Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Crazy Christmas Quilt

Not so called because its a crazy pattern, just because at 8pm last night I decided Christmas day just couldn't arrive without having decorated the bed!

Have I ever made anything bigger than a lap quilt? No. Have I ever managed to cut, piece, quilt and bind a quilt in 4 days? No. Do I still have a mountain of handmade presents to make? (and mostly before Friday as that's when they are being exchanged with visiting family). Yes. Did I let any of this hold me back? Oh no!!!

So at 8pm last night I madly started cutting, fortunately I had a head start as I already had a fair number of charms left from the Modern Christmas Swap I hosted. I added to this with fabric I have been hording for years, anything with a Christmas feel went in. I basically wanted to be able to put the quilt on our king size bed. I was rather daunted by making such a large quilt. So the finished article doesn't hang down the sides, I don't mind, after all it will only be used for a few weeks and is most likely to be dragged off the bed and spend half the holidays on the sofa with us!

Here is what I had by 9.30pm last night after an hour and a half of cutting. I then added some large 9.5" squares around the outside as it wasn't big enough for my liking.

By Midnight I had pieced the whole top, hurrah!

I dragged my reluctant daughter out of bed at 9am to dash straight off to the quilt shop for some batting and more red thread as I had run out. A quick trip Trago Mills (the local discount warehouse) and I had 2 yards of festive red fleece to back it with. I had wanted red flannel, I am crazy about flannel right now, but with the time available fleece will do. Then my cunning plan came together, baby girl was worn out from shopping so went for a nap, big girl was bored from shopping so went on the computer to play and I got down to basting and quilting.

Lots of piecing bits of batting together (to save money!) and piecing the back as 2 yards still wasn't quite enough and taaaaa dahhhhhhh........

It is quite possibly the worst quilting I have ever done but my most favourite quilt by far! I think just because I wanted to make it SOOO much! I had to unpick quite a lot of the quilting and man I hate un-picking :(

But I got there, by 3pm, just in time for photos before baby girl woke up. I am so lucky she loves her sleep!

It still needs binding, hey I'm no superwoman! But I have zig-zaged the edges so if time runs out it can still be used for now. Cue gratuitous farmhouse showing off Christmas quilt shots!

Sorry about the next one, I couldn't help myself! I've always dreamt of having a range in the kitchen so I had to show it off!

This next one is our Library! Big girl decided as soon as we realised we had a large upstairs landing it should be a quiet reading area. So now it is complete with sofa and a bookcase full of books. However, anyone has yet to sit there and read, we are all too busy! One day....

And finally, on my bed. I am so proud of myself. Hope you all like it too.

Merry Christmas everyone. I'm off to make more presents, wrap even more, cook dinner and cakes and turn myself into a goddess (pah!) for my Christmas girlie's dinner out tonight, all in the next hour and a half before hubby gets home! Wish me luck, I think I may have used up all my superpower making the quilt!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A little present for me from you?

Well, we are settling in nicely at the Farmhouse, today was spent throwing lots of sticks and walking the dog in the orchard, decorating and scouring ebay for shabby old furniture to kit out the sewing room. We are all looking forward to some quiet family time over the Christmas period.

I'm also really looking forward to getting back into blogging in the New Year and have plans up my sleeve for a colourful rainbow charm swap hot on the success of the Christmas swap. More on that soon!

Perhaps you'd like to share a little Christmas cheer my way right now though, could you spare a couple of minutes to pop over and vote for my entry in the Search Press Christmas Competition on Facebook? All you have to do is pop here and click like on my photo, the same as this one

I would dearly love to win, it would be an absolutely fantastic end to what has been a rather difficult few months this year. Voting is open until 5pm Wednesday, thank you so much!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Im back and im gone again!

Phew, 12 days without Internet is apparently like having ones arm chopped off. Especially when you move to your new house to find that there is no mobile signal and the home phone sounds like you are using 2 yogurt pots and a bit of string at the best of times!

But hurrah, the broadband was connected this morning! I wont kid myself thinking that I can catch up on all my blogger reading AND unpack AND make/buy/wrap Christmas presents! So its just a quick check-in before Im off to toil some more.

Perhaps you guys could be really sweet and leave me a comment about any major developments blogwise whilst I've been gone?! I'm particularly keen to know about swaps etc because I haven't got enough going on right now and life is empty without one.

Oh - and this is completely and utterly photo less. Hopefully soon when all the boxes and bags are banished I can show you the wonders of my new home :)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I'll see you on the other side!!!

