Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I got the blues

I've sat here for quite a while with a blank page, not knowing what to write or where to start. My blog is a place for sharing sewing and crafting and having fun, making friends and not what I am about to use it for. But I just need to say something. If you are adverse to negative posts, then feel free to skip on me, I won't take it personally. I like a good moan now and again but this is a bit deeper than that.

The short of it is, I have depression, typing that is SO hard. I like a good dose of denial with my depression too. I have had far too many years practice of pretending in real life that I am happy, on top of everything, more than just coping 'I'm doing great'! Everyone seems too believe me, except my husband, he can always tell. It has dawned on me that I am great at putting across this front online too. Believe me I am a happy, bubbly, jokey sort of person, its just that I have this dark desperate side to me too that I battle with and don't really like to share, after all who wants a wet blanket around? I don't want this part of me, it is a nuisance and gets in the way of life...but I am learning that it IS part of me and I just have to live with it and find coping mechanisms.

I am really not sure why I am sharing this, perhaps because I am sat alone typing, it feels like I am telling no-one. I never do this in real life. I have alienated friends because they don't know what I am going through, I guess they think that when I shut myself away because I cant communicate that I am actually just being rude. All I can say is writing this sort of helps. I WANT to blog, I know I am always sewing (I swear I would be in a straight jacket if it were not for the sewing!) but I never get time to share it all with you. Life is busy, life is hard, not just for me I know. A lot of you have your own struggles to deal with. But I have made real friends here too, and I don't want to alienate them. I read your blog's everyday, some days I just can't comment as I don't have any words. Its torture for someone who talks so much and loves being busy to feel so bleak I cant talk or bothered to do anything.

I guess what I want to say is thanks for being there for me, all of you. even if you don't realise it you make a difference to me. I'm off to quietly sob into the soda bread I am supposed to be making. I've had some lovely post over the last couple of days and I'm hoping to come back and share it with you in a much lighter fashion soon!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes!

All right, enough of the jolly Christmas makery, it is time to make things a little spookier around here!

Having my very own little witch (Juliette was born on Halloween and often lives upto it!) we have become quite excited about Halloween decorating over the last couple of years. We still don't have many decorations (why is everything in the uk made of plastic for Halloween?!) Seeing all the amazing home d├ęcor on the American blog's I decided I had time (pah!) to knock up a couple of table runners for the lounge.



For the first I made a little runner like this one made by Vanessa, you can see a picture (old) of my little witches in the back!



Then a bigger scrappy quilt as you go runner.



I love this one, it may just stay out all year! Which is funny really because I decided to cut a few corners, after all this was only going to be out for a couple of weeks a year right?! I didn't put a backing on and I used some scraps of an old wool blanket instead of batting as it was all I had. Oh well, I am sure visitors won't come round and turn it over!


Do you like my reading?!! Speaking of which, I must dash, I have a date with some vampires ;-)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Firstly apologies to Hadley, Katy and anyone else offended by the untimely arrival of this festive laden post!

But today I hosted/taught my first workshop at home in my small studio. 3 lovely ladies joined me to make a quilted advent calender. We laughed, sewed, ate home made cake, drank tea and talked and talked and talked!

I am quite exhausted but very contented after a blissful afternoon. It has confirmed what I already suspected, I love sewing and sharing my knowledge. Apparently it was quite obvious I have a passion for sewing, my ladies told me as much! I was so caught up in demonstrating, helping and explaining that I clean forgot to take any photos!

So you will have to make do with snaps of a couple of Christmas mini quilts I made this week to decorate the workshop and get it looking all festive to inspire the ladies.

Mini quilt inspired by this one here

I used the little scraps of Cherry Christmas sent to me by Kelly to make some little 1" hexies. I love this line so much and I know I need a charm pack just as soon as I can afford one. So pleased too to finally have some use for the cute little hanger I brought last year at my lqs. A bargain £1.50 I have been dying to use it ever since! I tried out a new stof linen that I brought a fq of this week, it is only £6.99 a meter at my lqs, another bargain!


As soon as I saw this mini quilt on pinterest I just had to make my own little one, it is adorable!

They are both at home in the studio, this is AFTER I de-cluttered ready for the workshop!


The girls are much better following their tummy bug and all should be back to normal next week, fingers crossed! My week was made a lot cheerier by the news that I had won a cute bundle of Christmas Fabric, from Jesse at Messy Jesse. Very timely too with all the projects I have been working on!


