Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday roundup - and some winners, too

After finally ridding the house of an infestation of gigglers (aka 9 & 10 year old girls, who will later today turn into grumpers as a result of not enough sleep) I sat down to work on some cards I have waiting to go out later this week. I edged the recycle cards (skipped a photo of them, as they look the same as before, only with edging), then painted the fabric for the leaves and did the first additional layer on a couple of them (skeleton leaf over the top) - I envisage at least two more leaf themed additions - leaf shaped sequins and I have some little plastic leaf thingies (that's the technical term, mind you) which I intend to add, as well. Maybe one or two other things, depending on what I can find.

And I did the card tops for the Autumn Colours swap - I wanted something really simple and straightforward for this one, emphasising the colours, so have used small squares of hand-dyes on a batik background. I will back and edge them next week, but they are basically done. Whew.

And of course, the moment you are all waiting for - the draw! Many thanks to everyone who left a comment last week. And the winners are - drumroll please... Liz Swinney for the bookcase blocks and Sequana for the beads. Goodies will be on the way as soon as addresses are received - and don't forget to tune in tomorrow for a new giveaway (which I will hopefully remember to do - school is closing early tomorrow for parent consultations, so my whole routine will be thrown off, so who knows whether my brain will work or not - just warning you all now!)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Busy day with a little sewing

As usual, a postcardy type of day - three received - Autumn Colours from Flischa, Leaves from Nancy, and Sunsey from Kandy. Also, finished up my cards for the 1910s swap - some of them I am happier with than others - the idea was to do some free-motion stitching around elements of the designs. I like the texture on the armchair in the bottom centre on, the letters on the bottom right, and the fruit on the top left. But I don't think the sky worked very well on the bottom left. Oh well. Still, overall, I think the idea worked ok. Tomorrow I hope to finish the recycle cards and maybe get started on my leaves cards - I need to paint some fabric for that, so I guess that's the first thing to do...

And here are a few bits - the yarn came from a charity shop - it's Rossini by Argyll and is a mohair/acrylic blend, which means I can't make a scarf for myself from it, but for £1 for both skeins, who cares. The brads came in a box with my new kitchen dishdrainer the other night and I forgot to share them until today when I was tidying up my sewing table...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogging in English...

Spent the day at school today working in the library again (except for a trip up to the high street to have a nice sandwich and coffee by myself with a book - ah, the life of luxury), so didn't do any sewing. But I got home to find these two lovely cards in the post - the leaves from Elly and the other card from Amy, as a prize for enterring her WIPs giveaway on her blog (you had to leave a comment telling about one of your WIPs).

Now, I think this is a gorgeous card, and I'm delighted to receive it, but I have to say, excellent workmanship aside, my favourite thing about this card is that it was returned to her, ostensibly for extra postage, but there was this stamp on the card which reads "returned for better address/show country in English". She added the word "England" and sent it again, but it does make me wonder precisely which language it is they think "United Kingdom" is in in the first place... Gotta love the postal service, right? (I stuck the label over my address before posting it here, publicly, but trust me, it's correct, neatly printed and definitely in English underneath that label).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of those days

Here is the sum total of today's sewing - some little bags for party bags for Sarah's sleepover party on Saturday. We made them this afternoon after she got home from school - really quick drawstring bags, made from an old wrap I bought in a charity shop. We have filled them with a large handful of sweets (Celebrations, Quality Street) - too hard to think of anything else to give 9 & 10 year old girls, really.

Although I was home all day I didn't actually do any sewing - wasn't really in the mood, so I unpacked the shopping, cooked the Bolognese sauce for dinner, cleared out a number of bookcases, tidied up various things the kids had left lying about (this is a never-ending process in our house, though often I make them do it), read email, and finally got around to writing the words about my dad for the Celebration of Life which my stepmom is organising (more on that on my family blog). A busy day, and productive, but no sewing.

