Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal sausages

OK, OK, so it's not Wills and Kate in a garden in Hastings..... it's James and I at a Royal Wedding BBQ.  A lovely time was had by all, except that Felix was (understandably) a little perturbed by these masks... 

Make my day, tell me you were tricked for just a second :)


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Easter break, and a quick sewing fix

Like a few other bloggers, I think, I've had a bit of a rest from blogging and sewing over the long Easter weekend.  Our weekend was filled with (in no particular order!)
 children   parents   other lovely family members   BBQs   Chocolate  The beach
Board games (Game of Life and Go for Broke, remember these?!)  Garlic Prawns 
Car boot sales (yeay!)     Water fights         Long Walks             Donkey Kong on the Wii    Mr Whippy  fish and chips    Sun

Oh, and I mustn't forget the Mango "egg" that Mum bought Felix :)

A super weekend, but I must confess I was pleased to get some time last night for blog catching-up and a sewing machine reunion :)   I needed a quick fix and have been meaning to try the following for some time, so here goes with a tutorial for a 30 minute project.

T-shirts for little people.
(There's nothing really new in this idea, but I thought it might be useful to show the process I went through)

I picked up three T-shirts for a fiver the other day at Asda and have been meaning to jazz them up a little..

Felix is rocking gingham this summer, so I thought a T-shirt in that theme might go down well.  I sketched a simple flower design and cut it out.

I chose a blue print with a gingham feel to it by Sandy Klop for Moda, and cut a piece big enough to accomodate my template, plus a similar sized piece of fusible fleece and a similar size piece of wonderweb.  The fleece is optional, it'll just give your design a bit of thickness.

I did the same with a small piece of blue linen for the centre of my flower.

I then ironed the fabric to the fleece and the wonderweb to the back.

and pinned my template to the layered fabric before cutting around it with dressmaking scissors.

I cut the centre of my flower from my template and used that to cut a circle from the blue linen.

I then ironed both pieces to my T-shirt

At this point I realised I had quite a few trimmings left over, with wonderweb on the back, so I cut out one of the little flowers and ironed that to the base of the T-shirt.

I then stitched round both designs with blue thread.  I used my ordinary sewing foot for the large design, but switched to my free-motion foot for the smaller design.

And there you have it, one stylish little lady, for less than £2!


PS the first and last photos were taken with the FREE Instagram application on my i-phone.  How cool is that!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Work in progress (every other) wednesday #3

Not much going around here as I appear to have been consumed by my Supernova quilt top :)

Here's the run-down .. (linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly pieced!)

Projects Completed:

Just one.  After seeing gorgeous fabric storage bags whipped up by Freshly Pieced and All this for them, I headed over to the source of their inspiration, Pink Penguin, where there is a fabulous easy tutorial for making them.   I skipped the patchwork on the sides, opting just to quilt my chosen fabric, and doubled the sizes on everything to make a storage bag for Felix's toys, so when we head out somewhere, I can take a selection with me.

All made with bits and bobs I had around the place.  The print is by Robert Kaufman and had been languishing in my fabric stash for some time because it just didn't seem to go with anything else!

Work in progress:
  • Sliced Coins quilt. hmmm...No progress
  • Supernova quilt-along.   Progress!  Only yellow and light blue left to do.  Had a little play with a mosaic to give you a feel for how it might look...

Projects taken on but not yet started (gulp):
  • Bee Europa April Block
  • Dress a girl around the world
  • Baby quilt for shop
  • Dining room chair cushions for my brother
  • Bench cushion for my oldest friend (clarify: the one I've known the longest, she's not ancient!)
Oh, and blog surfing I found a lovely gang of British Quilters so I've signed up to the Flickr group Brit Quilt, and the first Brit Bee, what am I doing?!! 

Brit Bee

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The highs and lows of the Supernova (a progress update)

It's about time I devoted a post to my Supernova quilt (the one I'm making for my brothers impending delivery!), since I keep making references to it.   So, for the benefit of my Mum, and a few others who get my update by email but don't read other blogs, I'll start at the beginning so everybody knows what I'm talking about! (seasoned "quilt-a-longers" - feel free to skip down a paragraph!)

Photo courtesy of Freshly Pieced

Here is the original glorious Supernova quilt as made by Lee at Freshly Pieced.  Lee is hosting a quiltalong, so we can all make our own version, and I am quilting along, but only in reverse so the stars will be white and the background to my quilt will be multicoloured.  In order to make this work the diagonal pieces of my stars are made up of lots of 3" squares and 3" half square triangles (HSTs).  Having never made HSTs in volume before I consulted the world-wide interweb, and found this tutorial.  I ended up cutting two 3.5" squares (one white, the other patterned) and stitching them together twice down the middle (either side of the diagonal line). Slice them in two, and you get two HSTs.  I needed 16 per block (in five different fabrics), so 144 in total.

To speed up this process I decided to use chain piecing (again, for those not in the know, this means feeding the squares through the machine in a long row without cutting the thread each time). 

