Thursday, December 31, 2009

My DD2 creative process...

Amongst the gifts my DD2 has received for Christmas.  The Usborne Drawing Animals Book has been a winner.  The book shows a variety of drawing techniques and for my daughter who loves animals and loves drawing this has been fabulous.  She insisted I share her drawing from yesterday...honestly...she kept saying will you put this on the internet!! :o)

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Little round up before the end of the year...

Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. I did and I still am.  The lazy days between Christmas and New Years are wonderful and I'm thoroughly enjoying the time with my family.

Santa ;o) came to visit

My DD1 got me some Tilda Fabrics...

And my DH got me a new lens for my camera...a 50 mm 1.8 (for those interested in the technical side)  It will allow me to get a very shallow depth of field and to take pictures in lower light.  The picture of Santa above was taken without a flash.  And the picture below shows the shallow depth of field.  The only challenging thing about my new lens is that with my camera body it can't auto-focus sooo it is back to basics for me and learning how to manually focus.  I got some hit and miss shots over Christmas, but I reckon with more practice I'll get the hang of it.  You might wonder why it didn't get the one with auto-focus and the reason is that it was 3 times the price!! 

Also with a change in routine and less running around I have been able to return to some hand stitching and have started another hand-applique project.  I'm using Sharon Schamber's method of needle turn using a sew and wash stabilizer.  I'm using Floriani Stitch 'n Wash and I'm loving the results.  I think I might have this needle-turn method cracked. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Wishes

Hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas.

Until next time...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last minute Christmas Crafts

I just couldn't resist making a couple more birds for the tree.  They are so quick to make and make great gifts!  The ones I made here have all but one gone to new homes.

More Patchwork Pottery Birds

Only a few days to go until the big day.  The children are finally off school and we have great plans of crafts and cookies (of may never happen...but it is the thought that counts!! LOL)  I'm trying to kick a cold that DD2 brought home from school and DD1 is doing her best to keep it away...though I suspect it might have already taken hold.  Tis' the season after all!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simon's Cat Christmas Message

I *love* Simon's Cat...and this last installment is hilarious!

For more videos check out The Simon's Cat Youtube Page

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The decorations are up and the cards are sent...

I have finally caught up on the early Christmas chores of the season.  The decorations are up, the cards are sent, the teacher's gifts are bought and wrapped and I can finally breathe a little sigh of least for a day or two. :o)

My daughter, who is as passionate about knitting as I am about quilting, made me this lovely English Christmas Pudding for the tree.  I was absolutely thrilled with it and will hang it on the tree for years to come with pride! 

I, too, had a go at making some decorations.  These little birds are made from the Patchwork Pottery pattern designed by Laurraine.  If you fancy a go yourself, you can find the pattern on her ETSY shop and read her blog HERE.  Her work is just beautiful!

Lastly, I thought I would reveal the answer to the riddle in my last post.  This is what was under the presser foot and is now under my Christmas tree!  I have been meaning to make a tree skirt for a number of years and this year I decided it was high time I got it done...of course starting on a tree skirt in November does provide a challenge or two and I very nearly didn't have it done in time.  Well, I say in time, in time according to my children!!

Until next time...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Still here...

Just a quick update to say I'm still here..I'm just in the thick of some frantic sewing.  Here is a sneak peek of one of the items I've been working on..a full reveal will follow shortly.  I had hoped to sew this all by hand, but the time just wasn't there so I've machine applique and machine quilted this item and I'm thrilled will the results.

Until next time...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Symmetry Challenge

The Photograph This! Flickr Group's new challenge is symmetry. These are my favourite three of the five photos I submitted.  They were all taken in the town centre of Rugby.  It's amazing what you can see when you are looking for it! LOL

Symmetry challenge 5

I have always admired the architecture of the building above.  Such detailing in those columns.  The picture itself was cropped and a texture added in Gimp.

Symmetry challenge 1

These are the back doors to St. Andrews Church in Rugby Town centre.  I love how the morning sunlight caught the shapes in the wood.

Symmetry challenge 2

This has to be my favourite of the bunch.  I made it black and white and then colourise it with a sepia tone...nice and moody and old looking :o)

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have a guess...

o you know what this is? 

