Friday 30 November 2012

Seeing Stars

I babysat for a friend last night. It is a fact that other people's kids let you get on with things more than your own will. It also a fact that other people's kids will go so sleep more easily than mine ever do. Thus allowing for more time to get things done.

I got lots more stars made, which are now starched and ready for stringing on the divine twine.

Believe it or not, every last snowflake and star I have crocheted last year and this year came from the same ball of yarn. Last night I finished it. I almost felt sad.

I also got three felt ornaments made in the peace of someone else's house.

I am most definitely in full on Christmas present making mode now. But there is a back log of bee blocks that I need to focus on before I get buried under the growing pile, and the guilt.


Thursday 29 November 2012


Secret Santa stuff happening here. I have more than one to prepare for. And I am happy to say I am almost ready for all of them.


Wednesday 28 November 2012


I needed a quiet day today. So I took it. I gathered together some navy linen (all layered up and spray basted), needles, a hera marker, a ruler and an IKEA glass.

Inspired by similar stitching I have seen on the Internet I sewed, quietly, happily. It's a good start on one of my Christmas projects I need to crack on with.

As per normal the colour in the photos is crap. But otherwise I am pleased with my accomplishments this morning. You?


Tuesday 27 November 2012

Feast or Famine

I can go a long time without buying fabric. And I am fine with that. Unfortunately one day the dam breaks and it seems that every time I turn around I just might have bought a bit more. This seems to be one of those times.

I said I went to The Bramble Patch yesterday with Katy. I also said I didn't buy a lot, and honestly I didn't. They did have something new in stock that I haven't seen there before though. Stof linens. In the most marvellous range of colours. I could have bought more. I might go back and buy more. The ones I just bought are destined to be used in Christmas presents so I don't feel to guilty about this purchase. Check out the marvellous colours.

The only other thing I bought was from the sale basket. I found a 1.5m cut of It's a Hoot and a 1.8m cut of Reunion text fabric. Katy and I went splits on these and cut the two lengths in half when we got back home.

See, I really didn't buy a lot. And on the plus side of all this was that Katy bought a lot more. Living in Scotland means she does not have a Bramble Patch loyalty card. I do. So all her purchases went on my loyalty card and this was enough to push me over the £200 mark which earns you a £20 voucher. Therefore if I go back to get more linens they are technically already paid for. Woohoo! Thank you, Katy!

That isn't all I have to show off though, as Terri is flying back and forth across the Atlantic to LA these days, in preparation to an eventual move there next summer. She very generously picked me up a half yard of coveted fabric from Super Buzzy while she was there last. It is going to take a lot of courage for me to cut this fabric. The urge is to hoard it, love it, occasionally caress it, but cut it?! Not sure I can do that. Terri also got a five pack of Olfa blades for me. I am not going to tell you the last time I changed my blade. Mostly because I told Katy and then I had to revive her with smelling salts the shock was so great.

Still not done on the fabric front though. Last summer I gave Terri some of my scraps in some lines she coveted. She brought me some of hers this time. Just check out the amazing fussy cuts waiting for me in this haul. And the lovely bits of HR. That toast one is to die for. And Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. I've always wanted one of those girls in a kerchief too. I think the new year is going to have to bring some serious freezer paper piecing into my life so I can actually use some of these fabrics and make the most of them. Thank you, Terri.

More scraps arrived on Sunday with Trudi. She has been sorting all her fabric. She has a lot. But then she does quilt a lot so it should work out in the scheme of things. Trudi has very generously shared out some of her scraps to a number of people and I was one of the lucky recipients. It is sort of like name that fabric in this pile. DS, Summesville, TaDot, Terrain, etc. Thank you, Trudi.

You would think that was enough, but Di brought me a gift on Sunday too. It is a beautiful DS journal. I think you would have to see it to truly appreciate how lovely it is, but photos are going to have to suffice. All through it are touches of colour in the various Flea Market Fancy prints. It is gorgeous. Thank you, Di.