They are lovely, thanks Jesse! Expect more Christmas makes soon (Just waning ya!)

Jesse has just launched a fab new online shop, Sew and Quilt. 


She is selling lots of wonderful vintage fabrics, along with a lovely range of 1930's reproduction prints which can be hard to come by, along with favourites such as Sew Mama Sew, Liberty Bloomsbury Garden prints and lovely Scandinavian themed Christmas prints. I know that I will be adding to my Christmas bundle soon!

I'll be back in a day or two with a new project (as long as I get it finished tonight and I'm not too distracted by the gogglebox) and I promise it wont be a Christmas one!



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Get your pink on!

Firstly, thank you all so much for the lovely messages of congratulations on my teaching news, I am so excited, the only way it could be better if you were all there with me!

The wonderful run of productivity I had on Monday came to a rapid cease when both the girls came down with a sickness bug within hours of each other, yuck!

They are much better today but will have to stay of school so we are all stuck at home. I took the opportunity that sleepy pyjama'd girls wanting to just watch telly presented and cracked on with putting the first borders on the fractured oakshott quilt


I am so excited now the pink is on, love it even more! Next week the final row of borders and the plum, it is going to be awesome!

I'm off to rustle up some epp to occupy myself as the sickly twosome want some snuggle time on the sofa with me! Hope your week has more sewing and less sick buckets than mine so far!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Being a good girl!

I am dutifully working my way through my FAL list, ticking things off, all with the sole intention of giving myself some guilt free sewing fun time!

This morning I finally put the binding on the Dresden mini, thank you for all your fab suggestions, all of which I completely disregarded! In the end I had to go with what I had to hand and used up the apple print on white from the Little Apples line. I had to join like 10 tiny strips to make a piece long enough but it is for me, so I don't mind all the seam joins on the binding. ONE day I WILL learn how to make these joins properly on an angles, until then I am happy to carry on doing it my way!


It is great to have it finished and up on the wall above the sofa with it's other mini buddies. This wall is unintentionally becoming a little mini art wall, they seem to be multiplying! And yes, that is another typewriter mini like I made Hadley in the BQS3. I made them both at the same time, it seemed to hardly take any longer to cut and make 2 together than just the one, I am so glad I did too!!



I've earmarked the space under the typewriter on the left for my fractured oakshott mini :-)

I have also been working on saving the original epp mini I had started for the swap, I have unpicked and removed all the large whole pieces that didn't get doggified. Now I 'just' need to add more to replace the damaged pieces.

I also quilted a pile of my bee blocks that have been arriving in the post. I have decided to try quilt as you go technique for the first time and thought this was an ideal project as I want a quick finish, for no reason other than I love it so much I just want it done!

As for my big news, well, you may not be as wet your pants overwhelmingly excited as I by it, but.....drumroll......... agonisingly annoying pause a'la x-factor.........

Sharpen your pencils and listen carefully, I am going to be teaching!

My local quilt shop asked me some time ago if I would think about teaching for them, I was very flattered but as time went on my confidence (lack of) got the better of me and I didn't follow it up. After a proverbial shove up the backside from Susan last week I finally went in there. WHY did I wait? I practically floated out of the place!

In the new year when littlest one starts preschool part time I will be teaching several classes there. A series of 3 epp classes, a full day wallet/purse class and two morning classes covering zipped pouches and frame purses. I am so excited! Lots of samples to make up for the shop and 'homework' to do to get ready, this weekend I made a start on my epp sample, what else but a rose star block?!



Phew, thank goodness that basting marathon is over! Now I just have to assemble the block, I NEED a thimble asap, a soft one for my middle finger. Does anyone have a great one they can recommend? I have a very sore hole/tunnel in my middle fingertip where the needle keeps disappearing, ouch!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mouthy Squares Tote Bag Done!



Hmmm, this is going to be hard....I have fallen in love with the bag I've made my partner! 

Mouthy Squares Tote Bag by Emily Levey
Mouthy Squares Tote Bag, a photo by Emily Levey on Flickr.

I am secretly hoping that she absolutely hates it, that way I can keep it and make her something else! But I guess I will manage to part with it should she love it too ;-)

My husband so doesn't get how I use my best fabrics and put so much into these....the sketch fabric was so wanted by me for months and I put it into the bag panel the day I finally had enough pennies to get some. My point of view is that if you don't put as much into your swap item you can't expect to get the same back, make sense?



