Tuesday 31 March 2015

Not A Bit Of Sewing Was Packed!

I'm on holiday. And I will admit that I packed trashy novels for beach / poolside reading and not one iota of sewing. This holiday is all about relaxing. 

I left home and husband behind, brought the girls and flew to Toronto on Saturday. We immediately left the city with my best friend and went to her little town of Clinton close to the shores of Lake Huron. Jet lagged and full of cold, Sunday was a struggled or me. But we explored the area, had a terrific lunch out and the girls were treated to a little dusting of snow later on in the day. 

So that was enough of the cold! Monday morning we left the house early, early (best friend in tow), headed for Detroit and flew South to Tampa. Last night we were walking on Clearwater Beach happy as can be. Eating yummy seafood outside and generally feeling like life was good. 

I may have indulged in girlie drinks. 

Strawberry lemonade martini to be precise. 

And now I am (almost) germ free - I think the cocktails and sunshine did the trick. Jet lag has been conquered. And in the morning we head for Disneyworld. The girls are loving it all, maybe just as much as me. Plus the best friend is mercifully doing all the driving so I don't have to remember little things like which side of the road to drive on. 

I'm telling you, life is good. And for those looking for sewing, sorry for the distinct lack of it of late. I'm recharging my batteries and I'll be back to it with a vengeance very soon. Besides, I'm bound to purchase a little bit of fabric over here that will need playing with upon our return. 


Friday 20 March 2015

A Little Of This...

Working on my current commission project. 

And a lot of that (today's agenda) -

- laundry
- school run
- grocery shop
- hair cut
- put chicken strips into a satay marinade 
- make peanut sauce
- start making chilli hoisin belly pork
- make 'that Chinese pork thing' (recipe available under recipe tab if curiosity grabs you)
- make snicker doodles (V & Co recipe, and so, so good)
- make pork & prawn Goya filling
- make fresh spring roll filling
- school run
- more laundry
- take girls to riding lesson
- finish chilli hoisin pork
- cook dinner (comprised of leftovers, salad & oven chips - seriously, not making an effort on this one)
- more laundry
- dishes (so wish we had room for a dishwasher; one day in my dream house)

And now? Yeah, I am so not sewing. Not even hand sewing. I am sat here, and a glass of wine sits very close by. First glass in over four weeks. I am so enjoying it. Friends over for dinner tomorrow night, if you didn't guess. And very few of my days are quite as manic as today, but I wanted to say I'm sorry that I haven't had much in the way of interesting sewing posts lately. They will return. Right after I run away from home for a much anticipated holiday in a weeks time. 

Oh, and there is a cunning plan with this overload of cooking today. Little to finish off tomorrow, just make the ice cream (easy peasy and quick and not impressive, honest, but yummy). Apple pie already made and waiting in the freezer. Then hopefully I've made enough to feed us four on Sunday too. Maybe I can sew then instead. So all I have to do now is make the house presentable. 

Stop laughing! 


Wednesday 18 March 2015

And The Blocks Have Started Arriving

When it is your month in a bee post becomes exciting. You never know when more blocks might arrive. I have received from Hadley...


And Di...

Now why two of those photos refuse to lie the right way is beyond me - annoying as hell - and not fixable in this basic app. Kindly turn your heads/tablets to see them properly. 

Then feeling excited I laid out all the blocks together and you get an idea of what this quilt will look like. By sheer coincidence the blocks of various sizes all fit into one tidy rectangle. 

I know that this type of quilt would not appeal to all people - the wonkiness, lack of pattern, sheer scrappiness of it. But it is me in all its wonky, haphazard glory. Totally me. 


Sunday 15 March 2015

Happy Mother's Day

In some parts of the world it is Mother's Day today. One of those parts of the world is my little corner here in the middle of England. 

I am not one for presents on Mother's Day, nor am I one for going out to eat. Breakfast in bed and everyone being nice to me from beginning to end of day is what I like. 

Himself provides the breakfast, because I greedily request Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. Hey, if you're going to ask for breakfast in bed you might as well take full advantage! 

The girls have different opinions on gifts though. I said I don't need them; they said I may not need them but I deserved them. Honestly, them saying that was the best gift of all. We all know motherhood is not sunshine and roses every day but a few simple words go a long way to making it all worthwhile. 

So this morning Emily presented me with a box of marshmallows - 

Just love the top middle heart that I've given you a close up of.  To the right is a hot chocolate 'doggie' she made me, complete with mini marshmallows. 

Helen gave me a necklace. 

The necklace says it all. It will be treasured.

So, a lie in, scrumptious breakfast, lovely gifts - what more could I ask for? Nothing really. But Helen made a Victoria sponge last night. Sadly too decimated already to provide a photo. And Emily is in the kitchen right now making miso soup, crab and cucumber salad, prawn dumplings and steamed buns. 

I'm one spoilt mamma and fully aware of the fact. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of you, in whatever way, shape or form you choose to celebrate. 


Saturday 14 March 2015

Miss March

March snuck up on me. Ever since Flickr and I stopped talking I sort of lost track of where I sat within the fabulous Stitch Tease Bee. I happily made my blocks for others, oft times rather late but there has been a wonderful variety of blocks asked for so far this year. And then suddenly it was my turn. 

I had been planning on designing a block. Time caught me out. So I went with another idea I had totally inspired by Beth at Plum and June. She makes such lovely things, and this quilt has been one of my favourites. 

