Sunday, 30 September 2012

Still sick = Sunday scrappy sewing :)

It's only a cold but it's a cold that won't shift - after 8 days :( probably didn't help that I had a busy week at work so had no chance to rest up. But yesterday was a duvet day, I rested, recharged and dear hubby brought me soup and FAB ice lollies ... exactly what I felt like eating. 

Woke up late this morning, cold still here so didn't make it to Church but showered and felt like a bit of sewing after lunch so climbed into the loft to see what I could muster up the enthusiasm to make. I looked at this (Aunty G's lapquilt - front all pieced and the back needs finishing) but felt it was beyond me for today (sorry, Aunty G - promise you'll have it soon!):

So I looked around my sewing room and my eye was drawn to this plastic bag (allbeit a Cath Kidston plastic bag!) hanging off the end of my ironing board which my general rubbish and cuttings get put into:

I had previously made my sewing machine cover and sewing machine mat out of leftover fabric from a 1/2 log cabin quilt I made in 2011 and still had lots left so I set about replacing that CK plastic bin. Half way through, looking at all these seams, I did think perhaps this was a lot of work for a bin, but I was really relaxed, listening to the radio and having fun:

and after a bit more cutting, piecing, ironing and joining together, I had made this loveliness: 

and that really should have been enough for one day but my eye then glanced to the right and saw this plastic bag (allbeit a House of Fraser PINK plastic bag!) which I use for holding my little 'leader' and 'finisher' scrap pieces:

and I still had all of this left:

it took MINUTES (seriously) to have these 3 parts ready to join together:

and then there was this:

and all that was left of the scraps was this:

and this is how they all look together:

I'm back in my bed (it's only 8pm!), I've had some more soup and a cup of tea and have a new blog post to share. Life is good, even with a cold :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

One UFO finally finished :)

At last, I have finished this playmat / baby quilt after great advice from Pauline about adding RicRac and the fact that it is little River's 1st birthday in a couple of weeks time (nothing like a looming deadline to get the motivation going!)

Here is the front (finished at about 44" x 70"):

and a close up:

the back:

and the all-important label. I was intrigued to read all the different ways we prepare our labels on Quilters World Facebook page this week. I don't know how to embroider (I didn't know how to sew at all until 2010!) so I choose a light / plain rectangle from a piece of leftover fabric from the front, stabilise it with freezer paper, write on with permanent pen, zig zag stitch to back of quilt and then for added security, FMQ it. This is how River's turned out:

It's in the post, I hope she likes it :)

[Apologies to previous readers of this original post as I have just had to retype it from memory (Fri 28 Sep). Somehow, I deleted the post when I went in to edit it to add that I had linked this to Crazy Mom's Quilts Finish it up Friday ... also, it's messed up the link :( that'll teach me to mess about ... I should just stick to quilting!!!]

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Home sweet home ... missed my sewing :)

I missed my little cat too! But I REALLY missed my sewing especially as I had all that new fabric from Amsterdam to tuck into! I made this tote bag yesterday and today for Louise (friend from Chester who we met up with and bless her she picked and paid for her own fabric when I offered to make her a bag.) Did three things differently: 1) backed the outside fabric with vilene to make it a bit stronger 2) made the straps longer (Louise is very tall) 3) added a button and loop closure.

I do like this:

Is it bad to want to keep it for myself??

Thursday, 20 September 2012

More stash in Amsterdam!

We found the cutest little quilt shop - Birdblocks. Expensive but very cute. I've wanted to make dear SIL Deborah a lap quilt for ages and what better time to choose the fabric than when she's with me?

So this will turn into a lap quilt by Christmas:

And whilst we were there, some red, white and black for dear nephew's cushions:

Amsterdam is a wonderful place but glad to be going home tomorrow so I can get quilting! :)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Shopping in Amsterdam!!

What a lovely first day we had yesterday. Within the hour, we had hit the markets and I stumbled across a lady selling fabric (they also have a shop, so best I find that too whilst I'm here!) 

All of this loveliness for €3 per 1/2 yard ... how could I leave it behind?? To be fair, I'm surprised I only chose 21 of the little beauties! Not the type of 'stash' most people buy when they come to Amsterdam but makes me very happy :)

Then, to top of my day, as if it could get any better, the lovely Tonya over at Crazy Mimi Quilts posted a 'chat' we had over the weekend about my quilting life. Please go and have a read and whilst you're there, take a look at the beautiful things Tonya makes. Thanks Tonya, hope you have a great week :)

Friday, 14 September 2012

The best thing about being a Quilter ...

