Friday, November 14, 2014

Instagram Update…

If you follow me on Instagram then you've seen all these pictures… move along… nothing new to see here! :o)  If you don’t, then here’s what I’ve been posting over the last week or so.

First up…I did a little fabric shopping at the Bramble Patch.  I couldn’t resist this bundle in the sales bin..I also found two more coordinating fabrics to round it out to 10 lovely fat quarters.  I have no idea what I’ll use them for, but I’m sure inspiration will strike soon!

Last weekend DD1 came home for a long weekend visit.  I always find that when she comes home that I want to make the most yummiest of foods so I made these delicious Honey Yeast Rolls from Annie’s Eats.  They didn’t last long and were well liked by everyone!

Posting pictures of shoes (particularly toes) and pictures of hot drinks seem to be pretty popular on Instagram…and now I know why!  Before I knew it I was posting a picture or two of my hot drinks..but more specifically about my new mug.  I lost a mug in a dishwasher accident, so treated myself to a new one.  I have to consciously avoid the mug aisle in Sainsbury’s or I would be buying a new mug every week…there are so many pretty ones!!

Lastly..Lori Holt from Bee in my Bonnet has been invading my every thought..but in a good way.  She is posting a quilt-a-long Christmas version of her famous Quilty Fun Quilt on IG.  Every few days she posts a new block in Christmas fabrics and there have even been some new blocks too.  I started with the Christmas tree and before I knew it I was “dreaming of a new block”  (not a “White Christmas”)  I even made some of Lori’s design boards to help me stay organized. 

If you are familiar with any of Lori’s work then you know she loves to use the easy corner method.  (sewing triangles by sewing diagonally on a square) So I got the old girl out and put her to work.

So far I have the mug and the tree done so I’m almost caught up before the next block gets revealed.  I don’t know what possessed me to start another Christmas project…but it just looked like so much fun!

Until next time...♥

Friday, November 07, 2014

Making me Smile…

Ijust had to share a few things...first off a funny story..Have a look at the picture below... Doesn’t that horse look like it’s trying to say something!!?  DD2 was doing her best “Here horsey horsey…” but the horse wasn’t interested.

Then along came my husband who declared he could get the horse to come over (yeah right!?) …all he did was bend at the waist and bow towards the horse with his hands behind his back and like magic the horse came over!  I couldn’t believe it.  Apparently he heard that trick on T.V…and amazingly it worked.  Any horse lovers out there..can’t you explain that?

In other news I got these heart blocks together.  I had intended for the hearts to be going all the same way, only to discover as I sewed the last seam that I got them head to head…oh well..I’m afraid it is going to stay that way.  I just have the binding to do and then I can call this Linus quilt done.  :o)

Lastly, I wanted to share this link to an egg-free delicious oaty cookie recipe.  It was originally posted by Attic24 back in 2010.  It took me awhile to try it out, but I’m kicking myself for taking so long to try it.  Oh and by the way…it’s quite yummy if you substitute the raisins for chocolate chips..just saying :o)

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

For the Love of Red…

Ever since I depleted my red fabric stash making Christmas projects I’ve become a little obsessive trying to replenish the stock.  Last week I went to a new-to-me shop in Leamington Spa called Decorative Cloth.  I hadn’t been there before nor had I heard of it, but I will definitely be back.  The prices were reasonable and the staff friendly. 

As with any new toy new fabric, I’m always eager to try it in a new block, so I’ve been having a play and sketching out some blocks ready to sew.  I’m really drawn to the red and teal combo at the moment.

In the past my favourite colour has always been blue…but I think it is quickly being replaced by red…funny that?!  I wonder why?

Until next time...♥

Monday, November 03, 2014

Strippy Hexagon Quilt

This past week was half-term around here and to keep myself busy between day trips and the like, I got started on this strippy hexagon quilt.  I haven’t done one before, but after saving tutorials on how to make one I thought it was high time that I get on with it! :o)

To get myself started I did a little planning on EQ7 and worked out that with 42 strips I could make a decent 40ish x 45ish quilt centre.  I probably will add some borders once it is all together, but I will worry about that later.

