Tuesday, 3 August 2010

you are the weakest link ... goodbye!

So thats that folks ....  this is the last post on 
Chubby Mummy! 

 I have moved ! Please dont leave me though .... 
click here to be taken to my new blog  

Quilt Me Happy


as a special thankyou you are welcome to download my summer bag pattern. It will be available over the summer during the transition from old to new blog.

 I hope you enjoy it and if you do please click on the Follow Me button 
and add me to your blog list.

Thanks so much for following me for the last 2 years (well almost in October). 
You are a great crew and I would hate to loose you so 
please remember to click the button !

See you over at 

Whats in a name?

Well .. its been a long time coming I suppose but I have now decided that this is the end of Chubby Mummy .  She has had her day and she will be retired .. quietly.  But dont worry my loyal band of chubblyz ... I'm not going to kill her off completely .. just give her a bit of a revamp.You know a nip and tuck here and there  ... ooh and a change of identity!   

I'd love to say this is needed because she is no longer chubby but that would be a down and out fib!  Or perhaps because the mummy is now a gran-mummy but that wouldn't be true either. 

Nope .. the fact of the matter is my blog needs a more considered name. One that doesn't shock a mother when when she searches the internet and finds my blog listed amongst similar titles with less savoury content!   Unfortunately the 'not so quilty element' of this list has grown considerably over the last few months and whilst it might be to some tastes its not to mine and I dont care to be linked to it .. albeit on a google or yahoo search engine.  So .. dear chubs its goodbye!  Arrivederci old pal, sayonara, so long!

So first up in this blog tweak ... I have a new link .. implemented over the weekend but unlikely to have been noticed as Ms. Chubs is now being redirected to http://www.traceypereira.com.  

That was the easy bit. The more difficult bit is what to call the blog. Having made a bit of a faux pas last time I dont really want a repeat but I'm hitting a brick wall... no amazingly good blog titles are springing up saying "pick me"... which is a darn nuisance since I have now made a decision to end the old gal. 

I found this over at Pro-Blogger  .. a quote from a bloke called Ryan but who he is I dont know... (sorry Ryan)  but I like your quote all the same .

‘As I mentioned the perfect name is easy to remember, sounds and looks good. But more importantly than these three is a name that is suiting. There is no such thing as the perfect name in the initial stages. It takes time and growth before a name can become perfect.…’

and Daniel Scocco over at dailyblogtips says the blog name should satisfy 3 rules:

1. It should describe your blog
2. It should be easy to remember
3. It should be equal to your domain name

Well lets think about this Chubby Mummy described me ok but not the blog, it was a short, sweet title that was easy to remember I guess but it didn't equal the domain name -- that was chubbymother because chubbymummy was already taken.  So uhm .. it failed on 2 of those rules.

So what to choose .... ????

You'll have to wait I'm afraid because I simply don't know yet! 

Updated :  Ok I have a name ... its not too imaginative but I like it ....

Welcome to my new blog :  Tracey Pereira dot com!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Ooh "L" ... plates have gone!

Today is a good day .. My daughter passed her driving test .. first time ... which is quite unheard of in the UK,  my DIL is currently in labour with our first grandchild and I am guest posting over at Mega-Crafty!  On top of this I found a good deal on the car insurance for said daughter  (Can you believe one company quoted £6000 ... yes thats six thousand? Yeah  .. I don't think so.. thanks all the same)  and I got new spec lenses that allow me to see without craning my neck at some ridiculous angle to see the computer screen!

Life is good today!  But baby p ... you really need to hurry up ...your poor nanny is getting fed up of waiting to put a name and date on your quilt !  Yes alright I'll make another pair of shoes while I wait!

Uhm yes ... the baby quilt. Thanks for the advice on the letter fabric. It was all taken on board, processed and thrown back in the air I'm afraid. I decided that I actually really didn't like the tumbler quilt enough so guess what ?  I made 2 more tops  and let the mummy and daddy decide which they wanted.  They choose the hedgehog quilt and if you pop over to Mega-Crafty blog you can see the cushion I made to go with it. (The other quilt has robots on it .. I liked  but mummy wasn't so keen ... so I'm glad I asked.)

