Monday, 30 July 2012

The Return of the Zakka!

First up, I want to apologise for the lack of comments I have been leaving. I am reading everything in my google reader, but the kids just are not giving me time to comment! So for where it is due, well done, congratulations, sorry to hear that (Hadley!) and it is amazing! Normal commenting will resume, um, in September I guess!

Meanwhile, we had to stay home today to wait for a courier to collect a parcel, for the third time, and no surprise, they didn't show again today b***tards! There is nothing worse than being stuck home with 2 bored kiddo's :-(

So I made the most of the confinement by catching up on a few of the Zakka projects I missed recently. First I made the hand warmers, but decided to make them from print, I though little hands would fiddle with the embroidery.

My back sections didn't overlap like in the book, not to worry though! And it was a great idea to make them first as a certain 2 year old was delighted with their squishy bean bag like nature and promptly ran off with them, leaving me to get on with the next project....

Big sister decided it was cool enough that she have one too, so she picked some fabric and I set her to work!

Love the safety awareness with the positioning of her hands, good girl!

Then they were both so delighted with their new bags we had a full on giggly modelling session! cue photo overload :-)

Finally I found time this afternoon to turn a well worn and softened from use tea towel into the bread basket for this weeks Zakka project. Honestly, leave something lying around long enough and I am sure to cut it up!

Terrible photo, but the day was late and I was so smug with it I just couldn't wait! Perhaps later this week when I have to wait in for the courier, again, I will bake some rolls to put in it :-)

I am off to prep some pieces for the travel embroidery bag, cos I am green with envy at Lucy's gorgeous one!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

I want your scraps!

Specifically and only Aneela Hoey ones though I am may remember on my FAL list I included the Aneela Tribute Mini Quilt. I want to make a mini with a little of every line she has so far, along with my Aneela signature and embroidery (yes I am just a little crazy!)

Problem is I only have a charm pack of Walk in the Woods and a few scraps of Sherbet Pips.

This is where you come in. I need just scraps, any shape and size as it is going to be a bit 'improv' in nature, of the following lines:

Sherbet Pips

Little Apples

Sew Stitchy

Cherry Christmas 

(I am aware that most people wont have this yet as it is only just being released)

Because I only need a few scraps from each line you can understand why I am reluctant to buy from a store, it would work out very ineffective cost wise.

So I will do whatever you want to get your scraps, ie pay you, swap with you (provided I have something you want in return) make you something or just make sure everyone knows you are the most awesome lovely person on the entire planet for helping me out!

Can you help me? Pretty please :-)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Quick Fixes

Whoa, Mr Sunshine, long time no see!

Just like everyone else I guess we have been soaking up the rare rays, froliking in a last minute-brought paddling pool and generally enjoying being outside from breakfast to bedtime. The kids are warm, worn out and happy. What a difference some sunshine can make!

With all this happy holiday fun I haven't even turned on the laptop in 2 days since my last post, so apologies if I have missed something or not replied to you, I am getting there.

I did squeeze in a teeny bit of sewing on Wednesday evening, making the latest Zakka project. The Delightful Linen Pouch, delightful it certainly is! I love it, this one I am keeping. Although I don't know what I will use it for, I don't have any electronic device that size but it is so sweet I am just keeping it on my table and smiling at it! AND it took me minutes to make, instant gratification!

I used some cool blue linen I picked up in the charity shop, £2 for 2 meters, sweet! A pretty embroidered cotton napkin, also from the charity shop and lined it with some Sevenberry floral. I found the Sevenberry at my local (usually twee) quilt shop, I was so excited I nearly ran to the till with it! I am hoping perhaps they have more hidden treasures :-)

Then I just had time to whizz over my bq3 mini and quilt it and attach the binding, then spent yesterday sewing down the binding in the sunshine.

I have also discovered HOW useful bulldog clips are for sewing down the binding, they don't distort it like usual pins do, but hold it lovely and flat, perfect!

Just the label to write and attach and then I can sit back and wait for the post window, yay!

