Sunday, 31 July 2016

OMG: my first link up ....

By the skin of my teeth I have achieved my July goal which was to pull fabrics and complete one block for the Summer Sampler ......  I am linking up over at Red Letter Quilts as a finish!

I know, I know Block 12 is being released tomorrow but I had so much trouble deciding on fabrics.

I finally made a selection:

The solids are Kona Cotton from a FQ bundle I won from Sew Fresh Quilts at the end of last year - it feels great to be cutting into them at last!  The prints are all Art Gallery Fabrics (apart from the bottom orange which may not make it in) that I got at the CHSI show at the NEC earlier this year.  The background is Kona Silver.

And the all important block:

This was Block 10 and is called Parallel Block.  It is a paper pieced block designed by Holly deGroot of Bijou Lovely Designs.  It was a really nice block to make and shortening my stitch length down to 1.5 really helped the paper rip easily and cleanly when it came round to that.  It's not a true reflection of the colour because it's dark here and it was taken under strip lighting.  I love the nice clean lines of this, unlike my studio table at the end!!

So, goal achieved for July but I really need to get on with this now.  I am going to try to do each week's block + a catch up block - maybe that should be by OMG for August! x

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside ....

Thank you for all your kind and supportive comments to my last post - this quilting community sure is something isn't it?!!  To gently ease myself back into a blogging routine I give you very few words today but lots of pictures!

I have a little thing about rust and lichen - so I was delighted at what I saw on Bournemouth Pier!!

My couple of days away was just what I needed,  The cobwebs were literally blown away and the sea air and coastal walks were so good for my soul.  I walked a lot, I thought a lot and I read a lot.  I resolved that I would ensure I booked time away BEFORE I reached breaking point next time so you may see some more coastal pics up here soon!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hello!! I am still here ....

Where do you start when you've been out of action for a while?  Ooh, in fact 2 1/2 weeks ....... I find it so hard to get back in the swing so I thought I would come back with something that really made me smile a few weeks ago .....

I love each comment I receive on this blog - thank you! - and it still amazes me how this whole community works - but it does.  The other week, whilst checking my comments by email, I opened up one from Katy at KatyQuilt,s I was so surprised to see that she had nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award.  Aww thank you Katy!!!  If you haven't been over to her blog yet make sure you do. Katy makes wonderful things and a lot of them - she is prolific and always has more than one project on the go.  She was very welcoming when I started on this blogging journey and more than happy to give quilting advice aswell.  I sure do appreciate it!

So now I need to list the rules:

The Rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.
*List the rules.
*Display  the image of the award on your post.
*List seven facts about yourself.
*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.
This was supposed to be "Seven Facts About Me" but I am going to take this as an opportunity to catch you up with the last two weeks so it should be entitled "Seven Facts About Me over the Last Two Weeks (and why I haven't blogged!)":
1.  I had a few days away in Sandbanks, Dorset.  These were the first days away from my girls in 10 months.  As some of you know we home educate our girls and so 10 months, without a break, left me very depleted and desperately in need of some time out!  I am questioning Home Ed seriously for the first time.  We all have our wobbles but they generally pass quite quickly.  This has been more of a slowburner and has suddenly picked up momentum and has left me in a really tricky place.  Not that anything will change in the immediate future because all the schools in England have just started their long summer holiday!

2.  Before I went away  I tried to reconcile with my sister.  We haven't spoken to each other since my Dad died 2 1/2 years ago and I thought the occasion of my Mum's 80th birthday might just be the jump we needed to at least communicate (because we are never going to be truly close).  It was not to be and, to cut a long story short, it felt like I had been kicked whilst I was down.

3.  At the beginning of June I introduced you to a little puppy that my brother and his wife had just bought home.  We made sure we took every opportunity to head over and see Molly and she had become a lovely part of our life.  Last weekend she died very suddenly which has left us all really sad and shellshocked.  Rest in Peace Molly - you were a beautiful little girl and touched all our hearts. xx

4.  The night before Molly died, I attended a 40th and drank and talked and danced until late - it was fantastic!

5.  I have won two prizes in separate link ups.  The first was a voucher for Just Sew Now which I won in a weekly link up for the Rainbow Rose QAL - many thanks Eleanor and Ruth from Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner.  The second was for a FAL Q2 link up and is for three patterns from Porch Swing Quilts.  Thank you Jennie and all the Finish-Along hosts - what a job you do!

6.  Our shipping arrived from New Zealand on Friday ....... which again has been an emotional rollercoaster!!  So many memories tied up in these things and all we have left in NZ now is a bank account .....