You could cut out the triangles using a standard rotary ruler, but as it happens I have this 60 degree ruler that did the job perfectly.  I bought this ruler in the depths on Ontario about 15 years ago and knew it would come in handy one day!

I only have 1/2 of it together so far, but I’m really pleased at how well it is coming together.  All my points are matching and I’m loving how these soft colours are playing nicely together.

I have been waiting for a nice day to get some pictures taken and this morning didn’t disappoint.  Even my Cath Kidston pin cushion looks good in this light! :o)

Right, time to get back to the sewing machine!

Until next time...♥

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Update…

Time for an update. I've been having a really good time posting progress pictures on Instagram, but wanted to share what I've been working on in more detail. I have to say Instagram has really spurred me on to share more as-it-happens pictures.  Plus, getting the hearts and comments along the way has kept me motivated. Jan from Be*mused put it perfectly on her blog yesterday that when you blog you almost save up the pictures until you have enough to post, but Instagram seems to be the forum to drop in with little snippets. Not much use if you're not on Instagram… which is why I'm posting a recap of the last week or so.

So on to the pictures...

This week I found my self eagerly waiting for the fabric shop to open so I could buy more red fabric. I’ve recently done a lot of Christmas sewing and I've used most of my bright reds up. So straight off the school run I drove into town, stopped off at Costa and had a coffee while foot-tapping and clock watching until 9am struck. When you need fabric …you need fabric right?!

As for Christmas sewing, I've made another mug rug, same dimensions as last year, but this time I've appliqued a tree in place of the patchwork.

I’ve also been sewing up an advent calendar.  I saw one on Pinterest and worked out how to make my own version.  I changed the wording at the top to be more in keeping with the Brits.  (Happy Christmas rather than Merry Christmas)

I’ve also made another handful of vinyl pouches.  Considering that I made about 15 last year they have all been claimed and put to use.  DD2 has quite a few for school and has used them to hold paintbrushes and pencil crayons.  I decided to get a little playful with the fabric choices and chose some fab Alexander Henry fabric with girls on bikes.  I somehow don’t think DD2 will want that one for school! :o)

After all the Christmas sewing, I took a break to have a go at Lori’s FREE birthday block.  I’ve not had much experience with Lori’s patterns, but after making this cake block I got to thinking what other patterns could I make?!  I can see these being rather addictive and I’m thinking three cake blocks together would make a rather nice birthday table runner…

So what’s next…?  Well half-term is coming up and I have another quilt project in mind to keep me busy.  Spurred on by the fabrics in the cake block I’ve dug out some more florals and pinks.  Watch this space for developments :o)

Until next time...♥

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Instagram…

It's official... I’ve joined the online sensation of Instagram IG name sewcreateit...  I’ve been umming and ahhing about whether to join for some time, but finally this morning I thought it seemed like a good idea.  There have been several times where I wanted to share a quick snap of what I’m working on so hopefully now with Instagram I can do that. 

I’ll still keep blogging too so don’t worry..this won’t become a ghost town :o)

Oh and if you're on Instagram too, let me know where to find you!

Until next time...♥

Monday, October 06, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was asked by Susan from Wazzo! Newsbits to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop. Susan's blog was completely new to me, but after looking through her past posts she won't be a stranger from now on. She's a long-arm quilter that does some really lovely work.  She’s in the midst of moving and I wish her well that it all goes to plan.

Anyway...on to the questions!