Meg (who has never met a craft she doesn't like)  is hosting Sewing 101 on her blog Mega-Crafty this week and has asked a couple of people to guest blog .. including me!  I was thrilled!  Meg is a brilliant crafter and has some pretty nifty inspirational ideas.  I downloaded her paper-making tutorial recently and can't wait to give it a go. (Maddy and Christine if your reading this we need to rearrange that play date that had to be cancelled!!!)  

But how cool to be a guest on another blog?  Of course I had a minor panic attack whilst I was trying to decide what tutorial to do. I was vacillating between the cushion cover and a peg bag. In the end common sense prevailed .... pegs aren't a common item across the pond! Truth be told they aren't that common at Chez Tracey's sometimes although I have been very very good of late and feel very housewifey pinning  out my basket of freshly washed laundry and I do admit a passion for bright white 'scratchy towels that smell of the outdoors'.

Speaking of bright white ..why is it when you peg washing to dry outside any residual stains are bleached out by the sun?  I know its bleached out but what is the chemical change that happens to make stains disappear? Answers on a post card please!  I did read on a forum recently about using Hydrogen peroxide to remove stains (which presumably works on the the same principal as sunlight) ... but does anyone use HP and what do you do with it ?  I ask because I have a bottle of it.  Not sure why but its in the cupboard and I dont plan on bleaching my hair anytime soon.. although no 3 son may as he died his hair BLUE for the holidays. (No please dont ask  he's 14  ... does that explain it?)

Well I am off to catch some z's before we are woken in the middle of the night with some news ... hopefully!

Hey Mr P if you read this ... you could be going to sleeping with a Granny tomorrow .. oh el!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The MAN-drawer!

We have a comedian here in the UK called Michael McIntyre who I think is just amazingly funny. He pulls his material from real life which is why it is probably such side splitting material.  One of my favourite stories is his rendition of " The MAN-drawer!"  

 You will no doubt know this drawer because EVERY household has one. Its the HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE drawer - the drawer that holds the spare light bulb for the lamp (that has actually been thrown away) and the AA batteries that you THINK are charged, the spare fuse for the power board (that was replaced with a new consumer unit last year), the international plug adaptor for Ouagadougou ... (? its the capital of Burkina Fasu) , the swiss army knife and endless spare headphones (that have lost one earpiece), a flash light, plasters and headache pills  etc.. etc...We ALL have one of these drawers right?  Its the MAN-drawer .. the drawer that in the event of emergency you could go to war with AND keep an attacking army at bay.

 Well ... we have several of these drawers and they ALL reside in the dressing table I share with my hubby.  So, you can imagine my face when said hubby announced he needed more space in this SHARED unit and suggested I get rid of some of my clothes. 

"Oh look the Samaritans are collecting for charity on Tuesday ... why dont you have a clear out "   

Yes, right ... I know what you are up to Mr P! (there are no flies on me you know!)  

Well as it happened I was quite happy to accommodate this request as I had had it in mind to do a 'clear out' for a while .... and I did!  Way too many bags were filled with the remnants of a life when I was smaller than I am today. Too many good clothes will be sitting on hangers in the charity shop because I got too fat BUT thats ok ... I am happy to move things on AND to a better place than residing in space that is the poor relation of the man-drawer.  But a few of my nicer things are on EBAY as of this moment. 

Now if you have ever EBAYed you will know the time and effort that is required to sort, photo and load your wares, but I have been rewarded in the past with few extra readies that have certainly helped fuel my hobby and fill my "fabric drawers"  or my "notions drawers" and I am hoping that this little green felted beauty will help this time. I thought I would show you because I know you all love textiles and this wearable piece really is lovely (and if it doesn't sell it WILL be unpicked and used in a project somewhere along the line).  Made by Irish knitwear designer LINDA WILSON ... I love her stuff but I dont think I go anywhere these days to warrant wearing it.  

Mind you if I were to place it in my LADY- drawer it may not  help defend a country against invasion but it could surely help decorate it!

Monday, 5 July 2010

one thousand fabrics and not one thats right!