Anyway, here's a quilty picture - this is the baby quilt for Geoff's other co-worker, whose last day is tomorrow. I finished the binding on it last night (see - I'm not always last minute about these things!) and it's ready to go in to work with him tomorrow. Still have another one to finish for my own friend, and then I really ought to get another one at least to the binding stage, just in case...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A mostly postcard day

Mostly worked on postcards today, though I did also attach some binding to the black and white baby quilt... But, I "fixed" the sheers postcards - added a layer of multicoloured net and some more free motion quilted flowers, and I am happier with them now, though they still don't thrill me. Oh well, you win some you lose some, I guess.

So, in the winners camp, are these green cards, which are for a swap called "recycle" - the idea being to use recycled items. I have used scraps from another project as the base layer, topped with painted (used) dryer sheets, and plastic fruit netting. I've also added butterflies from a greeting card I was given and which was on my pinboard waiting to have a use and some old postage stamps. Also some sequin waste, which although new to me, is a recycled object in itself. Finally, the "cord" is made from twisted strips of the same painted dryer sheets. Basically, the only new thing is the thread - even the pelmet vilene is pieced together from smaller pieces. The backing will be pieces from a linen dress which no longer fits me (too big, I'm pleased to say) but which I liked too much to just give to the charity shop - I knew it would come in handy one day...

And the final group will be for my 20th century swap - the 1910's. I had a hard time thinking what to do for that decade, so in the end, decided to go with first world war propaganda posters, with some stitching to enhance them (I haven't done the stitching yet). Simple, but I hope effective. The 1920's I have more ideas for...

And in the post today, two cards - Sunset (which didn't photograph very well, as it's all lovely metallic paint), from Claire; and Autumn Colours from Sally, which is similar to what I was going to do for the same theme, but luckily, not quite the same - I might change my idea a little now that I've seen hers (the advantage of being early with your cards is that you know no one else has gazumped your ideas...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Started off today by finishing up the landscape piece - decided just to satin stitch around the edges, to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Still need to tack down the sleeve on the back, but I think it will do well.

The piece on the right is just something I'm playing with, using a bit of one of the complex cloth pieces I received. Not really sure where it's going yet, just messing around.

Two cards in the post today, both from the sunset swap with BQLPC - the one on the left from Michelle, the one on the right from Anne.

And then I (finally) worked on two CCRRs I had hanging about, which are supposed to be done by the end of September. I have to admit I wasn't hugely inspired on either piece, so in the end, just painted a few designs on using Stewart Gill MetaMica paint - freehand stars to go with the piece at the top (and I coloured in a few of the existing designs) and some Chinese characters for the bottom piece. Tomorrow I will heat set them, and then they can go off to their new homes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little wings, beaded seas

So, today - didn't do a lot today that can be shown (mostly I tidied the little drawers of bits in my sewing room and put stuff away), except this little set of inchies - there's a new(ish) site I've discovered called Inching Artists, where each week a theme challenge is issued and you can make an inchie (or two, or nine) to that theme to show. Anyway, this week's theme (issued last Tuesday, so I have just snuck in under the wire) was Little Wings. I decided to use some of these butterfly sequins I had knocking about, as a single black inchie I had already made previously, to create a series. These inchies will go to Karen in South Africa shortly as part of a pay-it-forward swap I offered a long time ago (July). I hope she likes butterflies!

On the right, is something I finished a few evenings ago - another scarf, this one with the silk ribbon I bought in Ireland. I love the colour of this scarf, but it does have a tendency to roll up - probably would have worked better to knit it on straight needles (well, wouldn't have worked well for me, but in principle...)

And here's the fibre landscape, finished now (last night) except the finishing, so to speak - I am not quite sure how I am going to edge it, but I think the first order of business is another layer of pelmet vilene for stability, and then perhaps a nice fabric back (fused on) to be pretty. I think I might just trim the edges with a rotary cutter and paint them or something - I think a binding would detract. But then again, perhaps a binding would frame it, like a view from a window. All suggestions will be considered :) The closeup is a bit out of focus, but I thought everyone might like to see the beads in a bit more detail - it's come out just as I wanted, so I'm really pleased with that - don't you love it when something comes out like it looked in your head?

And here's my lonely postal offering today - not much in the post over the last few days... Anyway, this card is from the mask swap, Debbie (in New Zealand) has used a leaf to make a mask. And feathers. Forgot to photo it before I had put it up on the boiler, hence the magnetic clip at the top - not part of the card...