Anyway, that's me all done, keyfob and all (which I am keeping a secret until it arrives) so the first item off my FAL list, hurrah!

I think I may reward myself with some selfish sewing as soon as I get the chance, I had some super exciting news yesterday that I am bursting to tell but it will have to wait, I have a date with Merlin and a rose star block!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Just a tiny Perv

Fractured Oakshott by Emily Levey
Fractured Oakshott, a photo by Emily Levey on Flickr.
More work on my fractured quilt in the pervalong with Charlotte. It may be tiny but it is growing.

I am SO glad I joined in with this, having so much fun and getting just a little impatient for the next bit on Monday when I get to start adding the other colours!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Watch out, here comes the 'C' word....

yep.....Christmas!!!!!

I have been getting into the festive mood early this year, a couple of weeks ago a friend came over for a little workshop to make an advent calender. She had seen mine, made quite a few years ago, and fancied one for her own little family


I taught her how to cut her fabric, baste, free machine quilt and bind....all in a morning! She hadn't used a sewing machine since school. She was very happy and I was very relieved that it went well!

In fact she enjoyed herself so much she is coming back next weekend for another go and this time she is bringing other ladies with her! I decided I had better make another sample, something a bit more professional looking! The one above was made before I had 'learnt' how to free machine quilt or put on binding so it was all 'made-up' leaving the finish a little lacking.


This time I used a quilt as you go method and made little pockets for each day, I finally got to try out one of the fancy stitches on my new machine too. I just love the blanket stitch, I have always wanted a machine with this and I got a kick out of sewing on every single one of these 24 pockets, honest!!

I have yet to decide whether to add a pot to the bottom of this calender.

So mince pies, mulled wine and Michael Buble (just the CD, not the man unfortunately) on standby, we'll be pretending its Christmas next Saturday!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Finish me!!!

I really cannot beleive we are already at the 4th and final quarter of the year, it seems only yesterday I was writing the very first list!

I am so thankful to Rhonda for organising the FAL, I love to be busy but I can often get distracted, the FAL has really helped me to keep in mind what NEEDS doing, rather than what I want to do.

This final quarter is a mixture of both of those things.

1. Liberty Mini Quilt - A want to do! 2 more blocks to make, then quilt and bind

2. Dresden Mini - A want to do! Just needs binding

3. Mouthy Stitches Tote - A Must do! Finish quilting and assemble and send

4. Pay it Forward - A Must do! I still have one of these to do and send

5. Modern Stitching Bee Quilt - A Want to do! As long as I have all the blocks in and the money for the wadding/backing, I would really like this top made, quilted and bound by the end of the year.#

6. Birthday present to be made/finished - A must do! For my Nan.

Hmmm, this list seems very very short for me, there must be something glaringly obvious I have forgotten! Of course the Aneela Sample quilt is not on here, mostly because I am quite sure I am not going to have the money for wadding this side of Christmas, I've just had my last days work of the year at the racecourse cancelled due to a flooded course, that means no money for the preschool bill let alone wadding, arrgghhhhhhh!

I'll leave you with a little photo of a secret project I've been working on this week, this little beauty is a tiny 4" high! You'll get to see more next week, promise!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Spitting Feathers

I have a very important family party coming up next month....a 50th Wedding Anniversary and I wanted to make the special couple (Graham's Aunt and Uncle) something very special too.


I was highly influenced by this beautiful picture I saw on Facebook, adding in the crazy patchwork border to make it a mini quilt. 

I decided that this mini needed some really special quilting, feathers infact, because they are lets say, an older couple, I thought the more traditional feathers would be perfect. That and I am obsessed with getting them right!

I stippled the centre of the quilt and feather quilted the outer border with hearts in each corner. This is where the spitting begins. I am VERY pleased with my feathers, smug in fact. BUT I am really annoyed they are not more prominent, all that effort and they are barely visible.



I have decided that it is the scale that is causing the problem, if the stippling has been much smaller and tighter the feathers would have stood out more perhaps?

Watch out, shameless boasting of feathers coming, which are best viewed from the back, honestly!








Oh well, hopefully they will still like it and appreciate the work that has gone into into it. Next time, better feathers and an exercise in learning to be less self-critical!!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Bee-autiful!!

I'm playing at being Queen for a day a month in the Modern Stitching Bee.