Argh! Can anyone tell me why it is that you never have that one piece of fabric you really need in your stash? It always seems to be the way - Murphy's Law as they say. So ladies I need some help ... can I make do with something out of my stash or do I really need to go shopping?

I posted a short video of the little baby quilt I made today for impending grandson no 1 but I need some input about fabric for applique letters. I want to add the babys name to the bottom border and offered up a couple of fabrics for audition. None of them are really grabbing my fancy but I would like to use something from the stash if I can. Not that I'm a cheap scape but its that feel-good factor you get when you know you really are stash busting! So please have a look and let me know your thoughts.

Excuse the photo btw - its an iphoto one which isn't so hot but I am quite impressed with the video.

The daddy btw - No 1 son is immortalised in the screen print on the left hand side - just above the dotty blue fabric. One day I'll do something with that!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

come on England !

Well its all England fever here today as England play Germany in the World Cup! I cant say I am a football fan in general but I do support our boys on an international level. So to all our boys over in South Africa today ... all I can say is this ... keep calm and carry on!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

EMQE, Cathy Franks and city chic messenger bags

I had a great week last week spending 7 days with old and new friends at the European Machine Quilting Expo down in Castletownbere in Co Cork. Ireland. The lead teacher this year was fibre artist Cathy Franks and she was a delight --- all 4' nothing of her .. lol. I took all her classes and really enjoyed them. She is sooo enthusiastic and passionate about her work and a very good teacher. We played with all sorts of goodies, including Tsukineko inks, paint sticks and colouring pencils, messed about making 'flash and trash', couched with wool and made complete quilts directly on the longarm frame! Who would have thought to piece and add borders, let alone iron directly on your frame. Amazing! I loved it all.

I taught 2 classes as well. A Frenzy of Fillers and my City Chic Messenger bags. I was very impressed with my students and they all did a super job. Annie and Claudio -- or the kids ... as I called them because they are soo young did an amazing job making their bags having done very little sewing ....ever ... at all, Sherry over at Irish Quilting learnt to topstitch and Valerie was thrilled to install a zip. I really enjoyed teaching this class, plus I also got to make a few myself.

Today I have been messing about with Aperture 3 and created a slideshow of the bags I have made. I'll be putting them on sale over at chubbymummy.co.uk later this week. Hope you enjoy the slideshow. It was fun to make.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On !

It's very late but I feel very happy that I quilted out the blank samples for my students at the EMQE next week. Just got to get sorted with all the other stuff now!!

I'm also testing out if my iPhone can send video ... If it does take a sneak peak at one of my latest designs quilting out. I am using 3 designs from my Blighty set for this years freehand filler class over in this Irish retreat for longarmers.

Yeah ... it works - I just love my Iphone! Sorry the quality is naff but it was 2.30 in the morning and the lighting in my studio - whilst good for quilting is most certainly NOT good for video. But now I know it works I will try another one! In case your wondering what the design is ... and I was .. white thread on white is not a good combo at the best of time for photos ... it is Script and says KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Above this is a Union Jack (with the correct proportions I should add) and above this a George VI crown. These designs, along with 4 others should be available to download from Digitech Patterns and Intelligent Quilting very soon.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 23 April 2010

free pleats with every quilt!

As she turned over the newly stitched quilt she saw it. It leapt off the quilt backing and waved at her ... 
"Hello, I'm Mr Pleat. Are you pleased to see me?" 
"No I am not ..." she exclaimed.
"Who invited you and how did you get here?"

"Oh.. I came when you weren't paying attention.
You know when you thought everything was going so well and you would have this quilt done and off the frame in record time  ... do you remember?" He sang cheerfully.

"Oh yes" she said as she sighed deeply and wondered what on earth she was going to do about him.  Mr Pleat was not a visitor she welcomed but he was right ... he came at her own request. 

"Oh bloody hell  ... I can really do without you today.
 If I close my eyes and count to 10 can you disappear?"

"No, I don't think so."

"No, I didn't think you'd be so accommodating."

"So what shall we do then?
 Can we play let's get agitated, or let's get annoyed?"

"No .. go away."

"Please play with me ...
I love it when you get all stressed out. Pleaded Mr Pleat.

"No ... its not going to happen today.
I wont be playing either of those two games because you wont be here long enough".