Double Monday giveaway

Yep, two things today, you lucky peeps. And hey, I remembered it was Monday! Congratulations again to Ramona, who won the flying geese yesterday - well done & I hope you enjoy them. This week's treats are a set of bookcase blocks - these are from a swap, and there's nothing at all wrong with them except that I just no longer want to make a bookcase quilt. There are 12 blocks in total - shown here are six. The blocks were mostly paper-pieced, but the paper is off except for two - one of which is still in its three component pieces. Still, a nice start to a bookcase quilt, if you want to make one. I forget the precise size, but I think they are about 8 inches high by maybe 12 wide. In those regions, anyway.

And the other thing, which I actually fished back out of the bin in my sewing room today when I was organising, is this large handful of large beads and bits of jewelry which I have had for a LONG time, but which are simply too big to be of any use to me. To give an idea of scale, the large pink bead in centre is about 1.5" in diameter and about 3/4" thick.

If you are interested in either (or both) item, leave a comment on this post before Sunday (specify which thing if you only want one). I will draw two winners on Sunday and announce them on the blog. Watch (as they say) this space!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday stuff

Two things I did some work on today, once Alex had recovered from his lurgy (we spent the morning watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat while having a cuddle on the sofa) - the left is the lutradur and lace piece, which I have now turned into a journal cover. I haven't put the pages in yet, but the cover is finished (and lined and edged) so it's not far away. And as it will be a Christmas present, there's enough time that it doesn't have to be done today.

I also worked on these cards, which I don't really like - they are for another sheers swap and I wanted to do something different, but I'm not thrilled with them. I'm not, however, going to redo them, though if I think of something more interesting to add to them in the next few days, I will. I also did a little quilting on a baby quilt for my friend Sharon, more on that later. Which reminds me, I have to put the binding on the other baby quilt Geoff asked me about. Her last day is Friday. Must attach binding tomorrow so I can sew it down... (won't take long, it's small).

Sunday winner

Well, more later, as I hope to get some more work done this afternoon (most of my morning sewing time was a bit occupied by having to sit on the sofa cuddling my poor little DS, who was being sick - ah, the joys of parenting - but he seems all better now and is running about the house with his sisters claiming to be really hungry ("because I sicked up everything in my tummy, mummy")) but just a quick post here to announce this week's winner - the flying geese blocks will soon be on their way to RLBates (Suture for a living) - congratulations & send me your postal address so I can send the geese flying your way... If you haven't ever visited this blog - check it out - she combines her professional sewing (she's a plastic surgeon) with her personal sewing (a quilter, of course!) - everything you ever wanted to know about ear deformities is there this month!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jumble and so on

What's this odd assortment of pictures, you may wonder... Well, at left is the landscape piece - the sky is now done, and I decided that the light green hill was also finished, only I added some flowers to it, courtesy of one of my recent squishies - the flowers were attached to a bit of rick rack, but I have carefully removed them and turned the light green hill into a wildflower meadow. I have begun beading the sea tonight watching a film, but no photo to show until it's done - shouldn't be long as I've done about 2/3 already. It's a small area.

Otherwise today, I spent the day running around - went to a couple of jumble sales/table top sales - picked up the ribbon, thread and buttons for almost nothing and this peacock bag was only £1, so I couldn't resist - it has a peacock design on both sides, though it's not beaded - it's done with plastic half beads, glued on. Not sure what I will do with it, other than hang it in my sewing room,but it does have drawstring sides, so it might work for small hand projects or something. For £1, who cares...

And at the jumble sale I got these bits - there is an entire carrier bag full of old handkerchiefs which I got for 30p (later I will wash them, and separate the lace and other interesting bits out to keep) and three books - one an old book of maps of the British Isles from the 40s - the guy on the book stall was quite keen in a geeky way about the book (which is falling apart as well as out of date) so I didn't have the heart to tell him that I plan to take it apart and use the maps in art projects. The other two things are a visitor record book and an album kind of thing, both of which I though would make nice altered books. Someday.