I love the wonkiness, the colous,the fussy cuts - this quilt is totally up my street. So I asked my bee mates to make me wonky log cabins with a fussy cut in the middle. The only rule was if the fussy cut had a coloured background then it needed to be framed in white first. If it had a white background then it needed a colourful frame. The blocks could be any size based on a factor of 6" finished. So 6.5"x6.5" or 12.5"x12.5" or 6.5"x12.5" or 18.5"x12.5", etc. this will allow me to fit the various blocks together fairly easily, filling in spaces when and however required. 

I have already received blocks, but first I will show you the ones I made myself. The other blocks I can show off on a different day. 

These are one 12.5"x6.5" and two 6.5" square. I think that may be my last girl on a swing from Sherbet Pips, the first fabric line I ever fell in love with. Needless to say using some of my Heather Ross was a necessity as well. 

Then I used one of my Wee Wander horses for a 12.5" block. It's a start for a quilt that I'm really rather excited about. 


Friday 13 March 2015

Embroidery Completed

I finished the embroidery on the block for Terri's daughters' quilts. Unfortunately when I wrote the words on the fabric I - stupidly - left a word out by mistake. To get the prayer correct I ended up squeezing the final words in.

There are times where I really wish I had a brain.


Wednesday 11 March 2015

Day Tripping

Today I drove over to the Cotswolds to Burford to meet a friend for lunch. She lives equidistance in the opposite direction so it makes the perfect meeting point.

Perfect - because it is beautiful, has a fabulous bakery/coffee shop (Huffkins) where we always spend the first little while catching up, and lovely shops to browse. 

Burford is just one of those places I never grow tired of. Today I made an unplanned purchase too, because down one of the many narrow alleys off the High Street I found this.

I could not walk away and leave it there. Is it a genuine antique? I have no idea, nor do I care. It was just too perfect not too bring home. Now it just needs a really good scrub clean before I use it to store stuff, well fabric, of the plain cotton kind. No silks around here.


Tuesday 10 March 2015

And Another Box Ticked

Today I made flying geese for one of the Brit Bee medallions that have been floating from one of us to another for well over a year now. 

What is particularly exciting about this is that there will only be one more medallion coming my way for me to add to. After that I will finally see my medallion. And I can not wait. 


*Wrote this a couple of days ago and just realised it never published. Sigh! 

A Work Of Love

I didn't say anything here on the blog, but some of our wonderful Brit Bee group did on theirs, but we lost our most beloved Terri to cancer. Words cannot express our sorrow but we can focus on doing something for her even after she is gone.

Terri was one of the original Brit Bee ladies and participated in the first two years. Her blocks never got sewn into quilts though. That's where we come in. It was Terri's wish that these blocks become quilts to bring her two daughters comfort. We are going to ensure this happens. The centre block of each block has a prayer on it. I have taken on the task of embroidering one of the blocks. 

It feels good to be able to do something productive in aid of these quilts being completed. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Terri you would know she was one of life's truly unique and wonderful indivuals. She lit up any room she was in and everyone loved her. The love and laughter that we all shared with her will last forever. 

I hope that the completed quilts will in some small measure wrap her girls in the incredible love she had for them.


Saturday 7 March 2015

Spring Is In The Air

I did the laundry. Made dinner (black bean soup, in case you were curious). Grocery shopped. Took Em to dance. Buggered if I was staying inside after that. 

It was 14C here today. The first totally 'feels like spring' day we've had. So I had a lovely walk around the reservoir. The view isn't what it once was, mind you. Wind turbines belong along motorways and in industrial estates. Not in the middle of scenic areas. 

It's supposed to be ick weather tomorrow. I'll sew then. 


Thursday 5 March 2015

I Survived!

Eight 7" paper piecing blocks finished. Seam ripper used about a dozen times, which for me is a pretty successful paper piecing session. 

Looks like tonight will be spent ripping out paper. That's okay. I'm glad to have got these done successfully. 


Wednesday 4 March 2015

Back To Normal Sewing

In other words, playing catch up here. First up were my January Stitch Tease blocks for Dianne (quiltova). She set us an easy task so I had fun pulling nice bright fabrics for her. 

Then there were a couple of secret bits of sewing for a secret - but non-magazine related - project. 

And then I pulled and cut fabric for my Stitch Tease February blocks. 

I'll be paper piecing tomorrow, so if you're in my neighbourhood cover your ears, there's bound to be lots of swearing happening here too. I tried starting the sewing tonight. I had to rip out my very first seam. I turned off the machine and walked away. I think it would be best to start in the morning when I am all rested and fresh as a daisy. Maybe I'll make it past the first seam then. 


Monday 2 March 2015

A Marathon Of Sewing

I have been sewing for England here. Over ten hours on Saturday and on Sunday too. But I got the commission quilt done. On time. Shame I didn't get the matching cushion done because my iron decided to die a spectacular death today, taking a wee bit of fabric with it when it did so. I realised it was super hot (way more than its setting) moments before the black smoke started emerging. I thought that would be a good time to unplug it! 

So normal service will commence right after I finish the cushion tomorrow - using the iron that was newly purchased on the way to the girls' dance school. 

Meanwhile, the latest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting dropped through the postbox today. 

I have a simple cafe curtain in it. But far, far more exciting to me is the freebie. Binding clips. Woohoo! That being said, if you get a copy, there are some spectacular makes in it this month, in particular the quilt by Karen Lewis.