Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Birds and Bees

OK, OK, it's a bit of a loose blog title.  The bee's are obvious enough - this relates to a bit of catching up I've been doing on the quilting bees I'm in.

To start with, here are the finished blocks I did for Brit Bee's Miss May (Trudi) who asked for Lynnebobsquarepants blocks and sent us some lovely "Giddy" fabric to work with - miraculously most of the triangles vaguely match! Thanks fellow bee members for all your tips on working with half-square triangles - I can't wait to see what the finished quilt looks like!


Then we have Miss June (Fiona) who sent us some gorgeous vintage inspired fabric and asked for disappearing-9-patch blocks.  Rules are rules so no photos of the finished blocks yet, but here is the siggy block so you can see a little glimpse of some vintage sheets that I managed to sneak in amongst the fabrics Fiona sent (possibly I may have broken a rule by publishing this, if so, oops, sorry!)

 Then it's over to the continent for Bee Europa, and Mays blocks for Elisa, who asked for a Crazy Scrappy block and sent me a delicious range of pink scraps.  Here's the finished block, and I can say officially that I loved doing this, I think I like the free-ness (that's not a word is it?!) of it.

Bee Europa's June block is still in the making, so more on that later.  However, I am Queen Bee for July so I've also been busy deciding on a block that I would like the ladies to make for me..

After much deliberation, I've opted to use this quilt-in-progress as my inspiration, with kind permission of Vickie at My Full Color Life

This was made by her bee members and I love it because every block is different, but the colours and clever use of an image in each block pull the whole thing together.

My quilt will be for my daughter Felix, and instead of birds, I've opted to use flowers as the theme.  Rather than send specific flower fabrics to all my Bee members, I'm going to ask them to design their own from a selections of pinks, lime greens, turquoises and dark grey fabrics.  The flower can be pieced, appliqued /machine embroidered etc and they will have total freedom over the piecing of the rest of the block.  I hope they will not think I am mad!

Now back to the birds, here's another of this weekends makes - this time for a little bird far far away.

It's my pillowcase dress for the charity Dressing a girl around the world. Louise from Sew Scrumptious has organised a massive dress-sewing effort and she now has over 70 dresses ready to send, which I think is just brilliant!
 Thank you to my wise readers who voted on the fabric choices (some time ago!).  I went with the autumnal colours and did my best to recycle:
  • The autumn leaf fabric was a gift from my neighbour sorting out her loft
  • The brown/orange/green print was languishing in my stash box, I just didn't have anything to go with it (until now!)
  • The orange binding is vintage, picked up yonks ago at a car boot for 20p

  •  and the beads are from the kids bead tub!
 So the only thing I had to buy was the elastic!  Given it was practically free, I'm really chuffed with how this little dress turned out and I hope the recipient will be too. The icing on the cake is that as a result of this project, I am also feeling slightly braver about constructing clothing, so who knows what I'll try next!


Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Hidden Cottage

Firstly, to all my sewist followers, please don't leave me!  I know neither this post or the previous one have any stitching in them, but I'm desperate to get back on my machine, I promise, I've just had other more pressing tasks to deal with.

There is, however, some craftiness afoot.    This week I've been getting the cottage ready for a whole summer of holiday lets.  It's very exciting because this project pretty much got put on hold when I had Felix, so the first ever official let is this Friday!

Typically, I have left everything to the last minute, so today I need to:
buy a plant in a pot, buy an outside table and chairs, sort out keys, pack up a welcome basket (tea, coffee etc), make two beds, chase down the electricians and write an inventory of everything that's there, all with a demanding one year old in tow :)

Anyway, back to the craftiness - over the last few nights, I have made a few finishing touches.

This is a sign for the house.  The agents advise that holiday lets have names, not just numbers (apparently this is more appealing!).  It's made from an off cut of wood from Dad's garage, with pebbles glued to it (it's illegal to take pebbles from the beach so obviously I didn't get them from there :) ).  I then printed the letters onto some transfer film that I had from years ago, and we cut them out and stuck them to the stones.  I've coated it in PVA glue but I'm still not sure how long it will last as the transfers aren't waterproof...I might have to invest in some proper varnish...

Here's the comment book and information folder. The first is just a notebook from the Paperchase sale, but to personalise it I printed the words onto cotton using freezer paper and stitched round them before gluing them to the cover of the notebook. The info folder uses the same technique but with a bit of scrap piecing too (ooo so I have done some sewing after all!)

Finally, I couldn't resist making a little keyring from some of that really really thick felt (which I have now learnt, melts under an iron!) and a little house I had on a scrap that came in a lovely bundle from M is for Make.

I am sew ready to get back to my stitching to-do list, plus I've got bee block deadlines looming!

PS if you fancy a short break to Hastings, click here to see the Hidden Cottage!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Not my normal friday night

We've been on a trip up to Norwich which incorporated a hen-do..imagine the scene....

One of these...

A pair of these....

And I managed to squeeze my feet back into these! (quite tricky after a year of flip flops and Tiger trainers)

The day involved treasure hunting, eating, drinking, getting ready, drinking, limo riding, eating, drinking, karaoke (of the more fun type where you get your own room!), drinking, clubbing etc whilst the lovely James obligingly looked after Felix.

No official photos have emerged as yet (which is probably a very good thing), so instead, just to prove I was there, here is an iPhone snap of Ann (mum of bridesmaid) and me, suitably enjoying the bubbles and coordinating with the limo.

As a result, my sewing machine was neglected this Friday night, so instead I'll show you a couple of "makes" that Felix received for her birthday, it's fab to be surrounded by creative people!

