Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Giveaway Winner ... Winners!!

Hey lovely quilters, I am pleased to announce the winner of my birthday giveaway - oh, what the heck, let's have more than one winner!!

Because you all left comments and guesses over 3 posts (and some had multiple wrong guesses!!), the fairest way was to write everyone's name on a piece of paper once and then write the names of those who guessed correctly on another piece of paper (so getting two chances.) 

The correct guess was SNOOKER!! Yes, dear Jackie is an avid and passionate snooker fan (well, it takes all sorts as my Nen used to say!)

Here's where I'm up to so far - a long way still to go and I will have to sort my balls out - they don't look too bad here but close up .... hmmmm:

So, names in a bag, shake 'em up! The winner of my rainbow colours (Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Orange and Purple and Blue) pack of fat quarters (FYI, there's a couple of 1/2 yards in there):

is ... drum roll, please:

Well done, Fran (@ Patchy Rose) Congratulations!! You get the FQs and I will also make you a purple Pants Bag :)

But you all made this such fun (my little band of munchkins!) and it is still my birthday week (until midnight tonight!) and I got lots of nice presents and cards and had a fabby night out, I wanted to share the giveaway love a bit wider! So, next out of the bag is:

Congratulations, Shauna (@ lovingquiltin) but you'll have to let me know what you'd like - a Pants Bag, a Cushion or an iPad Case :)

and one more? Ok then, you twisted my arm:

Congratulations,  Nina (@ Quilts, Life and Balance) I will also make you a Pants Bag in the colour (s) of your choice :)   

What fun - I really am very fond of you all - even though we've never met and, sadly, probably never will :( you make me smile with your wonderful comments and I love our exchanges, visiting your blogs and getting to see what you make.

I will email all the winners to request posting details and confirm those orders! Thanks to everyone for joining in - I wish you could have all won ... still, there's always next time!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Making balls ...

Although they're not very round! Does anyone know how to make appliqu├ęd circes without lumpy edges??

I have started today on my new project blogged about in my giveaway posts here and here.

I have done some drawings and think my finished quilt will be around 75" x  50" so I cut my background fabric into 9" squares - it was tight ... this was the last cut and just look at that pretty pink rotary cutter :)

I need to make a lot of balls ... and applique them onto the background fabric.  I also need to make corners and pockets ... here I go ... AGAIN - why couldn't I make this easy on myself?? 

Using my button tin for the 'pockets':

Here's the story. We have a dear colleague at work - Jackie - she's retiring after 42 years service. As is tradition, she will have a leaving party in June and there will be a collection amongst the team for a gift. I don't know Jackie that well but she's a character and when I started to think about her leaving gift, I just felt ... unhappy? ... that she would leave after 42 years with a card and a good present but perhaps without a sense of what she's given to our organisation and what she's meant to the team. 

We had one of our weekly management meetings and the thought just came to me (Don't tell them - I often dream about quilts during these meetings!) ... I'll make her a quilt. And I'll get all the Team Leaders to sign a patch with their personalised message which I'll sew into the back. Brilliant ... what could be easier? 

'Any other business?', the boss asked and I floated my idea. They LOVED it! 'The only thing is,' I said, 'is that I don't know Jackie that well - what she likes, what she doesn't like so does anyone have any ideas?' 

One more clue (if you haven't got it already), as my colleague pointed out - every year (at this time), Jackie takes 2 weeks leave to watch this tournament, televised every day from a city called Sheffield. She loves it that much! So that's why there's wood, green fabric and lots of balls :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Giveaway / Birthday updates :)

Once upon a time, a birthday girl got up at 0530 for work. Having worked a full day, she met her DH in the pub near Earls Court and they had a drink:

The happy couple then skipped their way to a floating pub on the River Thames and had another drink whilst admiring the view. Look at that sky! Has Spring finally arrived?