You think I would be done now, but I'm not. I resisted the Black Friday sales. I filled basket after basket online but then closed the window before I clicked on the 'checkout' button. It was killing me but when you added on the postage costs to the fabric costs I couldn't do it. I did find a compromise. A much smaller purchase than any of those ones I wanted from overseas, and from M is for Make so I didn't have to pay a small fortune for posting. Left to right there is Field Study, 2 x Soul Blossoms, Loulouthi and Flea Market Fancy.

Finally - yes, the last one - Sarah had a wee destash and jumped in there first and got three (yes, three!) charm packs of Terrain. Ever since the made the Terrain HST quilt I have been in love with the line. Of course it completely disappeared from the shops as other people loved it to, and bought it. Well, Sarah hoarded it and decided to hoard it no longer. My turn! Thank you, Sarah!

Sorry, I nicked the photo from Sarah's blog from a larger mosaic and then made it larger.
The lack of focus is entirely because I don't have the fabric to take a photo of yet,
but I wanted to fully disclose how out of control I have been in the fabric buying stakes.
There is nothing else to say. I am going to go sit in the corner and hang my head in shame caress my lovely fabric and cackle gleefully to myself.


Monday 26 November 2012

Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap

Some of you will know that I participated in the Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap this year, though I was not the mama. Life told me that I had too much on right now to take on that duty as well. But it would  have been wrong to have not taken part.

It has been a small group but excellent fun. And I have received my tablerunner wall hanging. I stated a preference for a wall hanging as I only have one table and I already received my most excellent Christmas runner from Sarah last year.

Today my swap parcel arrived from my secret partner. Diane made for me, and she can be found here. She is not only fab at swaps (we have been in a few together), a talented quilter, but also ever so good at the small details. Take a look at this brilliant wall hanging she made me and you will see for yourself.

So a huge thank you to Diane. So lovely to get a swap item from someone you see in the swaps regularly and you know is so good. I love the way the log cabins in the quilt make a red star. It is all in the details here. The more you look at it the more you see.

Meanwhile I am recovering from the weekend. Katy has just left for the long drive back to Glasgow. We may have squeezed in a trip to the Bramble Patch this morning. I might have bought a little bit. Really, just a little bit. I'll try and remember to show you tomorrow.


Sunday 25 November 2012

Friends, Food , Fabric

Fabulous day. It was the second get together of Brit Bee friends, and others. So much food. Quilts and quilt tops shown. Laughter, more laughter, and just such a lovely, lovely time.

Who was here, you ask? Well, we had Katy (The Littlest Thistle). Laura Jane (Needles, Pins and Baking Tins), Ceri (Inspired by Felix), Jennie (Just a Little Stitch), Trudi (Quilting Prolifically), Di (Willowbeck Designs), Terri (Mish Mash Mama) and me. Don't for get me!

It was a great day, especially as everyone made it here despite roads blocked by flood waters and most having to detour some, if not all, of the time. But once here is was hours of non-stop chat, trying to eat an enormous amount of food which we had no chance of finishing, and so much laughter.

There were a couple of extra children. Terri's daughter Maddie, who was here in the summertime. And the divine Felix who inspires Ceri.

I am exhausted now. But in that good way from having such a good day and the satisfying feeling of having enjoyed the company of so many friends. All I wish was that those that couldn't make it might have been here. We really, really wish that all of Brit Bee was here, and the other friends who could not for various reasons make it at the last minute. You were missed.

Check out those aprons on the girls, made by Rhonda.
More trampoline antics. Like we had at the last get together.
Laura Jane's Brit Bee quilt - round two.
The divine Felix herself, bottom right photo.
Thank you everyone for making the journey and for another wonderful day!


Friday 23 November 2012

Little by Little...

... I am getting things done here. The two candle mats I was working on are finished, backed in a Christmas graffiti style fabric I found in the bottom of a box, and bound in a red snowflake remnant also found when I dug deep enough.