This is my first ever time as a queen bee and the possibility of all those blocks I could get my wonderful bee mates to make me was just overwhelming!

I did finally settle on a block design however


I was mostly motivated by my jealousy of everyone else's stashes, that and my love of stars! I was worried about how lots of blocks made from potentially different white solids would work together....I know from the birdie stitches quilt that even a subtle variation in white can be quite obvious when a top is assembled. The perfect solution was to reverse the block, having the star in white. This way the different white will not be next to each other AND I get a little bit of everyone's gorgeous fabrics to swoon over!

I have some amazing bee mates, they are very talented, funny and sweet. My first blocks arrived on Saturday from my friend Nicky, the 6th of the month no less, wasn't she quick off the mark! And they look splendid with my test blocks too :-)




I found time at the weekend for a little solitary stitching and managed to almost make my Nan's birthday present, bar putting in the ribbon (a lined drawstring bag using Jeni's tutorial). More on that soon when it is completed....I also finished off the panel for the front of my Mouthy Stitches 2 tote, the rest of the pieces are cut


I am hoping to quilt and assemble the bag later this week once I have some pennies to buy the batting, I seemed to have cleared my bank account out on Saturday at noon ;-)


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Secret Perv

I forgot to mention that I'm taking part in the Pervalong with Charlotte. Perhaps it is because I really don't have time for starting yet another new project, perhaps it is because I feel guilty getting new fabric for a project that isn't necessary when we are broke. But Charlotte was so lovely helping me work out how to supplement my Oakshott Bundle in the cheapest way I just couldn't resist perving too!

I made up my first two sections last night, not knowing I was on the cusp of coming down with an almighty cold (seriously how can a cold not be there one minute and be full blown an hour later!). I did struggle a little, I think it was the germs though, I had to unpick one seam, not great with a 1.5 stitch length and Oaskhott which is quite thin and frays easily! I also noticed when photographing it today that I forgot to trim down one of the seam allowances and I can see it showing through, oops!

Still, this is a very big departure from my usual piecing, although I am comfortable paper piecing this solids and style really are making it feel like I am doing something completely new which is fun!


I am really looking forward to getting more of the darker colours on this and seeing how they play together, it is reminding me of a sort of 'red sky at night.... Shepards delight' implosion - hopefully you'll see what I mean as I add more of the red and crimson solids.

The Quilt Group coffee morning was nice (got I hate that word!) lets just say the cake and tea were delicious, the quilts less to my taste and the fabric on offer even less so! It was nice to get out and see some new faces, I was the youngest there by about 30 years I'd say! But unless I take a sudden liking for needle turn and frumpy fabrics I don't think I am going to be a regular! That said the principle of quilting is the same not matter what fabric you use so I have said I will join them for a meeting in January when Juliette starts pre-school full days, they've asked me to bring some of my quilts for show and tell, I wonder what they'd make of Perv?!!!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Third Quarter FAL Linky Do-Dah and a Boast!

The other day I boasted that I had completed most of my FAL list for the third quarter, my original targets are here, now it is time to confirm those finishes!


1. My BQS3 mini quilt need to be finished, quilted and bound - DONE!

 


2. My embroidery on the Frame Purse swap needs finishing and the purse making up - DONE!



3. Finish and donate the Wiggly Bags - DONE!



4. See if I can finish the top for the Aneela mini quilt, that is dependant on obtaining the fabric I need - DONE!



Not so mini any more is it? But that is thanks to all the scraps you wonderful lovely ladies sent me, you know who you are, thank you so much! Now watch out, here comes the boast! My quilt top was only featured on the one and only Aneela Hoey's blog yesterday, whooooooooooooooooooo!!!


5. Choose and make up sample blocks for my month of the Modern Stitching Bee - DONE! 

I did change my mind from my original sample, but I am so glad I did!
 

6. Make my Mums birthday present (can't say what it is because she reads this lol!) - DONE!



7. Catch up on the Zakka sew along for the weeks I missed - FAIL!

I did manage a few of the projects but I didn't quite get them all done!


Rather good in all I think!

I've got a treat this afternoon, a local quilting group are having a coffee morning at my village hall, with displays, stalls and demonstrations, I am popping up whilst the wee one is a pre-school for a slice of cake and a nosey at what they get upto! So excited, she only goes for 2 hours a week and the fact that this is on whilst she is there (next door to the hall!) is such a lucky coincidence :-)