Now, as 12 hours had passed since the birthday girl woke up, the sensible thing would have been to NOT have another alcoholic drink. So, they left the floating pub and made their way to a tasty Italian Restaurant just off the Strand ... but birthday girl was a THIRSTY girl:

Which is why birthday girl looked a little 'special' when she arrived at the theatre two hours later!!

What a most enjoyable night. Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen played their lead parts brilliantly. The cast were so talented and believable, the music was sublime, the story was cleverly adapted for the stage,  there was an excellent mixture of humour and drama and Ms Headley's vocals were outstanding - all the audience were singing and rocking on their feet to the encore ... in short, it was an INCREDIBLE show!!

Birthday girl was very sleepy on the train home and had no energy for sewing after a day at work (what a surprise!!) so no Friday Finish today :(

But, birthday 'miniature' cabinet is slowly getting filled with scraps:

And a surprise present from my little sister arrived through the post: 

And I have loved your guesses at the next project! To recap, from these fabrics:

I will start tomorrow to make a sporting themed quilt - a sport played between 2 opponents.  Do you need another clue?

These are the fat quarters you can win, as well as a gift of your choice. Sadly, as can be seen, our sunshine didn't stick around today:( 

Full Giveaway details on this post.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Birthday Giveaway :)

Thank you for all my birthday wishes - I'm 45 today ... that seems such a big number but I'm not counting!! I have had a lovely day - worked the first half of the day and came home to lots of cards and prezzies and DH had bought me flowers and put some pink bubbles in the fridge which we're now drinking ... Mmmmmm :)

We're chilling at home tonight (hence my blogging!) as my 'birthday night' is a West End dinner and The Bodyguard musical on Thursday night ... yay! I love the film (must have seen it a dozen times) and I hear the singing performances are fantastic - I'll let you know :)

My bestest two presents were sewing related ... of course! Firstly, I have wanted a pink rotary cutter for like forever. Don't ask me why ... it's just a 'tool' (apparently!) so it shouldn't matter but I wanted one. 

You can't buy them anywhere in the UK, I couldn't even find them in the good ol' US of A but 'down under', they sell them! And if you find a lovely eBay seller like Shelley, she will post stuff really quickly from Australia to the UK :) So, here's present #1:

Now, present #2 is another eBay find. Note to self: 'read the product description properly'!! I am very very pleased with this sewing cabinet but I honestly don't think in centimetres - we might have had decimalisation since the 1970s but me? I only do feet and inches so when I saw its dimensions were 60cm x 30cm x 30cm, I definitely thought it was going to be a bit bigger than this ... hey ho:

I love it, it's 'cute' and I am sure I'll fill those 'little' drawers up with something!

So, onto my birthday giveaway. I am starting a new project this week: I think it's going to be a 70" x 50" lapquilt - not entirely certain until I draw it all out. Here are the fabrics I'll be using:

The prize is I will make you a cushion (pillow) or an iPad Case or a Pants Bag (check out my Other Finishes 2013 page) of your colour choice and I'll also throw in some surprise Fat Quarters for you.

So you get one chance to win just for leaving a comment on this post saying what you'd like me to make you and in what colours and a second chance if you guess correctly what the theme is of the quilt I'll be making! 

The Giveaway is open to everyone. It closes next Tuesday at 2100 UK time. Happy guessing!! 

Giveaway now closed = 2100hrs on 30th April

Monday, 22 April 2013

I just can't say no to her!!

But then who really wants to say no to the question, 'Can you please make me a pink baby quilt?' Not me, that's for sure!!

Dear niece (of Grandma's 80th birthday quilt request) asked if I could make her another quilt - this time for partner's new baby niece who was born on April 16th. Of course I can :)

From my library of books (I have a few!), I picked out this one:

And because I love stars, this pattern (shown in the book as designed by Allison Jane Smith of Plaids and Prints) called out to me:

I started cutting out some 4 3/4" squares from my pink scraps and grey spots on white from my stash on Saturday morning and finished sewing the binding on last night!  To be fair, dear niece didn't specify such a tight deadline but I know they're hoping to visit the baby this week and I am about to start a very tricky project so it suited me to crack on with it. Aren't baby quilts just the sweetest to make?