The pro's of this method?  It's super fast!  I stitched all my squares in about 15 minutes... the con's?  my bobbin thread ran out after the first few squares and nobody told me (!) so I kept merrily feeding squares through with no thread!  20 squares or so later, having discovered this error, I started again and had the whole lot done in 30 minutes.  Here's a few of them:

And sliced here

What takes the time is pressing the seams and squaring them up to exactly 3" (at least another hour!).

OK, so now I'm ready to sew my squares into 3x3 blocks, like the red one I did first...sounds simple? it should be.  Grey, done.  Green, done.

Pink....doh.  Too many squares, my head hurts!

Take a break...write a blog post, come back to it later, pink done, yellow, orange, teal, purple and light blue left to do.

So the next question is, how best to join my blocks together to create the full star effect?.  Here are my two options:

a) Create each block individually with two shorter white rectangles and one longer one.  Then sew all the blocks together

b) Do all the horizontal white strips first, and the join the whole column of stars together with one long vertical strip.

So, quilty types, which way would work best?, I'm veering towards option a to keep it simple but I'll very happily take guidance on this, is there a better way I haven't thought of?


Thursday, 14 April 2011

The facts and figures post...

Phew, I don't half owe some thank you's this week. Here's the statistics since my last blog post:
  • 1 "lurgy sickness bug" that lasted 5 days (booo)
  • 2 full days in bed
  • 2 baby-sitting sessions from lovely mother-in-law (Thanks Sue!)
  • 1 recuperative visit to the parents (where 2 loads of washing were processed - thanks Mum and Dad, and not just for the washing!)
  • 3 children looked after all day by the handsome James on Sunday, you're the best!
  • 1 gorgeous bunch of flowers from Lizzy and Tommy (awwww, these are lovely, see photo, thanks both of you!)
  • 0 units of alcohol consumed (yes zero!)
  • 1 new haircut (not sure about this one)
  • 1 new cutting mat and 6 secondhand patchwork/quilting books acquired
  • 0 minutes sewing time :(
  • 66 minutes blog reading time (approximately)
  • 2lbs lost
  • 216 squares cut in an effort to catch up with the Supernova Quiltalong
And to top it all, whilst I was laid low, 3 lovely bloggers cheered me up by awarding me the stylish blogger award!!!

How chuffed am I?   statistically speaking about 89,003,222 % chuffed :)  It's just so lovely to have other people notice your blog and like the things you make, so for starters, huge thanks to Val at PinkPlease!, Jess at Quilty Habit and Lee at Freshly Pieced.  Val is the Queen of Ticker tape, and has inspired me to have a go, Jess has an entertaining blog packed with tips, tricks and Dresdens, and Lee is hosting the fabulous Supernova quiltalong - her colour choices rock!  Take a look, if you haven't already!
Now, for the rules of the award.  I'm supposed to do:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.  Done!
2. Share seven things about yourself. See below.
3. Award 6 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them about the award

Right here goes with the 7 facts (apologies to my family and friends who likely know all this already!)

1) I basically love all yellow food - cheese, potatoes, pasta, icecream etc all float my boat!
2) I've got a degree in Archaeology but have never directly used it
3) Before I had Felix, I ran a large IT department for a financial services company, but find managing one baby just as challenging!
4) I'm naturally messy, it's a constant battle to keep things tidy (and one I don't always win!)
5) I love all things vintage and used to buy and sell 1950s-1970s handbags, jewellery and pottery.  This one is on hold whilst Felix is so little and as a result our basement is stuffed with the results of my hoarding!
6) I was once awarded with the title "Best improved Gymnast" - improved is the key word here!
7) My full name is Ceridwen - which apparently has two possible meanings - The Goddess of poetry (Welsh) and the Goddess of the black sow (Celtic).  As the latter was a nasty woman who poked mens eyes out I'll stick with the former!

Phew!  And now to pass this on!  Here are my choices:

Jenny at Squawk, Baby! - This lady is a swapaholic! Just take a look at her to-do list to see how productive and multi-talented she is!
Emma at Moo and Mouse - If you haven't been here, go there now!  Lovely perfectly pretty makes, and she's always got something new on the go!
Laura at On {the laundry} line - gorgeous children, generally lovely pics, including the best photo of baby legwarmers I have ever seen :)

Recipients, please don't feel obliged to pass this on if you don't want to, just bask in the glory of your bloggy brilliance!

Back soon with some sewing, I hope!


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Work in progress (every other) wednesday

I missed last week's Work in Progress post due to a lack of progress (!) and I almost missed it this week due to lurgy.  Yep, I'm writing this from my sick-bed - some weird shivery, ear achy thing.  One of the few downsides of being a mum is catching all the minor (hopefully) illnesses that babies (and their baby friends) seem to get :(

Anyway, that aside, there have been a couple of finishes this week... here goes with Work in progress (linking up with Freshly Pieced!)

Projects completed:
  • Cushions for the shop in Hastings.  Done, and handed over!  You can see three here, and the last I finished last night is below.  When I got there this morning, they'd already sold the sample I'd given them - good start!