... is that you get to create unique and special gifts that generate smiles :) C'mon - who doesn't break out into a spontaneous grin when the recipient of your latest creation says thank you? Well, I did today when Lisa's fiance texted me to say, Many thanks for my Batman and Spiderman pants bag! It's fab! Just need some Batman & Spiderman pants now! :)

So, that got me thinking to whose face I want to put a smile on next ... and my new project this week is a lapquilt for Nick's cousin in Harrisburg, PA. Dear Marisa (and Jimmy) got flooded out of their home during the Tropical Storm in September last year, lost everything and are slowly rebuilding a home. I did send a cushion last year (I wasn't very good at making quilts then) but, with the anniversary this month, I really want to make her something more substantial and special.

You may remember, I bought all this fabric a little while back:

and then did my usual this week of pouring over countless magazines, blogs and blocks books for inspiration. I drew (and discarded) a few of my own patterns and decided to stop planning and just start sewing with a central block. I paper pieced it to give it sharp lines :

and this has finished at 21" ... but I'm stuck now ... what to do next?? All ideas, gratefully received :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

"Aint no stopping me now ..."

I feel like the quilting fairy has bitten me on the bum as I just can't stop making things! I LOVE IT ... everything about it and today has been even more wonderful because one of my followers - ahem, yes I know I only have 9 but ... anyway, one of my followers, my new quilting blogger friend (NQBF?) nay my 'quilt twin' Tonya from Crazy Mimi Quilts contacted me with a 'proposal' ... and I immediately said YES (I'm such an old tart!) I won't spoil it so you'll just have to keep an eye on her blog over the next week to see what it's all about! How cool ... I am such a blogging novice - this is all 'first time stuff' for me ... :)

So, what have I been up to? Well, last night a Pants Bag for a boy (well, my friend Lisa's fiance so, definitely an 'older boy'! After her baby's 1st birthday Pants Bag prezzie, I quickly made this for Lisa's Mum (she's Swedish) as a thank you for a lovely meal:

And dear fiance jokingly? said he'd like one too - out of what fabric, I asked Lisa? Batman/Spiderman/Bananaman ... funnily enough - not fabric already in my stash cupboard! Good old eBay delivered said fat quarters within a couple of days and I turned them into this:

Posted today and it will be a nice surprise for him (I hope!) ... friends and family soon learn - you only have to be thinking of something and if I can sew it for you ... I will!

And in the last couple of hours, I made my Aunty Monika a Knitting Bag - I even had some wool to put in it for her. She's coming to stay with Mutter (who arrives tomorrow to look after Nell while we're off to Amsterdam ...yay!) so she'll get this loveliness on Sunday:

I quilted the centre panels to give the bag a bit of substance and, as you can see from my superior (not) photography, I sewed a long pocket on one side for knitting needles and a diddy pocket on the other side for pins and things:

And speaking of the Nell, I know I've said it before but she really does not have any respect for my work:

I shooed her away (she wasn't impressed and huffed off) ... something made me think, take that quilt off the table and hang it up and I'm soooooo glad I did cos 10 minutes later she returned with her muddy wet paws (on purpose??) I turned around to see this:

Gotta love her, though, poor little rescued Nell who's now cuddled up with me in bed. Nite nite to all you wonderful quilting people x

Monday, 10 September 2012

Teenagers not allowed!!!

Remember last week was supposed to be a 'rest' from sewing ... well, that won't happen if you invite your teenage god-daughters (visiting for the Paralympics) to come and have a look around your sewing room and then have a conversation a little like this:

Me: Would you like me to make you a new Pants Bag? (Christmas Presents 2011)
Them: Yes please (with sweet smiles)
Me: And a cushion too?
Lucy: No, that's ok
Millie: Yes please
Lucy: Ok, I'll have a cushion too
Me: Would you like to choose your own fabrics?
Them: Yes please (with bigger smiles)

Ah, as you see, I only have myself to blame! And off they went, pulling out fat quarters, charm packs and scraps. I left them to it and went back up to the loft a little while later. It was lovely to let them pick their own selection and ordering of fabric because I know I would have chosen differently. Also, because they had complete freedom to roam and choose from my entire stash, they weren't restricted by any, 'I'm saving that for something else' thoughts.