I deviated slightly off the pattern (as I do!) and made 2 stars out of dusky pinks and 2 out of hot pinks:

I picked one of the dusky pinks to make the simple border - this is Robert Kaufman's delightful 'Pimatex Basics' - and one of the hot pinks - Michael Miller's Mini Mikes Tiny Gingham - for the binding. I 'stipple quilted' it in just over an hour:

I did have a slight hiccup on the way ... as I FMQd over the label, my needle point snapped off. I couldn't see where it had gone and although I searched the quilt and was confident it wasn't in there, I couldn't rest until I found it. After undoing the machine, removing the bobbin holder and ignoring all the fluffy yuckiness (please don't judge me, ladies!), I found it ... phew!!!

The backing is 'Baby Labels' by Makower UK and I think it goes really well:

And the front:

And the all-important label:

Love it - all 35" x 35" of it. Posted it today and I know Saffron's Mummy will take lots of photos so I hope to show you some later in the week.

It's my birthday tomorrow and I have some 'sewing' presents to unwrap (more photos!) and I think it's about time I did another giveaway, don't you? Please pop back to see me tomorrow :)

Linking up for the first time to Plum and June's Monday Link Up - what fun!

Plum and June

and thanks to the lovely Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for her kind comment - I've also just linked up with Michelle's Romantic Tangle - Let's Make Baby Quilts 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Joining Bloglovin ... I think!!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4312697/?claim=wsq44puder4">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I wish I actually understood IT!! Then, I could have a pretty blog like the clever girls AND not spend as long creating a post as I do making the stuff I blog about!!

Anyhows, I'm pasting the above into a new post as directed by Bloglovin ... let's hope I manage to join without losing my Blog!! Now I'm hoping to try adding a side button ... oh dear, stressed just thinking about it :)

On the brighter side ... Spring has finally arrived in London. Yippeeeeeee, I get to dry the bedding outside :)

Friday, 19 April 2013

'Man Quilt' - the rest of the story ...

I blogged about making this quilt and cushion (pillow) earlier this week. I'm still not sure you'll find the way I made the cushion in any book :D

One of DH's best friends is Mark. Mark is a character ... and a half! It was Mark who gave me my nickname Glinda after the first time we went to see the show 'Wicked' all those happy years ago. In fact, Mark has given me three names over our 14 year friendship!

I don't have a middle name - I was the only one in our group of friends and family who did not - and Mark thought I should have one so I became 'Jennifer Jane'. So, everytime we met up. A booming voice would greet me, 'Ahhhhh, its Jennifer Jane!' and so it stuck. But then a friend, whose real name was Jennifer Jane, joined our group on a ski trip and so Mark just had to think up another name for me. First day skiing, we looked at my skis ... someone had written the name 'Ashley' on the skis so for the rest of that week, I was called Ashley! Thank goodness it was a nice name :) It also helped to distinguish between me and the other Jennifer. 

At some point, we all went to see Wicked in London - a fabby show (one of my all-time favourites, I think.) For those of you who haven't seen it, there is a moment in the show when Glinda is looking at all her pretty shoes and bags, bags and shoes and in a very girly voice, tosses her blonde hair and says, 'Toss Toss' ... with that, Mark has pointed at me, pointed at Glinda on the stage, pointed back at me and a big grin appears on his face ... and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, here is the 'Man Quilt' (and bonus cushion) as requested by DH. Made over 5 nights (bit of a last minute birthday idea ... tut tut!!) and the top is made out of DH's recycled work shirts: 

And I straight-line quilted it with a gorgeous Guterman Sulky variegated blue cotton ... had no bunching problems whatsoever ... yay, way to go Glinda!! And DH decided on the red binding:

Oh, did I say, 'the rest is history?' Well, not quite ... not content with giving me the different names, Mark now calls me all 4 at the same time - 'Jennifer Jane Ashley Glinda'! Hence the label:

Happy Birthday Mark xx

Quilt facts: 'Shirt off my back' pieced from DH's 'old' 100% cotton work shirts
Size: 57" x 57"
Batting: 100% cotton off the roll from my LQS
Backing fabric: navy blue 'Dimples' by Andover Fabrics
Binding: 2 1/4" folded red Makower Spraytime
Quilted: Straight-lines drawn with Hera Marker through diagonals
Start date: 14th April
Finished: Today!!

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday :)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A 'Man's Quilt!'

One of DH's best friends is Mark. It's Mark's birthday next week and DH asked if I would make him a quilt - a 'Man's Quilt!' In fact, let me rephrase that sentence. DH asked me in a very manly and deep voice to make his best mate a quilt!! So, on Sunday after making all this loveliness, I looked through my fabric. I looked ... 'sigh' and I looked again. 

Now, let me be clear, I have a LOT of fabric. Some might say 'too much' but what do they know, hey?! But what I have a lot of is pink ... and flowers and butterflies ... and, oh, more pink!!

But, what do I spy there? Ah haaaaa! Perfect! I cut up some of DH's 'old' shirts last year. All are good quality, made from 100% cotton but were 'tired' and ready to go to shirt heaven until I washed, ironed, cut them into 6 1/2" squares and waited for the perfect project. And this is it!

Because the fabic was already pre-cut, I made the top really quickly but think I need to add a dark blue border:

And then I had a few squares left over so just had to make a cushion (pillow). I decided to set myself a challenge (will I never learn?!) I wanted to make a 'sealed' cushion and bind it with the same dark blue border fabric ... would that even be possible?? Only one way to find out ... 

I made two 9-patch front and back pieces. Because the cotton is a bit thinner than usual quilting cotton, I quilted some thick Vilene interfacing to each piece. Then, I machine stitched the binding on to 3/4 of the cushion, leaving an opening big enough to stuff that cushion through! I hand sewed down the back of the binding:

Okay, deep breath, here goes. Cushion in and opening pinned closed:

And to the sewing machine ... by now, I am chortling to myself because this does not look like it's going to work!! Ever the eternal optimist, I've sewn ... slowly, very slowly:

And do you know? It worked ... it's actually worked really well. I hand sewed the last bit of the binding down and here it is:

Love it! Please come back later in the week to see if I have finished the quilt :)

Update Wednesday 17th April 1852 - just added the border, basted and now it's ready to quilt ... FMQ stipple v straight line quilting ... who will win???

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced - WIP Wednesday :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The early bird ...

... catches an extra few hours sewing and makes a cushion and finishes a Pants Bag! Well, if you wake up at 0615 on your day off, you might as well get up and make the most of it :)

Remember the lovely Katheen over at Crabbit Quilter gifted me her pink scraps:

I had such fun rummaging through them and deciding what to do with them. Then I remembered seeing this scrappy Pillow over at Red Pepper Quilts. Perfect. So, I adapted it a little to fit my 18" cushions and cut 56 x 1 3/4" x 4 3/4" strips. It sewed together really quickly :) Then I decided to give the straight line quilting another go. I used a Hera Marker to 'draw' lines 2" apart:

and quilted it with raspberry cotton:

This is the back. Not too shabby, hey?

And the front ... ta-daaaaaaa:

Love it. And I get to keep it ... it's for meeeeee:) And, although I had to twist her arm, Kathleen agreed to me making her a Pants Bag as a thank you! I blogged about choosing my colours and paper-piecing the 'jewel' in the week here. Paper piecing is quite tricky (well, it is for a novice like me) so I only made a jewel on one side.

Here is the finished Pants Bag: 

and a little bonus pocket on the inside:

I'll pop it in the post tomorrow, Kathleen ... hope you like it :)