This gorgeous birthday card from Sarah, and look what the clever lady did with the gift bag!

And this funky vintage fabric bib stitched by Keeley (too good for baby food, this is a fashion item!) along with this adorable monkey card

Thanks again ladies!


PS talking of gifts - TIP: save those short bits of left-over binding for parcel decoration - it worked a treat!

Monday, 13 June 2011

I'm an Aunty! (and I finished the Supernova!)

Firstly, huge thanks to everyone that commented on my last post - it was really really lovely to read all your comments which made me feel all warm and fuzzy :)    I would say it was the highlight of my week, but then on Wednesday night I became an Aunty for the first time so you were pipped at the post! 

Between Wednesday and the weekend I was frantically trying to finish the Supernova quilt which is a present for my new niece, Penelope Rose.  Unfortunately, we haven't got to meet her yet because mum is still recovering in hospital (get well soon!)

I did, however, get time to photograph the Supernova in Mum and Dad's garden and request that they deliver it to the hospital for me. It seems it was very well received and to have my stitching efforts described as "an heirloom" was lovely! (albeit slightly scared that the thing might fall apart before it gets to heirloom status!)

Anyway, here is a quick recap (and this is the last time you'll hear about this quilt I promise).  This quilt is made by taking part in the Supernova quiltalong organised by the talented Lee over at Freshly Pieced.  I opted to switch the colours around so mine is a "reverse" Supernova in that the stars are plain and the background patterned. 

The quilt is made up of 3" squares (plus borders) and measures 60" x 60".  It's backed in a cute cherry print with coloured borders that match the front (oooo that bit was tricky!)

The binding is a Michael Miller stripe and I machine stitched the front and hand sewed the back (on Sunday night with the aid of my Mum, thanks Mum!)

The idea is that this can be a playmat for Penelope for the next few years until she's big enough to snuggle under it as a bedspread.

Sorry about the gratuitous quilt photographs but as you may be able to tell, I'm a little bit chuffed with this one!

Anyway, we're very much looking forward to meeting Penelope and introducing her to her cousin Felix, who turned 1 at the weekend - Happy Birthday Gorgeous!


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Work in progress wednesday No.7 - I stare at fabric, is this normal?

Hello lovely bloggy folks, I'm back at my sewing machine frantically trying to finish a few more things off. This week I've noticed that I spend a lot of time just staring at fabric.  Sometimes its my boxes of fabric, sometimes a few colours I've pulled out of the boxes, and other times it's a half sewn something. Whichever, it seems I can spend 15 minutes at a time just...looking at fabric.  I think I'm working out which colours look good, new patterns etc but to a passer-by it can be quite disconcerting!  Please tell me I'm not alone in this part of the addiction?!
Anyway, here's the latest update linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced
Completed projects:
Three. Or four if you include setting up my antiques stall at a local shop.  Click here to read the post on this one, and look on the right sidebar to see my "totaliser". All profits from my little venture are going into a fabric fund :)
Other than that, I finished a couple of cushions for the shop (as seen here) and finally got round to completing the second rainbow baby quilt.  This one is larger than the first one, and despite a few fall-outs with the half-square triangles, I really quite like it. 
I listened to mum-in-law Sue and went with a linen border (thanks Sue!), backed it with a similar linen with a polka dot (which I love but which was NOT cheap!) and bound it in a grey Michael Miller polka dot
Work in progress:
  • Sliced Coins quilt. Still no progress.
  • Supernova quilt-along. I'm under pressure here! Brother's baby due 13th June, but last I heard baby was imminent.  Last night I attached the pieced borders to the top, as seen below but I've still got to do the same for the backing, baste it, quilt it and bind it..eeek!

  • Dress a girl around the world - no progress but is my next priority after the Supernova
Projects taken on but not yet started (this list is on the up again!):
  • Bee blocks for the lovely Elisa (Bee Europa) and lovely Fiona (Brit Bee).  They need to look like these two examples and as there are no triangles I'm quite looking forward to doing these!
    Bee Europa - Picture courtesy of ComfortStitching
    Brit Bee - Picture courtesy of Poppy makes
  • Bee Europa - it's also my month in July so I need to get my plan sorted and fabrics mailed - more on this shortly!
  • Dining room chair cushions for my brother
  • Bench cushion for my oldest friend 
  • A Rainbow quilt for little Matthew
  • Sock monsters (like the original Mr Stripey) for my friend Sarah to give to two little girls she knows.
Back to it!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Something a little different (but only temporarily!)

I've been a little remiss on the sewing and blogging front this week, for which I apologise, but there's been a nice reason. 

I finally managed to get a space in a  local antiques shop and the vast collection of vintage-alia that has been languishing in our basement is getting an airing - woohoo! (That's James who is all excited because at last the amount of stuff that is leaving this house outweighs that coming in!)

So this week, I have been labelling, dusting, labelling, sorting, boxing, dusting, labelling, listing..oh and did I mention labelling?

But, it's all done now, and here's my space so far...
Apologies for the poor quality photos, snapped with an iphone at the last minute!  I've got another cabinet to go to the right and am going to hang more handbags/vintage clothing on the walls....
If you like vintage handbags, then you may like this...

more handbags, and some 1950s/60s pottery

Phew, hard work complete, now I wait (hopefully) for the cash to roll in - to fund more fabric purchases :)

Mum and Dad will be relieved to hear that normal sewing service will now be resumed (I am an impending Aunty with a quilt to finish!)