I finally got round to remembering to buy some starch so gave my wee little crochet stars a good spray, pinned them out and let them dry. This seems more than adequate to achieve the desired star shape. I've strung them on some of my divine twine and am liking how it looks. Now to just crochet a few dozen more stars and I will be there.

I also made a few crochet snowflakes yesterday. Using the last of my Stiffy (Sob! Must buy some more.) I pinned them out and let them dry. The Stiffy gives a much more firm set to the snowflakes than the starch does to the stars, but is to be expected with a product called Stiffy after all.

Have you noticed something about the above photos? They were taken outside! Yes, really, we are having a rare moment of sunshine so not one to miss the opportunity I reacquainted myself with my favourite backdrop - the trampoline surface. It certainly cheers me up to no end to see a sky looking like this.

If the sky wasn't enough to cheer me up, then receiving my order from Pink Castle certainly did. I got lured in by their 24 hour sale just over a week ago. (25% off everything, including sale fabrics. Every fabric shown below was in the sale section.) I had a weak moment and clicked the buy button rather than just phantom shopping as I usually do, you know, filling a basket and then closing the tab before you actually purchase.

From left to right: The Birds and The Bees by Tula Pink, Songbird by Carina Gardner,
Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, and Madrona Road by Violet Craft
Willow by My Mind's Eye, and Front Row by Free Spirit
All Denyse Schmidt - three Chicopee and one Hope Valley
Sunshine, small projects finished and new fabric! Can a day get any better? Oh yes it can! Because both my girls are in school today and there is going to be some socialising going on round here this weekend. And on that note, I have some cleaning and cooking to do.


Thursday 22 November 2012

One For the Birds

If the rain stops, and if you have a child to hold the camera, and if it is light enough at 8am - you can get photos of a quilt. If you tell the child to take lots of photos you will be lucky to get three. That's what I found out this morning. But three photos are better than no photos. And I can't do the photo op on my own because of the risk of the quilt falling on the sodden ground. I do have the other child at home for yet another sick day (stupid stomach virus!) but as she is ill, and as the weather is turning for the worse, not the better, I will persevere with what I have.

So here you have it, almost a year in the making. One For the Birds. Ta-Dah!

Okay, so the wind was blowing and you can't really see the Kona Charcoal border in the available light. But you can see the birds. And the quilting. There was always this shot instead.

Or there was the third shot, at an good artsy out of focus angle.

Stick with me, I am trying to stay upbeat here. In focus or out of focus this quilt turned out how I imagined it in my head. I backed it with a black and white, with a touch of green, bird fabric from IKEA. And finished it with a narrow border and binding in Kona Charcoal.

I would like to thank every last person who so generously donated bird fabric to this quilt. I have so many more birds, and therefore more quilts, still to be used. But I needed this quilt finished for Christmas so stopped when it was a good throw size - 50" x 62". This quilt would not exist or look near so good without all the variety of fabrics that were sent to me. So, again, thank you.

One of the fun things in the making of this quilt was finding the right fabric for framing each individual bird fabric. It sometimes took a while, and lots of fabrics were auditioned, but when I found the one that I thought was right it made me smile.

This quilt was originally meant for my brother but he passed on it so now it will be going to a different recipient. I hope she likes her Christmas gift when she opens it in more than a months time.


Wednesday 21 November 2012

If Every Man's Home...

... is his castle. Then my castle has been developing a moat! Yup, more rain folks and on this rain sodden ground round here there is nowhere for it to go. So I am once again surrounded by water. The school run begins shortly. Hope my wellies are in the house and not the garage!

But it is not all doom and gloom round here. In my sewing dining room there is a rosy glow. It is being cast by the new light shade I bought yesterday for the princely sum of £3.50. It is helping me get in the correct seasonal mood, no matter what the weather outside.

