Saturday, 29 June 2013

On holiday ... no Wifi :(

We have arrived in the Isle of Man for a week's holiday with our Mums. We are staying in a beautiful cottage - The Milking Parlour:

and there was a plate of delicious cakes to greet us:

We are already relaxing on the patio with a G&T! There's no Wifi but am able to write this on my iPhone:) So that I don't go too much into withdrawal, I have brought some hand sewing with me - I don't do hand sewing so this will be interesting! My little sis bought me these for my birthday:

This week saw the finish of my loft / sewing room:

And my Strip Bee strip:

There are a couple of fabric / quilting shops on the island so they'll definitely get a visit this week!

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts

Sunday, 23 June 2013

My first Quilting Bee :)

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my 'new' sewing room - I showed them all to DH and he was really chuffed :)

So, today I got to sew up there for the first time in over a month ... yay! And just in time. I have been invited to join a small virtual quilting bee organised by Maria @ sew love to sew. I haven't taken part in a Bee before so was a little nervous when Fran @ PatchyRose emailed me to see if I was up for it. Maria has done a great job organising it all and has kept it very simple - just as well with me involved!

This is how it will work: we each make our own strip at a width of 40.5" (depth and design to be decided by ourselves) and then post it to the next person on the list who adds their depth and design to it and so on until it comes home to you with all 6 strips attached into a quilt top. Maria is encouraging us not to buy new fabric but choose from our stash.

So, I set about creating my strip today. I want this to be a no pressure, fun experience so I adopted tried to adopt a more casual approach than usual to my fabric choices and block designs. I still 'auditioned' different fabrics ... I have a Pom Pom Layer Cake I've wanted to cut into for like forever, then I thought about using bold, darker accent colours like navy and black or a flower theme maybe or ... oh, this was me being not so 'casual' after all!

Hmmm, moving onto block design; that might make it easier to choose from all those colours. Now I have all my books on easy display and a little seating area to comfortably read them in, I picked up a few and perused ... and paused and perused ... and ... an hour has now passed ... oh my!

Sometimes you can over-engineer things, don't you think? JFDI, Jennifer, JFDI ... so I did. Here's my strip - 8" x 40.5" - a few different blocks in yellow and PINK! Well, are you really surprised: 

Nell just had to join me ... we re-covered my ironing block yesterday - she tells me she was just trying it out:

I pass my strip onto Amy next week and I will be receiving Fran's and we will have 6 weeks in each round so plenty of time to choose fabrics and make blocks for the next strip.

Here's all the lovely ladies:

Fran @ PatchyRose 
Sarah @ Quilt Candy 
And me :)

I am so looking forward to getting to know my fellow Bees better and to working on their strips - it's quite exciting, hey! And Maria even designed a little button for us:

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Satisfying Saturday ... Shattered Saturday :)

We've finished the loft /sewing room (apart from a few bits and pieces) this evening and are now enjoying a well-earned glass of wine :)

Thank you Nick, you're the best DH in the world xx

Tomorrow, I will be back sewing up there for the first time in weeks and will tell you all about a little Quilting Bee (my first!) I've been invited to join :)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Playing with fabric :)

Slowly but surely, I'm moving my supplies back into the loft / sewing room. I could leave it until the weekend but I'm hoping to do a little bit after work each night so that I can spend ALL day Saturday sewing :D

Thank you from me and DH for all the lovely comments you left about our decorating efforts - the pink Annie Sloane 'accents' were a hit with you too!

So, tonight I moved all my fabric back - I was up and down the ladder 6-7 times ... erm, there is quite a bit of it! I know I don't have the largest stash (go and Google 'large fabric stash' and look at the images of some very very large stashes!) but I was quite flabbergasted to see it all piled up:

And shame, there was even some I had forgotten about which I really need to use up:

Everything over 1/2 yard went back into the hanging baskets (wrapped around comic boards) and my fat quarters went back onto the cd shelf:

So far, it's all looking good up there. I'm not allowing myself any new purchases (fabric, storage or furniture) until it's all unpacked and I can assess what I need (not what I want!) Tricky ... very tricky :)

Best I get creating sooooooooooon!!

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design
Better Off Thread

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sewing room ... we're getting there :)

DH and I have been hard at it since yesterday morning and all our hard work has paid off ... we have finished decorating the loft / sewing room tonight and I can start moving alll my stuff back up there next week ... yay!!!