Off to top up the pool and enjoy it before the weather breaks...happy summer everyone :-)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

No time to talk

I have been busy, busy fielding squabbling children (are we really still in the first week of the holidays?!) busy cleaning and washing whilst the sun shines and happily busy sewing when I can.

So with the kids wrapped up in bed I am going to give you a whirlwind update of what's been going on here before whizzing off to do some more (or possible collapse in front of a film, I will see how far my legs take me!)

First up, my new wallet! I have been drooling over the wonderful purses Ali at Very Berry Handmade makes for months and every time i get out my tattered old wallet I swear I am going to make myself a new one. I finally did it and I love it! Best of all the fabric was in the bargain bucket at a local quilt shop and I found they also sell fusible fleece (amazing, no-where here ever stocks anything useful or modern!) so I got everything I needed, hurrah!

I took photos of it VERY late at night, hence the poor quality, obviously I couldn't wait to use it!

Next I trialled a block for my month in the new Modern Stitching Bee, Alleyways from the book Modern Blocks

I did a quick mosaic to give me an idea of how this would look as a quilt, although it is hard to imagine because each block will be made from different fabrics from their own scraps, so it will be less uniform but I think I will like it. I have a few more to trial when I get a minute!

I also finished my frame purse last week for my swap partner, I had a bit of a mare with the glue, which was very frustrating after all the care I had taken to make up a pattern, embroider and sew the purse together. Thankfully some lovely smelly acetone took care of my spilt glue :-)

The front, thankfully now glue free (almost!)

The birdie, fly!

The inside, yes, more bargain Amy Butler, but when it is so gorgeous why not?!

My not so little purse is now stuffed with goodies and ready to be wrapped up and handed to the postie at the end of the week.

Finally last week just because I could I made a quilt! It is not on my FAL list, it didn't need making, but sometimes you just have to. I had a beautiful Cape Ann charm pack from one of the lovely ladies in the rainbow charm swap, sent as a thank you. As soon as I received it I knew it would be a quilt for one of my girls but it promptly got stroked and put in the fabric cupboard, where I forgot about it!

So I pulled it out last week (does this mean I can buy new fabric now as I have used up some stash?!!!)

Love that vintage sheet stripy binding, my favouritest binding ever (and yes that is a word)

 Vintage sheet backing too, quilted with free motion loopy hearts

 It is amazing how far a charm pack can go! This is a generous fit on little Juliettes toddler bed and I am hoping it will sit widthways across the bottom of a single bed when she moves up to one as it too pretty not to keep using.

So that's me pretty much upto date. Tell a lie, I did finish my BQS3 mini today but was too busy hand sewing the binding and sunbathing to take a picture, so you'll have to wait!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Getting their wiggle on!

Hey! Sorry I have been so absent of late, I am not sure why but right now I am not feeling the need to is busy, school is out and I have precious little time to myself so what time I do have I would rather be sewing! Rest assured I will be back to 'normal' soon.

In the meantime I have some big shout outs of thanks to give.

After my post last week asking for wiggly bags for the Olivia Holmes Foundation I had lots of lovely offers of help. A huge thank you to Lucy, Hadley, Kerry, Kerry (yes another one) and Sarah for blogging and spreading the word about this.

Also thanks to everyone who has started to send them to me, I know lots are on their way, so far I have donated 11

These two lovely wiggly's arrived from Lucy along with a couple of extra 6" charms to make another.

And Hadley sent these two fun bags.

Thank you ladies!

And thank you to everyone else who has sewn, is sewing or has wiggly's on their way to me. I know each and every one of them will brighten on child's day, making their treatment just a little more bearable. It is not too late to help, these bags are needed all the time. Just have a look at my original post and tutorial to see how you can help too.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Charlie is a very naughty boy...

It has been one of those weeks....not as bad as Hadleys, I only had one real incident so to speak but it was bad enough that it has taken all week and a long lie in today to feel better about it.

It all started at the beginning of the week when I decided it was time to potty train my youngest. Cue LOTS of accidents and not much progress. I decided to stick with it though and see if it got any better over a few days. I spent days hoovering around her, poised with the potty on standby should she start to 'go'. This left little opportunity for sewing. I decided trying to finish the piecing on my BQS3 epp would be the perfect solution. I could do it right by her and drop it in an instant if needed. But then you need to add a very frustrated puppy into the mix, who doesn't like going out in the rain, and was very bored.

