Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Big pouch, Little pouch, Cardboard box

Ok so I lied about the cardboard box, but does anyone remember those dance moves?!

I have a gazillion things I should be doing, we all know how it goes though. The slightest temptation is enough to draw me away from things that need doing to things that shouldn't really be done.

I spied Katy's gorgeous little 9 patch pouch over on the Sizzix blog on Monday, the rest is obvious....


A big pouch for the man's birthday next week, using up an orphan block made from every last teeny tiny scrap of Oakshott Lipari that the lovely Karen sent me in my secret santa. Its a biggun at about 13" for y'know, man stuff!

big pouch

I also had to make up a little cutesy 9 patch for me, just because I deserve it so much ;-) I used some of my precious scraps, some silver ricrac and the very last of my yellow Annie's Seed Catalogue print for the tabs.

little pouch

And the pretty pouches just keep coming, I won this lovely from Sarah at Silly Banana Sewing


The pouch is beautifully made, the zip ends are so neat as well as the piecing and it is lovely and solid. I'm going to be using to take my epp out and about everywhere with me in the hopes I will finally get the rose star quilt top pieced! And the Summersville was a lovely bonus as I have neither of these prints in my stash, thank you so much Sarah! (And i hope the sickness leaves your house soon! x)

Monday, 21 January 2013

I'm following the leader, the leader, the leader

its happened again, I've been sucked into the latest Instagram QAL craze, this time + and x blocks.

I had made up a few (8) blocks last year and totally loved them, but knew I probably didn't have the patience to make a whole quilts worth. Trouble is I loved them so much I knew only a quilt would do.

these are addictive!

Then hot on the heels of the scrappytripalong came the idea from certain persons that the + and x block would make the ideal replacement, for those whose lives were lacking in a crazy haze of piecing having finished their scrappy trip quilts.

How could I resist. It seemed perfect. I had also been toying with asking for this block in my bee next month and when Januarys queen asked for AMH feather blocks (my other option in my head) I knew it was destiny.

So hopefully 20 blocks from my bee buddies (perhaps more if they love me and/or get carried away, I won't say no!) plus the 8 blocks I already had, I reckon I needed to add another 20 to this myself to make it a decent size quilt. I have a big workshop this weekend with lots of prep to do, the studio must be clean and clear, so I've set myself a target of 5 a day to get them done and give me time to do prep/cleaning before Saturday. This is where I am at so far

+ and x to date

Love love love them! I have 10 left to do but I am starting to run out of low volume/fresh light colour fabrics. Hopefully I can eek it out.

Over the weekend I finished off my crochet cowl and have been wearing it ever since, so cosy! I have started a jumper for Jools. A little experimental and I am not sure it will work but if it doesn't I  can always turn it into a cushion cover ;-)

I've also been doing a spot of dressmaking, IG peeps will have seen already but I will hopefully get some good photos to share soon. I hadn't realised how much I missed it, I have fabric on the way for a washi dress and can't wait to get started.

I have to go clean and organize and plump cushions as we have a rental inspection tomorrow (groan) and hopefully squeeze in some xplusalong-ing!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Footstool Make Over - Or where I patchwork anything that stands still in our house!

Yep, that's right, stay still too long in this house and I will patchwork it!

I brought a second hand foot stool last year. It is lovely and big and comfortable. Great for resting legs on whilst watching movies and useful extra seating when lots of visitors arrive. I really liked it, the price of £15 helped with that too! Only trouble is I wasn't so keen on the twee Laura Ashley style fabric

footstool before

Perfect for my Mum perhaps but us not so much, the fabric was loose too and irritatingly sloppy on the sides. I knew I would re-cover it, toyed with the idea of using some precious stashed Echino, the idea being I could gaze upon it and enjoy it daily, rather than it being hidden in the cupboard.

Then last week I made up my January bee blocks for Lucy in the Bee a Brit Stingy. Me being stingy managed to make my strip piece go a long way and got 5 feather units out of it by joining up all the cut offs and so on. Two were sent to Lucy and the other 3 got some rather special treatment.

I have wanted to make a feather quilt for ages, I loved Charlotte's and was a bit jealous when Lucy chose them for her month (I am next months queen) so I was chuffed to have some of my own but knew I couldn't face making a whole quilt of them. Then I stumbled across this amazing cushion by Amanda of A Crafty Fox

Isn't it just gorgeous! I would give my kidneys for a cushion like that, I just love everything about it. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I really hope Amanda agrees because I just knew this was what I had to do to my footstool and those spare feathers.