It's out-of-focus raindrops!!  Aren't they pretty!
Below is the same picture, but in-focus.  Who knew my kitchen windows could be so interesting!!

Until next time...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ooops where did the time go?!

It was never my intention to be away for so long and I wish I had a picture heavy post to show I'd been spending the time sewing...but alas it is not the case...well that isn't exactly true.  I have been sewing bits and pieces, but nothing really worthy of being photographed.  I, believe it or not, have started a tree skirt which I'm hoping to have finished in time to be of practical use this year and as soon as there is something to show I will :o)

One of the things that took a lot of my time last week was the cutting and assembling of charm squares which were given out as a early Christmas gifts to my sewing group.  The work was divided between three of us but it still seemed never ending!  I love this pic I snapped of them all stacked up.

Until next time...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another one for Project Linus

You're going to like this one :o)  A little while back Lynda gave me some large 1/2 square triangle blocks that someone else made and donated to Linus.  I had seen a technique that made good use of these types of blocks and I thought I would share it with you.

First you need a selection of large 1/2 square triangle blocks that measure a raw size of 7.5", 9" or 12".  The size doesn't really matter as long as the are all the same size and the number is divisible by 3.  In my case the blocks Lynda gave me were 10" so I squared them down to 9" before I moved onto the next step.  Once you've got your blocks cut them equally in thirds both ways.  In my case my 9" block gave me 9  - 3" blocks.  3 little 1/2 square triangle blocks and 6 solid blocks 3 of each colour. This technique would work great for blocks that had a high contrast between the two a light side and a dark side.  But in my case my blocks seem to fall into red and greens and yellows and this provided a design challenge.  Are you still with me?

Once all the blocks were chopped up I then started rearranging the little blocks into new 9 patch blocks.  I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of this step so look at the next picture at the basting stage and you should be able to see what I did.  I kept all the reds together and all the greens together and spaced out the yellows to create a repeating pattern in the corners.  You can see how this pattern would work really well with lights and darks.

Here is the finished quilt, all machine quilted and ready to by past on to Linus.  I could have sewn the 1/2 square triangle blocks together, but chopping them up and playing with colours created something a bit more interesting....or at least I think so :o)

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pictures to Share

I have three pictures I want to share.  The first is a picture that I've added to the PhotographThis! Pool on flickr.  Kitty told me about the group and suggested it would be a way to stretch my photography.  The current theme of this challenge is chair/bench so I took a picture of the stocks.  This was literally taken as I was on the school run with my daughter.  It is the newly built stocks in the village.  I think the old ones had rotted away and although they aren't used now (thank goodness!) they would have been used in medieval times as a form of torture, public humiliation and corporal punishment.  More info HERE is you are interested.  I used Gimp to age the picture in an attempt to make it look more oldy-worldy.

Stocks in Village

Next is this delicious mocha coffee that my lovely DH bought me on Sunday.  I think everyone was getting hearts on their drinks, but I like to think he asked for it especially for me :o)  It's not often that we get a chance to go for coffee as two adults (sans enfants) so it was extra special.

Lastly I had to share this fab picture I caught of the moon.  For those of you intrested in the technical side.  I used a manual setting aperture f/11.0, shutter 1/200 sec and a 200mm focal length at iso 200. (following the Moon f/11 rule)  I was "over the moon" with how well this came out!!

Until next time...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bonfire Night 2009

Over the weekend we celebrated Bonfire Night.  We got together with some friends, had hotdogs and roasted marshmallows over a BBQ.  This bucket BBQ was perfect and it was a great way to keep warm!  Who needs a patio heater!?

Although this bolt of light is going up, I thought it almost looked like an alien hit from outerspace!  I love taking pictures of the fireworks as it captures what is too fast for the human eye to see.

Until next time...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Review 2009

Another Halloween done and dusted.  Every year Halloween seems to get a little bit more popular here in the UK and every year there are more and more decorations to be found.  Even the cost of a pumpkin has gone down in price.  Seven years ago I can remember spending £4 on a pumpkin...I know, madness spending that much only to carve it up and then throw it away!!  This year I spent £1.50 per pumpkin and splurged and bought 2.  The girls had a wonderful time designing the faces and my eldest was allowed to carve hers completely on her own...I just looked away while she was using a knife!!