Don't you love it?!
And while I watched the water levels rise I sewed. I started making two more small Christmas presents. Candle mats - or mug rugs, I suppose, if the person prefers - and I am rather happy with progress so far. Some more hand stitching and the bindings to be done, then these will be complete.

Hope you can get to your car without your wellies on today. Imagine if all this precipitation was snow? Makes my Canadian heart beat faster at the very thought.


Tuesday 20 November 2012


I have talked about Pinterest a few times of late. You won't be surprised to find out that I am obsessed with pinning food as I am sewing related things. I have decided that I shouldn't only look at pictures of pretty food, but try making some of these tempting things too.

So on the weekend, when there was a birthday in the house, I tried a new cake recipe. I did so because the birthday person is not a sweet, lob on the icing sort of cake person. Obviously not my birthday then! I remembered that I had pinned a recipe for Lemon Pound Cake. The photo was ever so tempting.

Photo and recipe found on Dozen Flours blog here.
This cake is not for a first time baker (a) because it is huge, and (b) because it has a couple of extra steps in it that are not in your basic cake recipes. It is not difficult, but it does take longer than a normal cake to knock together.

It uses four lemons. Yes, four! And not just the zest, but the pulp and juice too. I spent a happy little time teaching myself to cut between the membranes of the lemon sections to get all the pulp out. And longer still getting all the lemon seeds from that.

The recipe calls for a 16 cup size ring tin. What?! That is huge. I made two cakes instead. I do not have a ring tin that big. Doubt I ever will. Besides, who on earth knows the cup volume of their baking tins? (If you all do then please lie!)

That all said, the batter was divine. Surprised I had enough to put in two tins I was eating so much. The cake was popped in the oven and took well over an hour to cook. The top started browning a little too much, but it is not as dark as the photos imply. I opted out of putting on the lemon icing glaze, though that would have disguised the darker bits I am sure.

We ate the cake with fresh strawberries and extra thick whipped cream. It was gorgeous. Rich and lemony, a moist, dense crumb without being heavy. The chopped up lemon pulp gives you pockets of lemon that hit you with an extra zing.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, most certainly, though I would look at halving it. That would make a good every day size cake. As it is I do have the second one in the freezer for us to look forward to in the not to distant future.


Monday 19 November 2012

A Finish...

... which is a small miracle in itself. Seeing as I had two girls with two sore throats home today. Topped off with a car out getting fixed. The very fact that I got anything done at all goes against the odds. But the wonderful thing about sore throats - though wonderful is probably not the correct word - is that what feels dreadful in the morning and at bedtime is bearable in the middle of the day. Which means your mother then can ignore you guilt free.

If said mother then stops herself from going on the computer all day (yes, really, I did - almost!) she can get something done. Namely finish a quilt. You can't see it though. Because I just made the last hand stitch in the back of the binding, it's 7:30pm and pitch black outside. No unveiling will be happening today. Here's a little sneaky peek at what I did get up to in the process of finishing it though.

I FMQ'd the quilt all over in a flower and leaf design. Keeping with my way of doing things, it looks like someone grafted several plants together because there was a huge variance in the number of petals on each flower, and the size and shape of the leaves. But I don't care. Because it is done and I am not an idealistic perfectionist. I am a happy quilter. It thrills me that this quilt that I have been talking about for so long is finished. And I still have enough birds to do several others, though as discussed before I would think up a more logical pattern when I decide to do number two For the Birds.

As soon as I had finished the quilting (and retrieved my car from the mechanic) I cut, made and attached the binding. Then I sat and sewed. Made dinner, and sewed some more. And that is all you need to fill a day.

That and some sugar cookies. The girls were told to do something useful once they perked up some. They decided baking came under that agenda.

These cookies are very good.


Sunday 18 November 2012


I've been having a play with my hoops today. All my inspiration was from hoops I pinned onto my Pinterest Christmas board.

First up was some free motion quilting, though that teeny weeny star in top of the tree was beyond my capabilities. Despite this, it was a fun and super quick hoop to do.