This is it, the last blog post from our house. For anyone that is still listening that is! Ive been so pre-occupied with the move the fact that Christmas is 24 days away has escaped my attention (eeek!) and although I have having dreams about sewing its off the cards for at least a week still.

Tonight will be our last night here. Tomorrow we move, by ourselves with a car and a van. 6 years ago, less one child, cat, dog and chickens we vowed never to do it ourselves again, yet here we go! Now I am not 'working' it just didn't make sense to pay someone all that money when we could do it ourselves.

We have had 6 amazing years here and this house will always have a very special place in my heart. Many important moments are linked with it and we had hoped it would be our forever house. It wasn't to be, but it was always our dream house. Perhaps that's the problem, we had it 30 years too early!

I'll leave you with a small selection of all the wonderful times we have had here, with a tear or two in my eye. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, don't have too much fun without me. I may be gone for some time until we get the Internet sorted at the new house, its rather far out in the sticks! I'll catch up as soon as I can :-)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas - a time for giving, a time for getting

The words of Cliff Richard I believe?!

Well I have been giving, with my Modern Christmas Runner in the post along with my Brit Quilt Pillow to their new homes. Then this week I have been getting!

First of all this amazing parcel arrived from Australia

Which is the front and which is the back? Well I cant decide, they are both amazing! They came from the wonderful Kirsten in Australia. Have a look at her blog, she has some great projects on there.
I must say that this has been such a great swap, superb talent and inspiration and of course a fantastic swap mama ;-)

Kirsten sent me a little house for my Christmas ornament, have a look at what I had sewn myself just the day before!

Now I have a cute pair to hang on the mantelpiece for Christmas. Feeling all in the mood I dug out my lino cut I made a couple of years ago and made up some Christmas cards. I was going quite well until I realised I had already packed the majority of the card and couldn't remember which box it was in. A job to finish at the new house I think!

Then more getting yesterday, my poor postman having to carry all these parcels for me! This time it was my Brit Quilt pillow fight swap parcel and lookey look what I got, the half dresden from Vikki over at The Cosy Tea, swoon!

Ive been lusting after a half dresden for what feels like an age now. Vikki got this one just right for me, I love the shape, the colours and prints and the design.

But that's not all, not only did I receive a fab cushion but also some amazing fabric too! What a lucky lucky girl I am!

Look, sherbet pips scraps, squeeeeeee! My first ever piece of pips and yes I did stand there stroking it for some time! Fabric spends have been not so readily available of late and I have been coveting some for a while now. What you can't see at the bottom of the wrapped pile is the most perfect fabric for a project Ive been meaning to start. Vikki sent me some really cute bicycle fabric, the best excuse for making Juliette's bike bucket straight away!

I made it using the tutorial at Noodlehead with a couple of changes. To make it fit her scooter I cut the Velcro handlebar attachment in 2 to allow for the post in the middle. (hmm sure there is a more technical term than post!)

I also wanted to try and get it to fit her new Christmas balance bike before it was wrapped up. Unfortunately there is a large bar between the handles on the bike and the bucket was not big enough to space the Velcro tabs further apart. So I stitched in two loops of elastic when attaching the tabs and this does the trick. So a multi vehicle bucket is made. It is now wrapped up awaiting the new owners approval on Christmas day.

I'm off to pack yet more boxes, and maybe even sneak in another quick pattern test before the big move next Friday!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Chevrons and HST Swap-erific Goodness

Hi everyone, sorry its been so quiet on the Strawberry Patch front. My life is slowly being taken over by boxes!

I did get an amazing treat in the post this week that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My Sew Happy Geek Runner swap parcel arrived all the way from Stephanie in Denver over at Spontaneous Threads!

I cant tell you how thrilled I am with my runner, perfectly made, perfect colours and fabric and SO me! It is made to live in my new kitchen and I cant wait until we move and I can put it in its new home. How Stephanie knew it would be just right for that room is magic itself.

I just LOVE those HST :-)

And the quilters linen and label on the back are so fab, makes me want to sort my labels out asap.

Not only did Stephanie make me a runner but a gorgeous bag too. Apparently she likes her runners rather long and Id noted a smaller size on my preferences so she used the leftovers for the bag, lucky me! It is already filled with new goodies to take to the new house and decorate with. Because of course that is far more important than moving the furniture or pots and pans over there!

I was thoroughly spoilt because I also got some beautiful ribbon and  a mini charm pack that is so cute I may not be able to bear using it!

