Sunday, 19 April 2009

New Rooms

Sometimes it's good that your sewing machine is still broken .... you can decorate instead!  
The new room for my five year old is almost done!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Quilt Festival - Spring 2009

You wanna piece of me? 12" x12" Dec. 2008

Amy at Park City Girl has organised a spring quilt festival for bloggers ... what a great idea .. a virtual quilt show.  

I wasn't sure what to exhibit but I have decided to plump for one of my small journal quilts called "You wanna piece of me?" Dec 2008

I started making it back in late summer 2008 when I was experimenting with wet and dry felting. The piece then evolved as I learnt more about  felting techniques. I wet felted some multi-coloured wool but left it in the pre-felt stage. Once dry I fulled it on my embellisher then added the cupcake using a 'tea-cosy' design I found in a felting book as inspiration.

I layered the piece over wool batting and quilted the piece very simply on my domestic machine. Being all wool (apart from the cotton backing fabric) the piece quilted like a dream and was a pleasure to work on. It came together so quickly too which was an advantage as I had to finish it in a holiday month when I was being torn so many ways – hence the name of the piece.


Friday, 17 April 2009

Off to my Study

I was getting very twitchy yesterday ... I need my machines back in action! My Pfaff will be back next week and I am told costing me some £225 for the repair (....just one minute while I close my mouth!) And my longarm will hopefully be fixed tomorrow when the repair rep comes. I have a couple of quilts I really want to get finished and I have tried very hard to be patient about it all but it is wearing thin now! So it was just as well Issue 3 of Irish Quilting plopped on my door mat! If I cant quilt I can read about others quilting ... and in this issue I can even read about the things I suggest other quilters read about quilting too! My article "Off to my Study" has been published. I was really quite excited about it! (big understatement!)

The article is my take on the world of cyber-quilting ... blogging, online tv, e-books and podcasts and how we can go quilting in our studies as well as our studios!

I was chuffed too to see My quilt "They came from outer space " was used as the backdrop to the header and also on the contents page.

I made this quilt (24" square) as a challenge quilt for one of Christine Porters Cabot quilting conferences a few years back now. The challenge was to use a vibrant pink Sharon and Maggie pattern fabric. We were given a fat quarter and beleive it or not I did use the vast proportion of it. Most of it went in the small narrow inset flap at the binding (...a technique refered to as a "crumb catcher" by Alex Anderson on the latest epsidode of The Quilt Show.)

I also took the plunge in this issue and decided to advertise the bindings booklet. I haven't advertised in a magazine before and it was difficult working up the ad. I spent hours on the thing deciding what to say, what image did I want, what font, colours, text, pictures .... I literally went round and round in circles for quite some while! Anyway here it is in print ... all I need now is orders for it .. please!

Anyway I am NOT off to my study today ..I have to top coat the wood work in my sons orange and green bedroom! (Sounds yacky??? no it lovely ... really!)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Little Gems!

Yeah... the sun was shining today - unlike the miserable Easter Sunday weather we had yesterday and since not one of the kids asked about the Easter Bunny I kept the egg hunt back until today. It was well loved by all ...5 years old or 22 .... aah .. the little gems!  It came and went very quickly though with lots of shoving and pushing from the big ones to get the creme of the crop while the little one was directed to hidden treasures to get his share. Unfortunately I made a big boo-boo though and mistakenly included a packet of Herseys Kisses in the bounty .. these were a special order for one of dh's UK co-workers.... oops ... an even bigger oops when I was informed they were for her wedding table favours. I'm not sure what I felt worse about... that or the fact I had to retrieve them off the kids before they were eaten! As it happened the kids aren't fond of Herseys chocolate so it was relinquished without too much prising. I was in the doghouse though with dh and dh was in the dog-house from me for not telling me not to use them! So whats a girl to do to improve her mood? ... thats right sew! Well in this case a bit of bonding!  

I decided to forge ahead with stage one of my Little Gems project.

Little Gems is a project organised for the Quilters Guild of the British Isles to raise money for
British Guilds head office and museum , St Anthonys House in York. The request is for the donation of A4 size quilts in any technique, traditional or contemporary, and any design source. Then at the main UK quilt show in August - The Festival of Quilts, you can buy a tombola ticket and stand the chance to be the owner of ......"a little gem by a top quilter or rising star!
" (As quoted by the guild). I looked at the website today and there are some really nice quilts too. So here is the start of my offering.

But why make one quilt when you can make 5? I'm not sure if all 5 will be donated yet -- we'll see how they turn out. I like the method though and oh so simple... bonded webbing on 5 fabrics (all bigger than A4 size because they will shrink as they get worked on and quilted) then freehand cut into strips, circles -- whatever. Then incrementally move one fabric to the back of each pile to mix all the fabrics up ... bond them all back to a base fabric - either leaving a gap between them or butting them up close. Voila - stage one completed - five quilts in progress!

Stage 2 will be to add some stitching - maybe satin stitch , maybe something else ... in a variety of colours (?).. not sure yet... ideas welcomed please! Once thats done I shall layer and quilt as normal-maybe and then I can be a little gem too!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter Greetings!