1. What am I working on?

Well, what I'm I not working on might be a better question. As you can see from the back of my sofa...lots! As I'm running a class for the ladies at the Guildhouse, much of my time has been spent on samples. We are working on some pieced blocks this term and each week I've been showing them a different method for quilt-as-you-go. The first week we looked at this method on youtube where you bring the backing fabric to the front (see the 4th picture below) and this week it was the divide and conquer method.  I learnt this method from doing the Lynne Edwards sampler, but this video shows it quite well too.  Next week it will be the Sharon Pederson method that uses sashing.  Andrea did a great tutorial a few years back…you can find it here.  I also found a machine version that I tried out. It was good, but she cuts her strips 2" wide and I found that too fat so I tried it with 1 3/4" strips and it worked perfectly. (second picture below) So as you can see there has been a lot of sewing, a lot of quilting and a lot of writing.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Good question, I'm not sure it differs too much, but if I was to pick a theme for my work, it would be frugal, scrappy, but coordinated. I love using many fabrics and often my quilts are a feast of different colours. In the past they could look quite messy, so I'm better now at keeping some control over my scraps. For example, these mini granny squares all have different fabrics, but I've used the same fabric for the outside and it coordinates with the centre. I find that if there isn't a little control over what fabrics are used the eye doesn't have a place to rest and it can look busy.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Sanity! That's the short answer...

The long answer is that it evolved over time. I was always surround by needlework...my mother was always doing needlepoint or knitting and my grandmother sewed EVERYTHING..including some underwear (which I remember didn't have much stretch!) In 1990, my grandmother passed away and she left behind a collection of sewing notions, fabric and of course her Kenmore Sewing Machine. Being the only grandchild living in Canada I inherited the lot. I didn't know what to do with it, but it wasn't long before I bought a pattern and had a go at sewing clothes. I probably wasn't very good at it, but it was how I got started. By 1994 the scraps were starting to pile up and being the frugal gal that I am (with Scottish ancestry) I couldn't bear to part with them. It was around this time that a friend mentioned patchwork. At first I thought "What a stupid idea...why cut it up only to sew it back together again!!?", but then I got to thinking it might be a way to use the scraps. The more I got into patchwork, the less I made clothes and before I knew it I was donating all my non-cotton fabrics and perfecting my 1/4" seam.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

These days it usually starts with Pinterest! In the old days it would be magazines, but it always starts with some form of inspiration usually a technique. I love clever methods! I love anything where you start with a square, chop it, sew it this way and that and tada...gorgeous quilt! If you look at my tutorials you'll find a few clever ideas..Well, I think they're clever :o) From the technique comes the colour…mostly scraps and then I get sewing.  I’m pretty good about starting and finishing without too much of a gap in-between.  I usually wait until a have two or three tops ready for quilting and then will do a batch job of getting them finished.

So that's me in a nutshell. Who's next? Well I was suppose to tag 3 more bloggers, but didn't...so I'll pass it on to YOU! If you fancy playing along, answer the four questions below and let me know that you are joining in!

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Until next time...♥

Friday, October 03, 2014

Fancy a Friday Tutorial?

Get out your layer cakes, I've got a great idea for you. I demoed this block two weekends ago at Rochebeire and thought I’d put it up here as it is a great method to make blocks with very little waste.  And let’s face it when we buy a layer cake don’t you just want to use every square inch!

For each 10” square you will yield one block. Blocks finish at 7” (7 1/2” unfinished)

Fabrics are paired and sewn and you will make 2 blocks, one the inverse of the other, at the same time.

Place 2 squares right sides together. Cut the 10” square into quarters.
(four 5” squares of each colour.)

Make four half square triangles using upper two 5” paired squares. You can either cut them in half on the diagonal and sew with a ¼” seam or you can mark the diagonal and sew a ¼” away from the centre line on both sides. Press and trim to 4”. With the bottom 5” squares, cut off a 1” strip from the top and discard. Cut the rectangles in half so you have four 2½” x 4” pieces.

Arrange your half square triangles so they are all facing the same way. Cut each unit in half which will give you two 2” wide segments.

Sew one of the 2½” x 4” rectangle to each 2” segment making 4 of each kind.
Sew the 4 matching units together so they pinwheel.

As easy as that you will have your blocks ready.  I’ve even provided an easy PDF for you to download.  Enjoy!

Download PDF of the instructions

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Packwood House…

Yesterday I took a break from sewing samples for class and preparing notes and went on a mini field trip with two friends.  We visited the beautiful Packwood House in Lapworth, Warwickshire.  I don’t often get the opportunity to visit National Trust Properties, so this was a treat.