So as not to be left out, I did invite their Mum up to pick out fabrics for a Pants Bag too! So, off they went to the Athletics Stadium at about 3.20pm and by 8.45pm, I had made all of this loveliness:

Close up of Millie's (she chose Moda Hideaway charm pack and a cream blender) :

And Lucy's (a mixture of Moda charm packs and others):

And their Mum's:

They were home around 10.30pm and I'm just sorry I didn't take a photo of their delighted faces! Maybe teenagers are allowed after all :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

4 Pants Bags, 1 Tote Bag and Ric Rac on a UFO :)

As I posted last night, if you had asked me a week ago what I was going to make over the coming week, I would not have said 5 bags and 2 quilts!

After starting the Irish-themed quilt, I was 'chatting' with Pauline of The Little House on the Hill about my UFO. I had 'got stuck' with this quilt and now I'm unstuck! Thanks to Pauline who gave me the little push I needed, I have now finished piecing the top of this UFO, am ready to baste and it should be finished within the next week ... YAY :)



I think it's amazing what a difference the ric rac makes to the letter 'R' ... and the yellow border finishes it off perfectly (well, I think it does!) Thank you, Pauline :)

And just a few photos of my Pants Bags - one for Florie (PBF's little girl was 1 last week - and you're never too young for your first Pants Bag!):

Three that I was 'commissioned' to make:

and a Tote Bag for my friend's sister (apologies for the rubbish photo taken quickly on my iPhone cos I couldn't find my camera):

A great week's sewing ... I am a happy quilter :) :) :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

An Irish-themed lapquilt

It's been a busy week! It wasn't meant to be in that I didn't plan to go into patchwork and quilting overdrive (a lap-quilt, four Pants Bags, a Tote Bag and some ric-rac on a UFO!) but these things can happen ... if you're lucky :) Apologies for the long post and loads of photos but I know I have a crazy week at work ahead ... who knows how much (if any?) blogging and/or sewing I'll get to do in the coming days :(

Starting last weekend, I pieced all of a new lapquilt for friends in Chesapeake Beach, MD. The Caldwells are dear old friends of cousin Lora and we have been lucky enough to have shared some great times and holidays with them over the years. One of the best was a trip to Ireland in 2007. We spent a week touring from Dublin to Doolin, going from one B&B to the next in a big white minibus ... it was a blast.

Some highlights:

1) Drinking Guinness (and a trip to the factory)
2) Visiting castles and gardens
3) The beautiful stained glass windows
4) Boys playing golf, girls shopping
5) The Irish hospitality

Over the past few months, I have tried to source appropriate fabric for an Irish-themed lapquilt and had lots of ideas in my head, which I would jot down as and when but I really wasn't sure what it would look like. I knew I wanted The Caldwells to look at the end result and go, "Yes, this is a great reminder of our fabby holiday" but I didn't want it to be too gimicky, if you know what I mean.

So, I looked at what I had bought, thought of some applique shapes I could throw in and decided on a simple 5x5 grid, sashed with black strips to give it a stained glass window effect. Nick (DH) was a great help, as always, pointing out placement of the blocks and this is a little picture gallery of it's journey:

1) The Guinness Block inspired by our trip to The Guinness Factory, Dublin and many pints downed of the delicious black velvet:

(that's me on the left next to The Caldwells, cousin Lora and her DH, George)

2) Castles, and rocks block:

3) The Irish Flag blocks:

4) Golf:

5) The stained glass windows in Dingle:

6) And you can't have an Irish-themed quilt without a few shamrocks:

Along the way, I learnt a few things. One, you need lots of pins if you're going to keep that sashing straight:

Two, don't turn your back on Nell mid-project, she has NO respect:

Three, don't quilt with black cotton in your bobbin and light green top cotton ... you WILL end up unpicking the block:

Four, you'll need a good pair of tweezers for picking off all the tiny bits of paper off the back of the appliqued blocks:

Put it all together and this is what you get:

The back - anyone who knows Ginger, knows how much she loves dogs so this fabric find was inspired, I thought. It's a bunch of made-up funny newspaper articles about canine capers - she'll love it:

And finally, the label:

It really was a wonderful trip, I love these folks:

Time for bed - I'll try and write a post on the four Pants Bags, the Tote Bag and ric-rac on the UFO tomorrow :)