Total scenario......abandoned epp whilst mum deals with yet another 'accident', bored puppy see's a very bright and crazy looking mini quilt top dog toy and decides to relieve his boredom with it.....ARGGGGGGGHHHHH!

To top it off said 'toy' didn't agree with him and he promptly threw up all over the kitchen, leaving trails of it out to the back door as I shooed him out. Another accident for me to clean up.

Needless to say I took no photos of it, does anyone want to look at photos of dog sick anyway? I want to remember it like this, as it was

So yes, Charlie is a VERY naughty boy! I hope that one day soon I can muster the courage to start another one of these, that will never, never, never ever be put within dog reach. But for now I am too gutted about the loss of all the hours I put into it to start again. 

That leaves me BQS quilt-less and I really felt bad as my partner I know liked the epp. So wanting to do my best to make it upto them I poured over photo's on flikr and jumped in with both feet to something else they liked, improv. I have never improved before but I think I may again. That said I did pretty much use the mini quilt I fell in love with as a pattern to use.....I hope that's ok?!

I really am pleased with how this turned out and hope my partner is too, I used a treasured MM typewriter sent to me by the lovely Lucy and the last of my precious Hope Valley and a few other bits. Now I just need to decide how to quilt it. I think I am going to bind it in the orange praire flower DS print, I am hoping that will make the orange pop out of the quilt.

I did get more makes done this week but they will have to wait as my children are finally awake (10am on a Saturday, thank you up there!) and I can hear the youngest one trying to free herself from her room by throwing teddies at the door!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Can you sew for Children in Hospital? & 3rd Qtr Finish-Along

Today a friend of mine put out a plea on Facebook for sewist's to help local children receiving care in the hospital. They are looking for 'Wiggly' Bags which are used to hold the hickman lines. These can be made with even the most basic of sewing knowledge and I would really love to get some together to help out. If you think you could make one or even a on!

The Olivia Holmes Foundation is organising the Wiggly bag collection and is a cause close to home for us as Olivia attends the same school as my daughter. I have put together a short tutorial for the wiggly bag and for anyone wanting to know more here is a brief introduction to the charity:

The Olivia Holmes Foundation is a Newton Abbot based charity set up by Olivia’s parents Nicholas and Lisa Holmes in October 2010 when Olivia received her first all clear from a childhood cancer. The foundation received charity status in January 2011.

In July 2009 at the tender age of 3 and a half Olivia was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer in her lower spine. Only a handful of cases are identified in the UK every year. Despite the size of the tumour Olivia managed to survive the gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and operations.

After living with the treatment of cancer and side effects for over a year Nicholas and Lisa decided that they wanted to use their knowledge and experience to improve the lives of other children and their families who also experience the treatment of cancer.

With initial donations from family and friends they set up the Olivia Holmes Foundation as a charity to raise awareness of childhood cancer – to improve the hospital room environment, outside space and lives of those children and families affected.

“With hospital treatments lasting into weeks at a time sometimes only a few days a month are good days at home making it even more important that we make the experience more of a home from home than it is now. The medical treatment is first class – we just want to improve on the surroundings that the children and their “Chemo Buddy” (The Parent/Carer/Guardian) have to stay in for long periods of time”

“If we can improve the lives that these children have in hospital then we will have achieved our goal! But somehow we have accepted that the task will never be complete with the number of children being diagnosed with a childhood cancer increasing”

On 21st June 2011 the foundation was awarded HSBC Devon Charity Partner of the Year, with events taking place throughout the branches in Devon. The charities collection boxes can also be found located in the branches.

To make a wiggly bag you will need:

Two 6" charm squares (you can use 5" charms but omit the french seam and sew a standard seam, perhaps overlocking raw edges with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying)
A 1" strip of sew on velcro
Four 50cm cotton tape ties (or ribbon)

Press over one edge of your charms by aprox 1/4" and repeat to enclose the raw edge. Topstitch aprox 1/8" from the folded edge.