The original house dates back to the mid 1500’s and was owned by the Fetherston family who were there until 1876.  In the early 1900’s it was bought by the Ash family and in the 1920’s it was stripped back and restored back to a Tudor styled home by Graham Baron Ash.  As a result many of the features of the house were brought in from other sources.  There is a fireplace from Stratford-upon-Avon and some of the furniture was bought from the near by Baddesley Clinton.  There are portraits around the house that are Tudor, but the people in them have no connection to the property.  Although a beautiful place, it felt a bit like it was missing something as it is one man’s collection of Tudor items…more like a museum than a home.

I think what impressed me more was the gardens.  There is a lovely kitchen garden and a topiary garden with yew hedges that are magical.  Walking between them I felt like at any moment I would see the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland or turn and find the Queen of Hearts! 

I would love to go back with a better camera in hand to capture all the details.  So much character in the doors, in the woodwork and the stones.

We had time for a spot of lunch in the beautiful cafe.  I had pumpkin, coconut and coriander soup and fresh bread..it was delicious and judging by the pumpkins in the garden made very locally!

Until next time...♥

Monday, September 01, 2014

Last of the Summer…

Warmth? Sun? Holidays? Any of those words could sum up this post! I debated about splitting this post into two halves as it is so picture heavy, but I think the pictures together sum up our final holiday for the season so perfectly that it would be a shame to leave you in suspense.

In August I shared pictures from our trip to the New Forest, where it was HOT HOT HOT...now I’m sharing pictures from our second getaway which was the complete polar opposite... “polar” giving you a BIG clue!   Well…I guess it’s not too much of a surprise as we we did decided to visit North Wales.. Any of you that have been reading since 2009 might remember what happened the last time we were there….

Set within the Snowdonia National Park and only a 10 minute walk from Bala, our campsite (seen on the edge of the map below) was “home” for 10 days.  The owners were lovely and always around to give extra local information and guidance while at the same time running a super site that was immaculately clean.  Even though the site was almost full for much of our stay we never queued for toilets or showers..and that’s always a plus in my book! :o)

Along with a wonderfully clean site there were also a few tucked away surprises like these glamping caravans…

…and some stunning wood carvings by Simon O’Rourke.

The weather forecast for the week was never going to be that great, but just the same we still managed to find the dry patches just when we needed them.  One of our first day trips took us to the coast to Barmouth which gave us the true taste of “sand”wiches as the wind gusts came across the expanse of sand.  That haze in the picture below is sand! 

The winds carried on for the first day or so and then came a bit of calm but cold, always with a mix of rain, so we were geared up with our waterproofs that were bought 3 years ago for our trip to Scotland (which if you recall was scorching hot!).  We have been so lucky with the weather for the past few years that the tags were still on the waterproof trousers…but no more.  DD2 was permanently in her blue coat, which as you can see from the pictures became a bit of a feature.

Along with dodging raindrops, we visited Harlech Castle which provided stunning views.  The town itself is very quaint with little shops.  The beach was deserted, but we still went and stood for awhile, until another cloud of rain threated to soak us.

Of course, a trip to that area isn’t complete without a trip to Snowdon.  Honestly the pictures just don’t do it justice as you just can’t capture the scale, but rain or no rain it was stunning…

After hiking wandering around on Snowdon we were ready for a cup of tea, so we travelled on to Beddgelert.  The sun was trying to peek through the clouds, which gave us an excuse to stop at the ice cream shop too…I know really naughty having a cream tea and ice cream, but we had been hiking wandering on Snowdon after all.

The rest of the week was much the same…up a mountain (or a hill depending on your point of view) down a mountain, dodging raindrops and bundling up warm…

We discovered our little caravan does a really good job of keeping us dry…

…and that it is possible to bbq and keep warm in the rain…over…

…and over…

…and over… again!

One bonus to rain is that I did go prepared and managed a bit of hand-sewing.  I’ve been working on class samples and I’m really excited about the new program I’m teaching.  I hope there will be something for everyone.  My plan is to share some of what we do along the way here too, so I’ve been taking pictures and planning some tutorials.  Should be good!

Until next time...♥