top today and I love it!!

I went for a wider sashing around the perimeter just because I wanted to. Now I will have to piece a backing but I just don't care. Have I mentioned that I love this quilt top?

Can you tell what I used to pin this to while taking the photos? Here's a wider shot.

It worked remarkably well and I must remember it for future reference. The wind was less cooperative than the swing set.

I am so glad I joined Sarah's QAL because when I envisioned this quilt in all different fabrics I never thought that it would be such a 'me' quilt. But it is and this one is for me, no one else but me.

So many of my favourite fabrics are in this quilt. Not all of them because I would not use ones with a white background for this pattern. But I squeezed in as many that made me smile as I could.

Well, I'll have to think about the pieced backing now. And I can because I have plenty of this now.

I suppose I had best go and get the girls from school as they were so kind as to oblige me and stay for the whole day. Bless them, I do like them again. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.


Wednesday 21 March 2012

Various Thoughts

Things I am thinking today -

- My children have given up the will to live. I know this because they are doing everything in their power to make me want to kill them. I sent one back to school today just so I wouldn't have to spend the day listening to the two of them squabbling.

- Being house bound and refraining from eating chocolate is not good! But I thought it would be too mean scoffing it in front of them when the girls were barely eating.

- My thread is still not here. I am going to go and dig around in the girls' sewing box and pull out any old, cheap, very cheap polyester thread and use it, and just pray that my machine doesn't chew it up and spit it out in a snobbish act of disgust.

- Playing Angry Birds is addictive! Avoided it until yesterday and now can't stop. Someone save me please!

- So when life is just getting too much, a good friend sent through a photo of me and my bestie many years ago as we backpacked through Europe one long and wonderful summer. I remember life then. It seemed so much less complicated. And I never felt guilty about eating chocolate!

Check out those sunglasses of mine!
I was doing a good imitation of a housefly.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

I've Been Tagged

There's a bloggy game of tag going on right now and I am IT. (Well, one of many 'ITS' out there but you may be next.) Anyway, Katy got me, and challenged me with 11 questions to answer and then to make up 11 questions to ask 11 other people. 

First, the questions asked of me -

1. If you had a whole day entirely to yourself when you could do anything you want, go anywhere you want, and money was no object, what would you do?

It's all about the food and shopping here really. I would wake up after the best sleep ever in a fabulous hotel which had excellent room service. Said room service would bring me a breakfast of Eggs Benedict which I would enjoy on my wee balcony watching the traffic in the Grand Canal (yup, I decided I am in Venice). I would spend the morning wandering aimlessly (because I really do love wandering aimlessly in Venice), and when I saw something I liked in the shops I would buy it. Lunch would involve fresh seafood and pasta. The afternoon would be spent in the best quilting shops of Venice (hey, this is a fantasy world - not reality!) buying all I wanted and having them send it to the hotel for me because I'm not carrying it. Dinner by candlelight and drinks afterwards in the square listening to classical music and watching the world go by. 

Venice's Grand Canal
Photo courtesy of
2. Where is your favourite holiday spot?

Vietnam. (But as I remember it 15 years ago, as I hear it has changed a lot since.) Or Rhodes. I love Rhodes. Not the clubbing drunken youth part! The stunning old town most of all.

Photo of Rhodes Town borrowed from Thomson Holidays
3. What is your favourite time of the year?

Autumn. Crisp leaves, clean fresh air, incredible colour, bright blue skies.

4. What's the favourite part of your garden, if you have one, and if not, what would you like to have?

Fantasy time again - I am not a gardener - big deck with good outdoor seating, huge barbecue, lots of big pots full of colourful flowers that I didn't grow and a green lawn stretching down the the fantasy lake at the bottom of the garden.
5. What is your favourite book ever?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Captain Corelli's Mandolin. A Thousand Splendid Suns. (It's always changing and evolving.)
6. What is your favourite tactile fabric?

That super soft Minky stuff makes me want to loll around in a big pile of it. 
7. I've come round for dinner - I don't like fish, lamb or avocados, and am deathly allergic to bananas and kiwi fruit, so what are you making me? (and no Susan and Hadley, you are not meant to be trying to kill me ;o) )

No killing you!?! You are narrowing down the options here! Okay, I would make you Laksa Soup, one of my all time favourite foods. It is a spicy coconut curry broth noodle soup. But the joy is you can decide on your own toppings. So while I put some plump juicy prawns in mine you can stick to the strips of chicken breast. Then there are wedges of hard boiled egg (yes, a traditional ingredient), thin cucumber strips, deep fried tofu cubes, bean sprouts, etc. For desert we would have Chocolate Pavlova with soft mounds of whipped cream and heaps of raspberries.

8. I've won the lottery and I'm buying all my friends one special gift, what would you like?

For us all to go to Marrakech and stay at Annabella's hotel and have fun for an extended weekend. 

One of the many amazing photographs from Annabella at
Life's Rich Pattern
9. I'm running the ideal job centre, where we can find you any job you'd like, what would it be?

Writer -  preferably a successful one.
10. You get a class that is a captive audience for whatever you'd like to teach them, what would it be?

Children (who had to listen not talk). And I would teach them to eat nicely. I hate crap table manners, and they are in abundance these days.
11. You have a day to spend with anyone you like in the world, who would it be?

If himself and my girls are not part of this (and I do get to see them every day), then it would have to be my best friend. Though I do find it hard to narrow down because I love spending time with my mum too, and there are friends I haven't seen in so long that I would love to see, oh, and my brother and his family in Canada. Can't I have a party with everyone there?

Now I have to think of eleven questions to ask -

1. What is your favourite cartoon from childhood?

2. What is your favourite restaurant in the world and where is it?

3. If you could buy any fabric bundle you wanted right now (someone else was paying) what would it be?

4. What is your favourite quilt made by someone else? (Please include a link or photo if that is possible.)

5. I need a day on the beach. Where would you recommend?

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?

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

8. Do you have a favourite smell?

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 your dread the most?

11. You are making me a desert - what is it, and will you give me the recipe?

Right, those are my questions, and these are my victims -

Kat @ Diary of a FlutterKat
Cindy @ Fluffy Sheep
Sarah @ FairyFace Designs
Nicky @ Mrs Sew and Sow
Helen @ Archie the Wonder Dog
Shay @ Quilting in My Pyjamas
Lucy @ Charm About You
Judith @ Just Jude
Leanne @ She Can Quilt
Dianne @ Quiltova
Fiona @ Poppy Makes

Thank you, Katy, for tagging me today because I still have two sick kids and no thread so I had bugger all to write about myself!