It must be Easter ....the supermarkets are full of people shopping for food for a much much longer time than a one day closure! Trolleys bulge!  But then perhaps like me they didn't forget to buy a months supply of eggs to colour and decorate.... so the little plastic egg-dying pots will remain empty until tomorrow. Not that it matters I suppose... the kids are not interested in my idea of this type of Easter fun anyway... how could this possibly compete with Ben 10? Oh well at least I try!  I did manage to drag the Easter box out of the loft this year though (sadly it didn't make it the last 2 years!) and I have decorated the Easter tree with the lovely wooden bunnies and eggs I found way back when.

.. and of course the pottery rabbit was unwrapped and the plastic carrots arranged

..and then I found this choir of bunnies (more twee fru-fru stuff according to dh ... but what do we expect of our men?)

A welcome sign for the front door (just to really annoy dh!)

and a beautiful display of frilly tulips in the garden....

and finally a 'Happy Easter' greeting from me to you!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Domestic Goddess

I've been playing with my camera again today... I just love love love it. I dont know how to do alot with it yet but I did pick up the manual today and even read an article about it in Amateur Photography (but only because dh had strategically left it for me to find in the loo!) So here are my photos for today. I got my two big kids modeling for me -- my daughter is a natural and needed no encouragement or direction modeling the little Nigella apron I have just posted here at my etsy shop (which is sadly empty at the moment ....uhm!). My son on the other hand was worse than useless modeling the market-style grocery bag. Looking natural to me doesn't mean puffing up your chest and flexing your biceps but apparently I was wrong .... yeah riiiight???

He even went on the say what an unnatural selection of groceries was included .. what can he mean .. everyone buys wine, asparagus, salmon and coffee. Thats our dinner tonight son! Now I know I am no Nigella Lawson - either in looks or culinary skills but I can at least pretend occasionally to be a domestic goddess!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Freshly Squeezed!

Sunny holiday mornings with nothing to do (ha!) are just made for a large mug of tea and a thorough good look the latest copy of a favored magazine. Sew Hip is the magazine and much time was spent looking at this beauty ... a "Freshly Squeezed" zesty quilt by friend Emma Amstrong. I really love these bright fresh tones and orange (along with green still) is one of my all time favorite colours. Anyway I sat and spent a good hour drooling over various things before I decided to do something ... which wasn't alot. What I did discover was that my well used Pfaff had started to skip stitches and a good clean, new needle and rethread did nothing to solve it so its gone to the sewing machine man to be fixed. We had a good conversation too (after he had expelled the air he had sucked between his teeth after I said it had been used almost every day for 3 years without a service!) So thats 2 machines down now ... what will be next? Things always happen in 3's so something else is bound to go. At least I managed to destress with a bit of sewing last night before all went pear shaped today. We had a day trip to Bath yesterday - I drove 6 hours (there and back) and spent at least 60 of those minutes in a long slow haul into the town and then another 15 minutes looking for a parking spot. Add to that the awful slow haul out of the town and a wrong turn that almost took me to Wales! I was not amused in the slightlest. To appease my rotten mood I just had to make something when I got home .... a crochet hook case of course ! Here it is.

Amazingly the machine stitching looks ok - so what happen between last night and this morning I have no idea ... gremlins! Its a simple design but it works ok for my few hooks. The fabric is from the Pop Garden range by Heather Bailey.

So what will I do tomorrow ... no sewing machines to play with ... oh no .... not housework please???

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Spring has Sprung

Guess what? Dh is back from his 2 year assignment. Talk about happy! To celebrate his return we all got a treat from him. A new Halo Master Chief toy for one, Benefit makeup for another, travel money for the one who skis this week, a fixed car for the one that bashed his up and I got something very special ..... drum roll please..... a new lens for my camera ...... attached to yes .. a new camera too! Whoppee! I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D90 and I love it. I am no photographer though so some practice may be required. I was out like a shot (ha .. no pun intended) to try it out and I am very happy. The sun was out today so I made a beeline for the garden and the spring flowers ... oh so yellow ! I am so pleased with the quality of these shots... its amazing!

Inspired by all the yellow - a new pump bag was created for yet another party dude .. Ben has snakes with gold letters! My mission to fill the peg rack with handmade PE bags continues - we are 6 now and the teacher loves it! I love making them too ... so much so I have decided to start making them on commission. See here for more info.

On the downside this week ... my quilting machine has temporarily died .... new cables are required we think. I have not cried or stamped my feet though this time ... I shall take the time to do the other things I have been putting off ... like finishing the decorating I started a while back and finishing up that new bed I started digging a while back! The machine will be fixed I am sure soon and I shall be back on track.

On a more positive note I am thrilled that my good friend, quilt and coffee partner - Emma is now a published pattern designer .... she is in print in this months Sew Hip magazine with her bright zesty quilt in lovely orange colours. You can catch a glance of it here on the sew hip website. I am yet to find a copy of the blessed magazine in my local town though. As soon as I do I will post a piccy of the mag! Unfortunately the magazine failed to print her name in full .... so for the record its Emma Armstrong!!!! Watch out for more of her work ....spring has most certainly sprung in her neck of the woods too!