Until next time...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quilt For Project Linus

Another quilt completed for Project Linus. The blocks are choppy stars à la Buggy Barn style and the quilt is sashed using scraps of blue fabric from my 2 1/2" scrap bin. I'm really pleased how this one turned out.  The pink fabric used in the borders was one I got from Lynda from the Linus fabric bin.  I thought it went well with the stars..bright and cheerful!

I machine quilted around the squares and then did some big stitch hand quilting in the stars with some crochet cotton that I picked up at the car boot for 50p.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Ramblings...

Over the weekend we visited some friends for Sunday lunch and while I was there I snapped a few photos from around their home that I thought would be interesting to share. 

They have 4 chickens which they keep for is just one of them that I managed to catch on camera.  It wasn't easy as these birds never stay still!!

In their kitchen they had this lovely ceramic chicken..just as cute as the real thing ;o)

On the front of their house which dates back to 1836 they have a RoyalMail mail box which is still in use.  Apparently there aren't very many boxes that have V R on them from the Victorian Reign (most have G R from George V or E II R from Elizabeth II)  Just a little piece of history that you just don't see everyday.

Many thanks to D & S for letting me snap away... :o)

Until next time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

A bit of sewing going on...

It's birthday season, or so it seems, and my DD2 has had a couple of friends who have recently celebrated their birthdays.  In an effort to be a bit more creative, I've made aprons for the girls and then bundled that with a cookbook, a wooden spoon and some cupcake papers.  I think there is nothing better than baking with children and whipping something sweet up.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Primitive's Giveaway

Don't miss this great giveaway on Brenda's blog!!  Hop on over to the Pumpkin Patch and sign up!!!  If there are more than 350 entrants then there will be 3 winners...the count at the time of this posting was 319!!! 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Photos

The past weekend I took the children for a walk in Coombe Abbey near Coventry. The colours are always so pretty at this time of year.

After seeing some pictures on flickr using textures to enhance pictures I thought I'd have a go too.  The effect is very subtle on the picture above but I think it adds something to it.

In this picture I wanted to highlight the golden leaf so I darked the leaves around it and the edges of the picture to frame it.

You wouldn't know it, but right after I snapped this picture my DD2 fell off the log!  I literally managed to capture a moment in time! LOL
This picture was enhanced using a Gaussian Blur effect.
Until next time...

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New "Do"

This seems a little weird posting a picture of myself on my blog, but as my friends and family read my blog (or so I think) It gives me a chance to update everyone all at once.  I've had a completely new do...gone are the curly locks (and grey hair)!!  My DD1, who kindly took this picture of me, thinks I look younger :o)  Did I tell you what a great kid she is!! LOL
You'll notice I've updated my profile picture too. 

Until next time...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vintage Love...

During my mother's visit a lovely squishy package arrived in the post.  I had complete forgotten that I was a runner-up winner of Evelyn's giveaway on her blog Use the Loot.  It was a wonderful package of 6" vintage sheet squares, which in my opinion are all ready to be sewn together.  Over a cup of tea, my mom and I looked through all the prints.  There was more than one pattern that my mother recognized and she told me how she was still using some of the percal sheets my grandmother bought all those years ago..."ah they don't make sheets like that anymore", my mother said.. 

Now all I have to do is convince my mother that they would look much better cut up into squares and sewn into a quilt! ...hmmm not likely!   :o) 

Until next time...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lutterworth Piecemakers Quilt Show

This morning, my mom, my DD1 and I went to the Lutterworth Piecemakers Quilt Show at the Walcote Village Hall.  There was such a variety of quilts to look at and many friends to catch up with.

So much to look at!

So much talent!

Another quilt as a result of the Rocheberie Mystery Quilt Day.  I love how bright and cheery it is.

Love all the blues in this quilt.

This quilt made by a very talented lady is so Christmassey  (is that a word???) 
Just makes you want to curl up in front of the fire with some hot chocolate.

I love the colours Lynda used in this

This quilt was all hand-pieced and hand-quilted!  Just beautiful!

Until next time...