7.  I have cried more over the last 3 weeks than I have done since my Dad died.  On a deeply personal level everything has accumulated to high levels, the perfect storm if you will, but this has been compounded with all the tragedies that continue to occur all around the world.  How can you explain these events to your children when you can't get your head around them in the first place?  How do you give assurances to your children that it won't happen in your home town when it does seem to be happening randomly in many other towns?  What can I/we do to help? ...........

So that's me at the moment.  I realise this is a really different kind of post for me but this is how it is right now - certain things I have control over and certain things I don't.  I hope that things will get smoother over the coming weeks ... although we do have house guests for 3 weeks in August so I'm not so sure!  I need to get my studio usable again and use sewing as my therapy!
My Nominees: (in no particular order!)
1.  Kaja from Sew Slowly
2.  Kate from Smiles from Kate
3.  Heide from Heide's Quilty Hugs
4.  Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
5.  Paige from Quilted Blooms
Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon! x

PS  I have no idea why the fonts and sizes are all over the place in this place - I have tried to correct but no joy.  Maybe it's just a reflection of my mind!!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Quarter 3 - Finish Along 2016

Are you ready for another epic list??  I finished 14 out of 25 last time so why not go large again ..... In fact sometimes I think it's not about the actual finishing, although that is wonderful, but, for me at least, it gives me a chance to reflect and take stock.  It also means my studio gets a really good sort through and rearrange each quarter.  Without further ado here it is ....

Rolled over from Q2:

1.  Studio Blind - I really want to get this finished ... especially before the nights draw in and the cold returns!

2.  EPP hexagons - not touched - but I do think I know what I am going to do with this now!

3.  Crocheted hexagons - having asked for some advice on IG I now have a second plan for these, and bought provision this morning!

4.  Italian Houses - this was started in October 2015 at a workshop with Gillian Travis.  It had to go on the shelf for a while because I didn't have the right blue for the sky ..... but now I do plus I have the wadding for inside.   Now all I need is the time!

5.  Pears - from a workshop with Gillian Travis.  This will be made into a wall hanging.

6.  Hearts for Project Linus - in the new year I put a call out for heart blocks for Project Linus and lots came in.  It's now time to get these made up into tops.  I'm not sure how many there will be in the end!  UPDATED - this is done - click here for the finished post.

 7.  A Christmas top already pieced, from the same box of donations for Project Linus!!  Yet again it needs to be quilted and bound ready for distribution.  Maybe if I keep adding it to my list it will be done in time for Christmas!  UPDATED - this is done - click here for the finished post.

8.  Back to Front - this started life as a pieced backing but had a life of it's own!  With a little bit more work it will become a quilt of it's own, probably for my niece.

9.  Maia's quilt - back to 2nd plan - feathers - background fabric sorted - let's get this one done!!

10.  What was Maia's quilt - not sure what to do with this but thought if I got it off the shelf it may be finished in some shape or form!

11.  The start of a birthday bunting.  One like this was on my list this time last year - I did finish it but my sister in law liked so much I gifted to her - which left us without one!

12.  Rainbow Rose - this was started in June as a QAL and I now have to decide how to finish it and quilt it.

13.  The Stash Bee quilt

14.  The Siblings Together Mini Bee quilt  UPDATE - this is completed click here for finished post

15.  The Bee Hive quilt

16.  Project Linus - this was made by my daughter for Project Linus.  I now have quite a lot of smaller quilts to distribute so I think I will add some borders to increase the size and then quilt and bind it.  UPDATED - this is done - click here for the finished post.

17.  This quilt was made by a local Home Educators group for Project Linus.  I am going to quilt and bind it for them.  UPDATED - this is done - click here for the finished post.

18.  These Polaroid blocks were leftover from my Say "Cheese!" quilt and I am going to put them together to make a small quilt for Project Linus.

19.  A Christmas quilt - whilst it is really early for me to think of Christmas I would love to have this finished for this Christmas so if I get it on here now it might just happen.

20.  These couple of blocks were made when I first tried my Quick Curve Ruler and rather than let them sit on the shelf I am going to turn them into something!

21.  This panel was an impulse buy at the Festival of Quilts last year and whilst I like it I have no idea what to do with it.  I have decided to just go head and get it cut and then inspiration my strike.

22.  My Favourite Colour - this was a challenge run by Popular Patchwork for show at the Festival of Quilts.  The design is made and fabric has been chosen so I really need to get this started and finished quickly!  UPDATED - this is done - click here for the finished post.