Aside from packing this week I have also been doing some preparation of this months double dose of 'Merry Meet & Make' two festive workshops at our local craft evening that I run.

I have been busy sewing Hoops and promised Laura that I would show mine, she has after all shown hers!

I am hoop mad at the moment. If I can sew it, it goes in a hoop! Again, I'm hoping to keep hold of these to go at the new house but a few friends have already said quite loudly which ones they would love to receive for Christmas! I got lots of inspiration for my hoops from Kristie over at OCD.

This week we went simple at Merry Meet & Make and made raggy wreaths, just like Hadley did a few weeks ago. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately for me) we had a full house at this weeks workshop and it was so busy I forgot to take photos of all the amazing wreaths! I didn't get home until gone 11pm after all the crafting and nattering. I did photograph my efforts the next day though

This is my funky festive wreath that I made as the demonstrator for the workshop, it is silk and cottons that I had accumulating in my stash, it is now wrapped and on its way to my brother and his wife to start their collection of decorations as their first Christmas as a married couple.

On the night I made a much more traditional mini wreath with green gingham, red holly fabric and gold ribbon. We used wire florists rings which cost less than 50pence each at our local wholesalers. They are perfect for the job and have an inner ring and an outer ring, with the mini wreath I tied my strips around the inner ring and then more strips on the outer ring giving me a really full look. On the bigger funky wreath the strips were made longer and tied around both together.

Ive got a review coming soon of a great pattern I tested, I cant wait to share it with you and hopefully there will be a little giveaway to go with it!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Scrumptious Scallops!

first of all I'd like to send a huge thank you to all you lovely people for your comments and kind thoughts. It really means a lot to me that you are thinking of me and my family during this unsettled time, even though I have likely never met you!

The great news is we have confirmed a contract on a new house! Its a lovely cob built farmhouse with a range in the kitchen, log-burner in the lounge, stables and use of the adjacent orchard. It sounds amazing and I hope it lives up to all my expectations. It will be hard work making it feel like ours but I am looking forward to the challenge. We move the first week in December and I'm hoping we will all be settled and unpacked in time for Christmas. Whether I will get to do any Christmas sewing is another matter!

The sewing room is slowly turning into a box and bag packing station, I cant get near the ironing board and sundries cupboard and there is only a sacred amount of clear space around the sewing machine. So before the whole lot gets taken over/packed up I treated myself to a little 'me' time today. Poor Jool's is cutting some teeth and is not sleeping, eating or smiling generally so I really needed the time to escape. I also found time to catch up on some blog reading and spotted the really cute Sweet Scallop Tote Sew-Along with See Kate Sew, so me time project decided! I'm afraid I didn't take any 'along the way photos' my camera is still out of action so I hope that the photos from my Blackberry will do it justice.

I lengthened my bag a little by adding a band at the top. I felt the top needed more weight to balance out the heaviness of the scallops. I simply love the look they create and used a few lovely fq's that some of the kind ladies taking part in the Modern Christmas Fabric swap sent me as a thank you. There is also an old tablecloth (that mum had a gravy stain on so gave to me to cut up) an old blouse and a tea-towel. Hurrah for re-purposing! I love making things for myself it seems so naughty but good, much like chocolate!!!

I also popped in a zippered pocket on the lining, my first time trying it and I made it up as I went, there are a few improvements I will do next time

Like trying not to catch my little handy 'key' clip thingy when I sew the top band down! Oh well, as least it is still usable and useful.

I love it anyways and cant wait to use it, I don't care that the colours are a little springtime, dreary November days need some colour.

Do you remember my brush with fame recently? Well the article about little ole moi and the Handmade Christmas Market was printed in today's local paper, page 34! For anyone who is interested you can see the article here. I'll treat you all to the photo of me pulling a very painful smile and trying not to look like a total tool! Of course I never sew whilst looking away from my machine, which is why I look so uncomfortable, did the photographer not realise that this pose was unnatural? He did seem a little exasperated when I swapped my thread to a white real for a semi-believable mock-up!

Only 1 month to the big day. In that time I have to move house, finalise stock making and confirm bookings with all the stallholders and hopefully do more promo and advertising. Wish me luck!

I have a ton of new makes to show you but no photos yet, hopefully I'll catch up soon, then it will be time to pack away and move, eeeeeekkk!

I did manage to snap a shot of these little cuties I picked up in the charity shop yesterday, only 50pence for the bigger one and 20 pence for the wee one. Bargain!