Repeat with the second charm, this time add in two of the cotton ties as you sew, each about 1" from the edge. I doubled back over the ties to give them a little added strength.

Find the centre of your charm and sew on the velcro.

Place the charms wrong sides together, with the remaining two cotton ties approximately 1.5" to 2" in from the top. Sew together around the 3 raw edges using a 1/8" seam. (if you are using 5" charm squares skip this step and sew them straight together right sides facing, then overlock your raw edges using a zig zag stitch, This will help stop them fraying in the wash)

Turn wrong side out. Sew around same 3 sides this time using a 1/4" seam, ensuring you keep the cotton ties out of the way.

Turn right side out and admire your very speedy wiggly bag!

Now, go and grab some lovely bright cheerful kid friendly fabric and get making one or two or three or as many as you can! They literally only take minutes and I have 11 on the go to donate, I know those kids would be more than grateful of anything you can make. If you don't have time to make any and want to donate some charm squares or supplies I know that would be really helpful too. When you are ready let me know and I will send you my address for mailing.


Onto the finish along!

Well, I don't have a lot of WIP's at the moment but I know a few things that need to be on this list

1. My BQS3 mini quilt need to be finished, quilted and bound
2. My embroidery on the Frame Purse swap needs finishing and the purse making up
3. Finish and donate the Wiggly Bags
4. See if I can finish the top for the Aneela mini quilt, that is dependant on obtaining the fabric I need.
5. Choose and make up sample blocks for my month of the Modern Stitching Bee
6. Make my Mums birthday present (can't say what it is because she reads this lol!)
7. Catch up on the Zakka sew along for the weeks I missed

I am sure there will be lost more that needs to be finished in the next 3 months but that is enough to keep me going!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Quilt That Nearly Killed Me

it is done....oh no hang on, it isn't! It is back in the wash! I tell you this quilt is cursed! The sun came out about an hour ago so I decided to go out and take some snaps of it, I tripped over the corner of the quilt and got our lovely local red mud on it!

I took the photo's anyway. I hate this quilt, I cannot wait to start using it, I wont mind roughing it up after the hard time it has been giving me!

in the sunlight you can really see the difference in the white solids I used, the problem with taking a year to do something and not buying enough to start with! It seems ok indoors though.

I quilted using a tiny loopy fmq within the white birdie blocks, with a zig zag in the coloured borders and fmq swirls with a couple of little feathers in the white borders

This is my glamorous assistant Ted, he is not showing the scale of the quilt as he is unofficially the worlds largest cat. The quilt measures in at approximately 52"x67" 

Backed using a spotty flat sheet from Asda, spot the rucks and gathers!

Quilt Stats:

'The Quilt that Almost Killed Me'
Little Miss Shabby Birdie Stiches BOM
Blocks made in Santorini by Lila Tueller from Moda
1 layer Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting
FMQ and Machine ZigZag
Single fold binding hand sewn down to back

I fmq in the large white outer border ' Some day i'll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me where laughter falls like lemon drops away above the chimney tops thats where you'll find me' using my Aurifil 12wt cotton sample from the Fat Quarter Retreat

I had just enough! 
Now I may cause a bit of controversy here but I wasn't impressed with the Auriful. It keep snapping every few stitches which was most infuriating. I changed my needle to the one recommended on the Aurifil website and went very slowly but it was little help. I persevered because I had started and didn't want to unpick what I had done, but it did take 2 sittings over 2 days to do the very small amount of fmq in the outer border because of constantly having to rethread. It may be my pfaff but I'd be interested to know others experience of this thread because I do love the look it gave. I must say that when I used the 40wt to hand sew the binding down I could see what the fuss was about because it was so smooth and didn't snag once, something I usually do a lot!

Finally I just wanted to show you a little area of my garden that made me smile today whilst I was out taking photo's. I love the ferns growing out of the walls and the fushia's up the stone steps to the hayloft, presents from my lovely mother in law.

And I love the way the raindrops pool on the leaves of this ladies mantle, they are like water gems, so glittery!