He's an absolute star ... as I am writing this, he has just popped out to buy us some chocolate ... well, I reeeeeeeeally needed some:

You'll remember before all the fixing the unsafe roof-building work began, we had to empty the loft and the room looked like this:

And this was where we'd got to when we stopped at 7pm tonight: 

Whilst DH pva glued the new plaster yesterday, I discovered an amazing new painting experience - Annie Sloane's chalk paint ... in pink - of course! My new blanket airer (quilt holder?!) got the treatment first:

Followed by my last year charity shop find cubby hole display unit:

Then a cheap old TV table we'd forgotten we had:

The walls are painted 'apple white' and whilst I had that pink paintbrush in my hand, the door trims got a coat too!

It's amazing stuff - one coat covers all (except the dark brown varnished display unit - it needed two) and so nice to use. DH even gave the inside of the ugly old windows a coat:

Very happy ... very proud of what we've achieved ... oh, and very very tired :)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Finally finished ... with a day to go!!

Nothing like putting yourself under a bit of pressure! This was the final stitch going into the Snooker Table Quilt - 'Time for a Break' on Wednesday night:

Jackie's leaving do was yesterday! She retired from our organisation after 42 years exemplary service. She laid on a wonderful afternoon tea and cakes for us (I love cake!) and there were lots of colleagues past and present gathered to say goodbye and wish her well.

I've blogged quite a bit about the journey of making this quilt starting with this post in April (my birthday giveaway) when you had to guess what I was going to make out of this bundle of fabric:

There were some funny answers along the way! I am still amazed at how we quilters take a bunch of ingredients, mix them together and produce such loveliness ... aren't we lucky!?

There were some tricky moments too - I never did perfect my balls, which remained a little 'wonky':

Why work to a pattern when you don't have to?! I used a Google image as my inspiration and pretty much made it up as I went along. The corners took some planning and I did keep them square in the end. And just when I thought I had finished the top, Julie asked if I was going to add a 'stick'?! So I did :)

I sewed all the team's signed messages onto the back of the quilt:

And this is the finished front:

After the boss did his speech, they asked me to say a few words and and hand Jackie our gift:

Snooker is Jackie's passion - she gets so excited watching it on TV, she has never trusted herself to go and watch a live tournament! Her absolute hero is Steve Davis OBE (famous world snooker champion in the UK) and not only was he kind enough to autograph a patch (his got pride of place in the centre of the quilt), he also provided a signed photograph:

She was a very very very happy lady yesterday! I'm chuffed I helped put that big smile on her face:

Congratulations, dear Jackie, enjoy your retirement, we will miss you xx

Linking up to Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday

Monday, 10 June 2013

Did we buy the house?!?

I know my little band of faithful followers are dying to know how the house viewing went on Saturday? You're not?! Well, I'm just going to bore you with all the details anyway :)

Remember the outside:

Well, it was as lovely inside ... not perfect (it's been a holiday home for 9 years and, honestly, you could tell) but it had lots of character and it was still very tempting! Look at the quarry tiles and that Belfast sink on bricks in the downstairs loo:

And the imposing wooden staircase:

And a great sized utility room (never had one, always wanted one):

There were glorious old wooden latch doors, parquet flooring and floorboards everywhere. More than enough space to live and quilt in. So, lots of positives ... but ... it wasn't for us. There was an issue of shared access to half of the drive (leading to a range of local authority outbuildings behind the house used for forestry purposes), there were two large ponds adjacent to the property (actually one looked a bit 'swampy') which would be mosquito paradise and I am mosquito fodder at the best of times and there were a lot of different sized steps all around the house and gardens which wouldn't be visitor friendly enough for us.

I'm sure it will be a wonderful home for someone ... just not for us, sadly :(

On the bright side, we had a wonderful weekend with family in Chester and my dear Aunty G joined us for the house viewing and afterwards for a most delicious lunch at the fabby Pant-yr-Ochain country pub (we were in Wales, remember!) and it was as pretty as its picture:

Back home and we're still in major house upheaval but hoping to get the loft / sewing room painted this weekend. Might have to ask one of DH's friends to help us out ... so not a lot of sewing to share. 

I did make a linen Pants Bag after work tonight. This one is for Lucy who is leaving work to go travelling and I thought this might be a fun gift for her to pack her pants in on her travels:

Remaining optimistic ... I know the right house is out there :)

Linking up to Plum and June's Let's get Acquainted Monday link-up hosted this week by Laura C @ little and lots

Plum and June

and also to Quilt Story's - Fabric Tuesday and Janice @ Better off Thread's Sew Cute Tuesday :)

If you're popping by on Tuesday (June 11th), do please go and visit the lovely Shauna @ lovinquiltin and and leave her a birthday blogging message!