So with a lot of careful cutting of very precious fabrics and some meticulous sewing - random can be so difficult and time consuming when you are trying to to waste even a fraction of special fabrics - I had a pieced top to fit the footstool. I then free motion quilted it in a wood grain effect (just like Amanda, eeek I am such a copy cat, but I loved it so much I couldn't help myself!) best seen from the back
woodgrain quilting on footstool

Not great, but not hideous which is great considering it will be on display for all to see in the lounge. I then did a little pearle hand quilting around the feathers and wonky star I had added to help them stand out, sewed the corners up, stapled it to the footstool top and hey presto!

finished footstool

I have the worlds swankiest most amazingest footstool EVER!

finished footstool1

I was really very brave and cut into some of my treasured Heather Ross along with text fabrics and hand printed fabric from friends. It was scary (I bet a lot of you know how that feels!) but I am so glad I did. Yes I might not have as much stashed as I did and yes I can't get any more BUT I see it every single day rather than occasionally stoking it and putting it away again.

finished footstool2

I hope you like my makeover too, I'm off to see what else I can cover in patchwork....don't tell the husband ;-)

finished footstool3

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Suffering for my art

I am in pain, lots of tiny holes and flaps of loose skin on my fingers as I've been trying to sew together all my rose star epp blocks into a quilt top.

Rose star epp progress

Trouble is now the holes are there the needle keeps sliding into them when I try and push it through the fabic - ouch! I must naturally use the same spot over and over. I need a thimble I guess but I cant find anything I get on with.

I've been going since Sunday night, it feels longer and I need a break! But, I am so desperate to get this done, aside from the fact that it is in a very delicate state now and I have no where to lie it out except on the floor - where the dog keeps walking over it! I think it will be much safer finished and basted...if I ever get there!
Rose star epp progress1

All my background pieces are cut and basted and I just have one missing block to make up, I feel so close to being done yet so far!

Giving my fingers a little break tonight with something slightly larger than my epp needle - a crochet hook. I am trying to teach myself a little more crochet and finish a ribbed cowl in some lovely alpaca blend yarn, hopefully in time to wear when the snow arrives. We haven't had any yet so I am not holding my breath, its not called the English Riviera here for nothing!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Hi Friends! How I have missed you. Life has been very busy, with ups and downs. Unfortunately the reunion I speak of occurred last week when my family gathered together to say goodbye to my beloved Nannie. She was very ill towards the end of last year and sadly passed away just a few days before Christmas, hence some of the reasoning behind my absence from the blog for so long.

My Uncle read the wonderful poem Leisure by William Henry Davies, such a moving verse, in particular  it reminds me how quickly life can rush along and how we should make the most of what we have. My youngest started preschool just this last week, meaning our time at home together is soon to end. Seeing the family all together was a lovely thing and despite the sad nature of the reunion it was a truly wonderful day, full of love, beautiful memories and joy at seeing each other again. We are all guilty of trying to cram too much into our lives, busy rushing around and it can be easy to forget to slow down and take pleasure in simple things.

I am lucky enough to now have a couple of days child free each week to enjoy some of the things I love - having a clean house, sewing, reading, catching up with friends, writing to family who live afar. I am hoping to visit the blog more often too and I have some exciting new collaborations lined up along with lots of classes and workshops - I am really loving teaching sewing and quilting At the same time I am giving myself permission to NOT do things too, something that does not come easily to me! 

Also a welcome to my new readers, I know that Craftseller magazine this month have joined the appeal for Wiggly Bags for The Olivia Holmes Foundation. 

If you are looking for the Tutorial for making your own wiggly bags to donate this can be found at the top of my page or by going here.

My blog readers donated over 100 bags last year, an amazing achievement from as far afield as America, well done ladies! This is an ongoing appeal and you can help at any time, giving a child a bit more brightness and fun to their medical treatment. If you need any help with the tutorial or are a supplier who may be interested in providing materials to make these important wiggly bags please don't hesitate to contact me!

In the meantime, I am busy trying to round up some photos of what I've been up to over the last couple of may take awhile! If you follow me on Instagram you'll know I have been keeping myself busy ;-) Lots of quilts (no less than 5 I think!) bee blocks and numerous small projects. I will leave you with my favourite photo, and yes, it is another scrappy trip along - I got swept up in that qal wave that crashed through IG over new year too!

Scrappy trips top finished