 God it felt good to be in control for  once. No more heart sinking moments for her. She was queen of the pleat and he would be banished forever!

"What do yo mean ... I'm not that easy to get rid of.
You will have to unpick .. alot and you know how much you hate that.. then you will have to do something with all that excess fabric .. ha ... thats no easy task.
So, tell me ... just how are you going to get rid of me?" 

"Easy ... I will have to unpick a few stitches yes ... but not too many. And that excess fabric ... no problem ....
 I will use SPRAY STARCH."

"Spray Starch .. what are you talking about?"

"Oh dont you know that old trick Mr Pleat?
You are history mate ... a few shots of spray starch and 30 minutes to dry and you will shrivel away into insignificance"

" Oh no ... please don't." pleaded Mr Pleat.
 "Its my job ... I have to be here to make the quilt look awful!"

"Good bye" she said as she took the lid of the Robin spray starch can!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

get knitted!

Years ago when I were a mere child the in-vogue playground phrase was to
"get knotted!"

I've no idea where this phrase came from but it was meant as a mildly offensive term and used to tell someone to "go away".  I mention this only because a picture of this super cool knitted bus cozy landed in my email this morning and it just made me think "get knitted" !  (Yes I know .. tenuous link but its the Easter holidays and my brain is kiddy mush)

Isn't it fabulous and what an amazing idea?  Why you would want to do such a thing is another question but since it has made the world a whole lot brighter  ..WHY NOT!  

So don't say "get knotted"  say "get knitted" 

You can see more pictures of The Mexico Bus at Magdasayeg website here :  Knitted Bus

Thanks also to Handmade Spark for drawing my attention to it!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Classic 1956 Singer Sewing Machine TV Ad

Boy ..... 

they don't make sewing machine adverts like this anymore!
Does anyone have one of those automatic zigzaggers, 
they look really snazzy!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Quilts 1700-2010 at the V&A

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to visit a preview of the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition opening on March 20 at the V&A in London. The exhibition runs until 4 July 2010 and I would highly recommend you make time to visit it.

Quilts 1700-2010 is the V&A's first major exhibition devoted to quilts and patchwork and explores over 300 years of British quilt making. It shows around 70 quilts from a cot quilt made in the 1690's to recent example from contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin.
"To Meet my Past" by Tracey Emin 2002

Mixed media installation comprised of a four poster bed,

mattress and appliqu├ęd linens and curtains

As far as quilt exhibitions go this one is very different. Curated by Sue Pritchard, the exhibition is presented chronologically and thematically with contemporary works woven throughout the themes : The Domestic Landscape;Private Thoughts;Political Debates;Virtue and Virtuosity;Making a Living and Meeting the Past.

As you walk through the 2 main exhibition halls the quilts tell a story of life and love, birth and death as well as political debate and national identity. Historic events and personal narratives are woven together and the inclusion of related materials like a makers diary and an embroidered box bring life to the quilts and their quilt makers.

I was particularly intrigued by the inclusion of sound and video clips into the exhibition. This added another dimension to the show and proved an excellent way to showcase less conventional quilt related art works. It was also a welcome counter to the low light levels which was necessary to protect the old textiles but was not conducive to best quilt viewing.

Great effort has been made to display the quilts and many have been placed on bed mounts to showcase them as they were originally intended. Unfortunately for me I felt the mounts were too harsh and the softness and drape of the quilts was lost as they lay slab-like on a box ... instead of a bed. The addition of a head pillow or an eiderdown underneath the quilts would have added height and structure to the quilts and increased appeal, but then maybe textile preservation prevented this.

HMS Wandsworth Prison Inmates talk about Fine Cell Work

The works of several contemporary British quilt artists are included in the show: Sara Impey, Dinah Prentice, Michele Walker, Pauline Burbridge and Jane Forgan, as well newly commissioned work by Jo Budd and one by the prisoners of HMS Wandsworth. Founded by Lady Anne Tree Fine Cell Work is a charitable organisation that teaches needlework to the inmates of some 26 prisons around the UK and watching to the video footage accompanying the quilt you immediately get the sense that this needlework means a lot to them. I was particularly captivated by the Wandsworth quilt. ..look closely at the detail and you get a snapshot of an inmates day in a simple hexagon block.