Then I tried a portrait of Rudolph. The thought that I might have drawn on the antlers first so they looked less like he had sprouted seaweed on his head has occurred to me since doing this one. The idea of pulling out those stitches is there, just the lazy part of me has been shouting louder at the moment.

I'm still working on embroidering the snow onto my tree hoop. But I am liking this one, maybe the most.

I have more ideas, and more pins to use as my inspiration. I can feel some robins in my future. And snowmen. I can certainly say that these are satisfying little projects to make.


Saturday 17 November 2012

I Can't Sew...

... because I am recovering from the shock of spending the morning clothes shopping with the girls so they could have new outfits for their respective school Christmas discos. If you have not spent time clothes shopping with a ten year old and an eleven year old recently, or ever, count yourself lucky. Enough said!

I did come home to post though. Jennie - Just a Little Stitch - one of the Brit Bee gang had sent the blocks she did for my quilt. They are gorgeous, and please (again!) ignore the colour - or lack there of - in the photo as these are much more vibrant than they appear.

You can see that for some reason the block on the right looks more colourful.
Yet they all use the same fabrics.
And all the photos were taken in the same location, one right after the other.
I had another package too. In a fit of extravagance I ordered some red and white twine to use in my various planned Christmas makes. It came from Joe & Flo on Etsy and as they are located in the UK it came rather quickly, which was nice. They also sell washi tape. Somehow (again!) two rolls of it fell into my shopping basket. They were Christmas ones, and that was how I justified them staying in my basket. Feeling seasonal and all it would have been churlish to take them out again.

There are 240 yards of twine on this spool, so while it wasn't a budget buy I do expect it will last a long time. Presuming that I convince my two girls that it isn't something they can help themselves to willy nilly. That is optimistic of me but one can only hope that this time the message sinks in.


Friday 16 November 2012

I Lied

I lied when I said I would not show another photo of the Modern Christmas Tablerunner until I could get a half decent photograph in the sunshine. Because there has not been any sunshine, but I have finished the runner.

I took these photos at noon today. I had to enlist the aid of the flash on my camera for some of them. When we over here in the UK have been complaining of lack of light we have been doing so for very good reason. All that being said, I am happy with this finish.

The snowflakes done in white perle on white cotton do not show up very well in the photos but I think they add a nice subtle touch to the runner. Subtle is not something that you come across often in my blog so enjoy it while you can.

I still need to make a Christmas decoration to go into this swap parcel but the main bit is done, ahead of time at that. Once this is posted I will be swap free for two or three months. There is enough to do with Christmas presents to be made, etc.

Hope you all have a great weekend.


Thursday 15 November 2012

Thursday Think Tank Holiday Hop

A big hello to anyone who has come over from Making Rebecca Lynne for the holiday blog hop. This blog hop is not about tutorials but about ideas. Each person who is hosting a day in the hop is providing some inspiration to get your holiday making, baking and entertaining ideas jump started.

Thursday Think Tank Holiday Hop

Today I am talking about holiday decor. I don't know about you but I love decorating for Christmas. There is genuine joy in digging out the boxes of Christmas ornaments and digging through. Since having children there is a whole new element to it. Each year my two girls receive one or two new ornaments and these go in their special boxes, so one day when they leave home (we won't think about that now as I fully expect to reach that milestone with my head buried firmly in the sand) they will already have a box full of traditions and memories to take with them.

I also have a small tradition of my own of sending something holiday themed and handmade to family and friends each year. Therefore whenever I see a new idea I pin it. Pinterest is fabulous for anyone who wants a place to keep track of all the crafting inspiration that is out there on the internet. My Pinterest boards can be found here.