23.  A gift for a friend who is turning 40 - obviously no picture here because it's secret!

24.  This is a challenge piece for the Modern Group of the Quilters Guild - "Black and White plus One"

25.  Make a Caravan Tote - pattern by noodlehead

There you have it.  Fingers crossed there will be lots of finishes this quarter.  I am linking up with the Finish Along over at Mrs Sew and Sow but the hosts are all over the globe this year.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

One Monthly Goal ......

For the first time this month I am going to link up to Red Letter Quilts - OMG (One Monthly Goal).  Whilst I do set goals quarterly for the Finish Along, I like that these goals don't necessarily have to be about a finish.  So my goal for July is to start The Summer Sampler!  Yes, you heard that right START it, when in fact we're on Week 8 already.  In fact I have to go right back to basics because I haven't chosen my fabrics yet.  Oh the indecision!!!

I bought the pattern in May and thought I would wait a couple of weeks and see how other people's blocks were coming along.  I liked so many that actually that just confused me.  Then I thought that I would get some solids and that would naturally lead to fabric selection.  The solids, as seen below were bought at Quilts UK in the middle of  May - so that plan didn't work either.

Kona cotton in graphite, silver and white
Hopefully, having clearly stated my intentions here, I will achieve a fabric selection and completed at least one block.  I have to say that I might start with Week 8's because it looks great and uses a technique I have not seen before.  Fingers crossed the goal will be achieved.

For the last two month I have taken part in #BraveQuilter hosted by Julie and Pink Doxies and have learnt how to sew a curve and use a pantograph on my longarm quilting machine.  Well I was delighted to receive an e-mail from her saying that I had won the hand dyed fabrics this month for linking up - hooray!  The linky party is taking a break for the summer months but will be back in autumn and I already have a few ideas for how to continuing being brave!

Also linking up to Let's Bee Social with Lorna. x

Saturday, 2 July 2016

June in review

It's July already ..... wow!  I just looked back at my May round up post and it states:

There were definite signs of Spring and a few days of glorious sunshine, which could have fooled us into thinking the weather was improving, she says typing this looking out a cold, grey, wet first day of June!

which is somewhat ironic because today is the second day of July and it is a cold, grey wet day aswell - oh the joys of a English summer!!

Yesterday I posted about my Quarter 2 finishes which goes a good way to seeing what I have been up to in June.

Bee News

Annah in The Bee Hive, Swam Anneliese, requested Wanta Fanta blocks in blues and white and so I made her these ....

The mini bee for Siblings Together has now finished in terms of monthly block making but I did manage to get my blocks pieced into a lovely top.  This is now near the top of the pile for quilting and sending on to Nicky.

I was Queen Bee in the Stash Bee, Hive 5, and was very excited to choose this block.  Checking the post throughout the month has been such a wonderful thing and what lovely blocks landed on my door mat in June.  I am soooo in love with this!!  It is definitely not going to languish on the shelf and I hope to be sitting underneath it when we light our first fire of the season!

Making News

The damson gin made last September was almost finished ....

whilst this year's elderflower cordial was made!

I took part in the Rainbow Rose QAL ....

and now have to consider how I am going to finish and quilt this ....

In Home Ed news we have:

:: visited a Hindu temple - which was amazing and so colourful

:: meditated with a Buddhist monk at a Hermitage - which was the most at peace I have felt in a very long time

:: visited the National Trust property at Packwood House - which was cold that day!

:: continued with piano lessons - which the girls are loving and it is wonderful to hear them play

:: saw an Oddsocks production of Much Ado About Nothing - which was fantastic and very funny

:: learnt about the history of the EU - which was fascinating (and did an old jigsaw of Europe!)

It was my turn on the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop aswell which was great.  There's still another 2 weeks to come so keep an eye out and try to get to meet some of these lovely new bloggers.  I asked people for their book/author recommendations and got loads ...... I compiled a list and yesterday started reading the first of many from this list.  Which leads on to the books I have read in June ....


July, yet again, will be busy.  As well as the usual things we get up to we will also receive our shipping that's been heading over the seas from New Zealand.  It's supposed to dock in Tilbury tomorrow but quite when we can expect to see it I am not sure.  It's going to be wonderful to see all our things from NZ but quite where it's all going to go I'm not sure .......

I have also signed up for another mini swap and a round robin style travelling quilt bee which should be great fun.  I am in the middle of compiling my new Finish Along list too which will hopefully be up tomorrow.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and to those of you in the States enjoy your Independence Day celebrations! x


I am so pleased to announce that my new website has been launched.  It's taken me some time to build and it's not all finished yet b...