Allow yourself a couple of hours to go through the show. There is a lot to see and hear and to top it off when you get outside you will be directed through a shop (of course) with a fantastic line of 18 fabrics that have been designed with Liberty's of London to commemorate the exhibition. 

Did I buy any? Yes of course!
Check it out in the museum shop here!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

frills, parachutes and split personalities!

New house cushion by me!

What on earth am I talking about today?  Any guesses?  Oh go on .... have at least one guess.  I'll wait ......

Nope your wrong ... they are all types of quilt border!

I was cleaning up my computer yesterday and I came across a tutorial I wrote way back in 2001 (and updated in 2007) on how to apply quilt borders and these are some of the names I gave to the borders on quilts. 

The Frill is a border that has more fabric in it than the middle of the quilt and it makes a pretty frill.

The Parachute is a border that has less fabric than the middle and makes the quilt centre balloon up like a parachute.

The Spilt Personality is a quilt in 2 minds and has a combination of frills and parachutes.

and the 

Trapazoid is a quilt where no 2 sides are parallel.

Just my nicknames but all of them are so blinkin annoying when you are a longarm quilter (or indeed any quilter that uses a frame system).

Poorly applied borders can really give us stand-up quilters the hibby-jibbies for a very good reason ... they make it more difficult for us to quilt and if we don't recognise the issue before we start quilting we can easily get caught in a less than pleasant position!

I once had a quilt that had a 7" difference in the width of the top and bottom borders. I was a novice quilter at the time and had failed to measure ALL four borders. As a result I loaded it onto the frame and started quilting merrilly away with a heavy duty complex pattern. Before long I realised the quilt was not lying on the frame well anymore and a huge pleat was going to happen if I carried on ... I think I said "crap" or something like that when I realised the only solution to put this right was to take the quilt off the frame, unpick all the work I'd done , reapply the borders correctly and requilt. I reckoned it was 3 days work!  Never again have I done this!  Lesson well and truly learnt. 

So big TIP :  Measure ALL four borders and make sure the opposite borders are the same length before you start.

Anyway, having received many beautiful quilts with poorly applied borders I decided to write this step by step guide to help the borderly challenged.  Now its available to all of you too!

Its here in full or you can link at the top of my blog or through my sidebar links.  Please feel free to download or pass the link on if you think it would help anyone you know!

Quilt Borders

Quilt Borders for Square Quilts by Tracey Pereira


Sunday, 28 February 2010

just a messin with my iphone

I am in love with my iphone ... its my life in my pocket ! Phone, camera, ipod, facebook, flickr, bookclub and so much more. Did I tell you I love it!

Today I downloaded the most amazing app from thebestcamera.com

It is truly truly truly amazing! In one sweep I can take a photo, manipulate the image and send it in one press of a button to facebook, flickr, twitter and thebestcamera site as well. Whats more it costs next to nothing .. less than £2. 

So today I was messin with my camera . The felt flowers are one of my favorite things in my kitchen. You can get them here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

the secret life of the sewing machine!

My hubby frequently tells me not to talk to my tools and equipment but sometimes I am convinced they are sentient beings .....especially my longarm that really dislikes working on Sundays!

I found this video on youtube today ....  its 10 minutes and an ideal coffee break moment! 

If you like this you can see part 2 and 3 too here and here

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

the award of the cheesy green dumpling

Cheesy Green Dumplings
1 packet semi-dried, vacumm packed or fresh potato gnocchi.
1 jar green pesto
cheddar cheese - around 2oz per person

bring pan of water to a rolling boil
add gnocchi to pan
wait approx 3 mins while all gnocchi rises to the water surface
(as soon as gnocchi floats it is cooked)
drain water

place 1 teaspoon pesto per person onto the gnocchi
grate 1oz (ish) cheese per person onto gnocchi
stir all ingredients together

pile gnocchi mix into bowls and sprinkle with more grated cheese
use parmesan, cheddar or any cheese you like

takes about 10 mins to make!