This year I have several favourite ideas. First up is this gorgeous star garland -

Link to the tutorial at selfsewn.
I love this garland and it is so simple and easy to make. I have already crocheted some stars and they literally take a minute per star. You can knock them off with your eyes closed. They are genius! Selfsewn's tutorial is easy peasy to follow. I have made quite a few with leftover bits of yarn, though when I went to take a photo of them my supply seemed depleted. I need to talk to one of my girls after school! All these stars need is a dip in Stiffy (yes, it is a real product as shown below - great name, huh!) and some string. Once I have dipped them I will pin them into their star shapes and leave them to dry. Some starch would do the same job; I just like my Stiffy!

Next on my list of makes this year are some holiday hoops. There are some brilliant ones to be seen out and about in blogland. Here are a few I love.

Pilli Pilli link for the left hand photo; Country Kitty link for the right hand photo
I actually meant to have some of these hoops started by now. But apparently one week is not enough time for an eBay seller to get my hoop order to me from one part of the UK to another part of the UK by first class post. I have about a dozen hoops on order. These are going to be one of my gifts of choice this year.

I pinned this handy dandy tutorial for paper stars - though I am contemplating making them with stiffy soaked charms squares. But some bright paper and a pair of scissors, a piece of string and some glue would be all you needed to add some new holiday colour to your home. I like the idea of making these in all different sizes.

Found at Christmas Your Way.
My tree ornament make of choice this year is going to be inspired by these gorgeous wee houses made by the incredibly talented Fiona, my fellow Brit Bee and friend. No need for Christmas fabrics, just bright cheerful colours and a bit of ribbon, buttons and some string. Apparently string is a running theme through so many of these makes so if anyone has a great source of said item that they think I should know - please pass it on!

Fiona blogs at Poppy Makes and if you don't follow her you should
Inspiration can be found there
 year round.
All the photos in this next mosaic come from the same blog. It is written in German, but you can use Google translate for an imperfect idea of what is being said. Or you can just look at all the beautiful photos and get lots and lots of lovely ideas. I know I have. The advent calendar ideas are inspirational. And I am going to  make some of those snowmen.

All found here on natuerlich kreativ.
I hope all these links have given you some wonderful ideas for what to make for Christmas this year. If you need some energy while you are doing all this making then why not bake some cookies to boost your sugar levels and keep you going that little bit longer.

Vanessa over at V and Co blogged this recipe and I have to say - the idea of making cookies with a box of cake mix as their base just goes against everything I do in the kitchen but I still really, really want to try this. Because they looks so good! Not everything has to be made totally from scratch. And is is not like I eat healthy from dawn to dusk each and every day. Far from it!

Recipe from Vanessa found here.
The Thursday Think Tank Holiday Hop is going on right until Christmas to fill you with ideas to make your holidays as fun and inspirational as possible this year.

Don't forget to check out all these chances to link up your Think Tank ideas for a giveaway.  Winner to be drawn on December 27th. You can add a link to these posts, every week your link will earn you another chance in the giveaway.

1. November 1 - Making Rebecca Lynne DIY Christmas Cards
2. November 8 - Piecemeal Quilts Thanksgiving Etiquette (when you are lucky enough to be a guest!)
3. November 15 - Canadian Abroad Holiday Decor
4. November 22 - Seriously...I Think it Needs Stitches or MRL free pillow cover pattern
5. November 29 - She Can Quilt Gifts for Tweens/Teens/Twenties
6. December 6 - Missy Mac Creations Christmas Gifts for Kids from Kids
7. December 13 - Rainbow Hare Quilts Wrapping it Up
8. December 20 - YOU!  DIY Christmas Party Link Up


  1. Link up any post from the past week that features some creative thinking going on in your creative world.   It can be anything, quilting, home improvement, fashion, crafting, DIY gifts, cooking...whatever you have recently thought "hmmm, you know what I should create" is perfectly appropriate for the Think Tank.  TTT is all about whatever you are currently brainstorming and would like feedback or encouragement on!
  2. Somewhere in your post, link back here to my blog. (Or grab the T.T.T. button for your sidebar.)
  3. Comment on at least a few of the other links—because what fun is a linky party without comments?

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