The shop in question is aptly named "Made in Hastings" and it's deliciously relaxed but stylish in all in go. We had a chat about me doing some baby quilts too, if I can get the pricing to work.

  • Bee Europa March block - a purple strip for Muriel
  • A mug rug for Mothers Day - in my rush to post this in time for Sunday, I forgot to take a picture - darn!

Work in progress:
  • Sliced coins quilt - still on hold but the metro circles in fuschia for the backing arrived yesterday - hoorah!
  • Supernova quiltalong at Freshly Pieced - am SO enjoying this quiltalong.  Was hoping to show you three colours completed, but lurgy has meant I haven't got round to sewing them together! You can see the red block here, and orange and yellow progress below.

New projects taken on this week:
  • Bee Europa April block - Miriam would like us to make a block based on this piece of artwork! (Anyone got any tips for piecing curves?!)
DSCF7856 by CZMart
  • "Dressing a girl around the world" - this is an initiative which believes that all little girls should own at least one dress, a encourages sewers to make simple pillowcase dresses that will be distributed to poverty stricken areas. I found this via Louise at Sew Scrumptious and was touched by the idea and opportunity for me to I've committed to make a dress by June. (see below for two dresses being modelled beautifully by girls in Haiti)

If that weren't enough, also on the list is:
  • A trial baby quilt for Made in Hastings
  • A set of cushions for my brother's dining room chairs
  • A bench cushion for my friend Sian's new house
I love it that there's lots to do!


Monday, 4 April 2011

The InspiredbyFelix love-in

This post might be a little 'gushy', for which I apologise in advance.  The thing is I've been a little overwhelmed with the loveliness of people inside (and outside) of blogland this weekend. I promise that I'll highlight the flowery and effusive words I intend to write in the next couple of paragraphs so that readers can skip over them to prevent tiredness or nausea, should it all get too much :)

First off, I was awarded the Liebster blog award (for newer, smaller blogs) by Nic from SupercuteTilly.  I feel very honoured because Nic makes THE most gorgeous things (I have her hairclips to prove it).  Check out her shop if you have time, it's delicious.  Thanks Nic!

The rules of this award state that I can pass it onto three other blogs who I think deserve some recognition.  After some thought, and sifting through my google reader, I've opted for some blogs (who I don't think have received this award before), that my lovely readers might like to visit. Here are my choices:
  • All this for them - Mary Jo is super productive on the sewing front, I don't know how she achieves it all with two little ones!
  • Mrs Cheese - there are always beautiful and inspiring images on Mrs. Cheese's blog, go check them out
  • Handmade by Alice Apple - Not such a small blog, but I lust after Alice's zingy fabric designs on such a regular basis!
Congratulations all.  Don't feel obliged to pass it on if you don't want to, this is just my way of saying I really like reading your ramblings!

Next up in the InspiredbyFelix love-in is Moo and Mouse.  Yesterday, I won her giveaway for a cute (and no doubt, beautifully stitched) lavender bird.   Moo and Mouse is a new blog, written by a spendid lady called Emma who bakes yummy cakes and makes scrummy makes.  Thanks Emma!
And finally, to top off a lovely weekend, I got an email late last night from Jane Foster, who yesterday picked my comment to be the winner for one of her adorable Tilda dolls.  This doll will be Felix's first ever, and I'm just so chuffed that she will have something so stylish!   You must (must must!) check out Jane Foster's blog and shop sometime, you'll get drawn in by all the scrumptious, funky things to buy!

Phew!  can you see why I gave the warning up front?  I'm not making it up though, I do feel very pleased to be part of the online crafty community and really appreciate that people take the time to comment and also make me feel welcome on their blogs...

Right...back to normal service (!), let's finish with a little patchwork - here are the humble beginnings of my Supernova Quilt which I'm doing as part of the Supernova quiltalong over at Freshly Pieced.  I feel an orange block coming on next..will keep you posted :)


Friday, 1 April 2011

Three down, one to go

Phew!  have been beavering away and have finished three of the four cushions for the shop in Hastings.  The last one is almost done too, just got to stitch the back to front.

I submitted this sample to the shop over a month ago along with photos of other things I'd made (I didn't mention it on the blog because all the stuff in this shop is GORGEOUS and I wasn't that confident they'd have room for me!). Anyway, the response was that they really liked the spring greens and interesting patchwork (rather than just traditional squares).

 So, that was my brief, four more cushions in spring greens and a bit more interesting than square patches...

By the way, the colours on these two are brighter than they appear, darn my DSLR camera for being more advanced than me :)

Hopefully these fit the bill!  They're all envelope backed, with a contrast binding on the envelope and have my label tucked on the inside. 

I'm going to make a couple of extra (in the vague hope these sell quickly!) so would love your input...

Would you be more likely to buy a square or a rectangular cushion? and do you prefer the brighter colours or the lighter tones in the duck-egg blue one?

Any input gratefully received!


PS Big thanks to SupercuteTilly for awarding me the Leibster Blog award (and for saying Felix is gorgeous!).  I will post about this properly soon!