Tonight, just as I was about to shut down for the evening I received an unsolicited breed of email. Akin to the illustrious chain letter I was asked to send a quick recipe to the first person named on the list then forward the note I had received to 20 other people. 20 people! 20 people ... I had to question if I had 20 names in my contact list that I could send the email to! My first reaction was to bin the letter .. then I thought about the person who had added my name to the list. I like the lady and don't want to upset or be rude to her so I decide to send a recipe and forward the note on BUT not to 20 people, just 10. I do as instructed and send the note with a preface from me saying I don't like chain lettery type emails so they shouldn't feel obliged to take part etc...

I feel better now and start to think about bed .. then I remember I still have to forward the blog awards I received recently and that I'd said I would do that last week! I feel very bad again. So now I must come clean with you... you see I have been procrastinating because I don't like blog awards much either. 

God, I am such a grumpy old women ... but you know it just smacks of something un-British to me. We just don't do the congratulatory admiration thing very well really here. We do pomp and circumstance reaaally well but not adulation. Mind you, I will confess that my inner child is still jumping up and down like a demented cat saying " yeah ... someone thinks my blog is interesting enough to give it an award"  but there is this bigger voice saying in a big deep voice " well thats very nice but lets move on with the order of the day"

But, I do want to say a BIG thank you to Diane over at DEsigned by Diane Evans for passing me the award of the Zombie Chicken and to Meg at Mega Crafty and Elissa at Not Just Handbags for awarding me a double dose of the Sunshine award. 

I am truly honoured that you have bestowed these awards upon me. 

Now, if I am correct I believe this means I need to forward the awards to as many as 29 bloggers (5 for the Zombie Chicken and 12 each for the Sunshine award). Well I think that pretty much covers everyone on my reader list so congratulations you are all awarded a Sunshine Zombie Chicken combo and quite rightly so! 

I expect some of you are thinking " this girl is not taking things seriously.. strike her off the list", and if you are, I am sorry ... I dont mean to be Mrs Grumpy- Bum but I have always been the maverick of the pack. However, in true maverick fashion I would like to instate a new award ... 

"the award of the cheesy green dumpling" 

awarded for the best post of the day!

So drum roll please.... todays "cheesy green dumpling" award goes to Jodie over at Ric-Rac because I liked her post about the gorgeous Mr David Tennent of Dr Who fame ... ooh!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

sew amazing!


Don't you think this "tinternet" is really wonderful?  I do.  I found these 2 super animations tonight showing how a lock stitch is formed on a sewing machine. I discovered the top one whilst looking at this rather lovely selvedge blog but the source originates from Wikipedia and the second one I found at this blog. 

Thursday, 11 February 2010

feeling lovey dovey ....

I absolutely love this cover of Taylor Swifts Love Story by Jon Schmidt

Monday, 8 February 2010

feeling slumpy!

Postcard Exchange No 1 from Emma
(photo taken with my iphone!)

I had one of those weeks last week ... you know ..one of those when you just  feel 'slumpy'. On a scale of 1 to 10 I 'd say it rated a good 8, or maybe even 9. My poor dh who has witnessed maaaany of my slumps over the last 20 years usually grins and bears them for the most part, despite the fact that I have been known to take on the guise of evil personified and display the tender characteristics  of the Wicked Witch of the North, Miss Trunchball * and Aunt Spiker ** rolled into one.   But not last week ... I managed to bring his boiling point well and truly below his norm and he let me know it too. Mind you, the fact that he has recently acquired a mouth full of teeth-straightening wire may have played a large part in his mood too. Add  to the mix that he has also stopped smoking, given up drinking red wine and eating curry ..  its no wonder his mood was compromised. His week wasn't made any better either by the anonymous arrival of a Metal Mickey poster on his desk at work as well.  So all in all we had a great week between us .. NOT!  I am sure you will be pleased to know that marital bliss returned over the weekend and the world is good for both of us again. I have no doubt that this is normal behaviour in a lot of households so I shall make no apologies or excuses but as we start the run up to Valentines Day I do want to say how much my dh means to me. I would be lost without him and as my daughter once said to me ... he is the cheese to my macaroni!  So dh if you are reading this ... here is a virtual hug!

**James and the Giant Peach

Right - sloppy stuff over ... I shall move on!

Last Friday I had coffee with my good friend Emma. She is a brick. She listens so patiently I am sure I will wear her ears out one day.  We recently started a postcard exchange and when I got back from our Friday meet I found her first card on the door mat. I love it!  To keep all the cards nice AND to display them in a way I can see them ... I have brought a 'picture pocket'  display to  hang on the wall. 

I got mine here. They have several sizes but I got the one that has 40 pockets and holds a total of 80 4" x 6" photos. At the moment I am also storing the birthday ATC's exchanges I make before I ship them off.  I can think of lots of uses for these picture pockets  too. Buttons would look fab in them I think, sewing sundries, or even just filled with samples of your favourite fabrics. I just think they are such a cool,  simple, cheap and  inexpensive 'do-daddy' that works! (Wish I'd have thought of the idea!)

This week  I have a special task to do too.... I have been lucky enough to receive several blog awards over the last couple of months which has been such a thrill ... so a big big thankyou to everyone who has passed them on to me. But I have been very delinquent in forwarding them! Seeing as I am currently in the mood for 'sharing some love' this week will be the week for despatch. So watch out .. you may have a little something on the way to you!

Until later then ...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

.. lets face it

ATC, originally uploaded by teepeequilts.

somedays words fail me ....

Monday, 25 January 2010

world war 2 : poison sewing needle bomb !

Oh my - who'd have thought it .... back in WWII the British Government assisted by Canadian and American scientists developed  a new and lethal bomb made from poison infused sewing needles!  I came across this article recently in the Danger Room and couldn't quite believe what I read ... but yes it appears to be true.

Apparently the bomb never made it into full production because it had "little penetrating power" .... Now speaking from personal experience I can honestly say it hurts ALOT when you stab yourself with a needle but maybe I'm not as thick skinned as those weapons men?

You can read the article here in the Danger Room

Friday, 22 January 2010

Snow Dyeing

I am not a great lover of snow or dyeing but combined they aren't half bad!
 Trudi over at Quilting Prolifically inspired me to have a go at what turned out to be great fun and it will be a good reminder of our snowy weather in early 2010.

I haven't done a great deal of dyeing before and its something I prefer to leave to the professionals like Dye Candy.  But I did manage 3 metres of what actually turned out (now I look at it two weeks later) OK..ish.  I really thought it was all pretty yuck to begin and vowed to leave it buried in the cupboard but on reflection I can see some promise in them. I even used some of it to make a postcard for my exchange with Emma over at QuiltFish ... but I'm not going to show you all of postcard cos she might be looking!

Now ... as I am not an expert on snow dyeing I have no idea if this is the prefered method of snow dyers or not but the method I used was simple and worked for me ... here is what I did.

First soak your fabric for at least 10 mins in a solution of soda ash. I used 1 cup of soda ash in half a bucket of warm water. While the fabric is soaking prepare your dye solutions. Again, I no idea if this is the correct method but mix 1 teaspoon of Procion dye in a half a cup of warm water. I mixed up 5 separate dye colours . 

Once the fabric has soaked, wring it out and lay it loosely in a tray.( I have an amazing tray from Lakeland Plastics that is designed to soak your oven racks and trays in and is perfect for dyeing in too.)  I laid my 3 separate fabric pieces along the tray, buried it under  2 large buckets of icy snow, then chucked my chosen dye colours on top of the snow. (Technical or what?) 

Now wait for the snow to melt and the dye to filter through the snow and onto the fabric.

 (I could only wait 5 hours for my snowy/dye before I got too impatient - overnight may have been better)

 Carefully pour off the excess dye/melted snow solution and remove the fabric. (Use plastic gloves to stop your hands going strange colours!) 

I placed and sealed each metre piece of fabric in a separate zip-lok 'boil-in-the-bag' plastic bag and literally boiled them in a large pan for 20 minutes. (I left my placky bags in the water until it was cool enough to handle - several hours).  

Take the dye fabric bags to a sink, open the bags, drain off excess dye concentrate , then wash fabrics in very hot water and synthrapol until the water runs clear. 

Tumble dry, iron and admire

...and possibly even use it!