Friday, September 21, 2007

African (themed) squishie

Spent the day today at school sorting out the library, which is full of old, tattered, uninspiring books, with a smaller number of nice ones thrown in. The PTA has set aside a big chunk of money to buy new books for the library, so it's time to sort through the old ones, do an inventory, tidy things up, and so on. So that's my Fridays for the next couple of weeks. Which is fine - the other two women I was working with are good friends, so it's a bit of a laugh, as well.

But it did mean, I got no work done. So it was nice to come home to this lovely squishie - full of African goodies (and a few other things) - from Karol Ann. And another African block, which makes it my turn again, even though I just sent one yesterday! But she's preparing for being away for several months for a visit back home (South Africa) so she's trying to get ahead, I think.

Anyway, lots of lovely bits of African fabric, the block, some buttons, a nice bit of trim, and another lovely keychain (I got a star last winter from her, which I love, but I really like this little lizard, too, so I've decided I simply have to use both of them). Very nice for a comfort squishie, it certainly brought a smile to my face...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Honourably discharged

Another fairly good day today, though technically I did the discharge yesterday and only ironed it today - the top pieces were done with a Clorox Bleach Pen (on left) and regular household bleach (on right). With the bleach pieces, I folded them up, like for tie-dying. The pieces at bottom left were done with discharge paste - I'm not sure if these are discharged as much as they could have been if I'd ironed them more, but I discovered that my steam iron leaks (it's fairly old & I almost never use the steam function), so that's as good as it was going to get. Funny thing is, I was thinking this swap was due the end of September, but it turns out, it's the end of October, so I'm way ahead on it - hoorah!

On the right, a piece I've been working on for a while, which I did some more on today. The deadline for this, which has been "a long way off" for a long time is actually approaching now (end of October) so I really need to get going with it. Today I mostly finished the light green (I may add a few more strands later, we'll see) and started the sky. The water I am planning to do with beads. (It's not a very big bit of water - the whole piece is about 18x24 or smaller).

I decided to make a few additions to the faces in flames piece - I knew it was wanting something, just not sure what. Today it decided it wanted some flames, made from organza, in a couple of colours, so I added those. It still wants something more, but it's coming along now. I'm sure it will let me know!

And this afternoon, I made some more faces - did this after school with Olivia & Alex (Sarah being at a friend's house) - my faces are on the right, Alex's are a thin line down the centre and Olivia's are on the left. Wanted to try my new(ish) moulds, and also, running short of little faces to use for inchies and things.

I did do something else today, quilt-related - I pinned together the little black and bright baby quilt so I can actually quilt it as soon as my machine gets back from the shop (I have a borrowed machine at the moment, which I am not happy doing FMQ on). The baby isn't due for a few more weeks, but it was threatening to come early (it turned into breech position at 36.5 weeks, the silly thing; luckily, my friend went in yesterday and they were able to turn it back around properly - hopefully it will stay that way until it's ready to come out!) so I decided I'd best get a move on. So much for my "spare" baby quilt top. Will have to make a few more (well, I'll have the flying geese one, so that's one, at any rate). Anyway, too boring to show a photo of that - it looks just like the top did, only with safety pins all over it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Well, I've been tagged by Angela to do the "tell something about yourself for each letter of your first name" meme. This is one of those occasions one is really glad not to be called Esmerelda (actually, I think I'm probably always glad not to be called that - no offense to any Esmereldas lurking out there)...


  • K - (I rejected a lot of options here as being not-quite-right: Klutzy, Kitchy, Kind, Kids - all of these words do say something about me, but I think one that is better yet is...) Keen. I really enjoy things I like, and am eager to start, work on them, finish - be it craft things or other things. I'm not a very half-hearted person, I guess, I tend to give things my all, if I get involved at all (so the trick to keeping my sanity is to say no in the first place).
  • A - Amenable. Or at least, I hope I am open to new ideas and things. It's something to strive for.
  • T - Tough. I picked this one because it's true in several senses - just ask my kids :) but also, I am tough in the sense that I don't damage or offend easily, and can cope with a lot.
  • E - Earthy - in the down to earth sense. I like some of the synonyms Roget gives: down-to-earth, easygoing, folksy, funky, homey, natural, pragmatic, robust, uninhibited, unrefined

Probably not the very best set of words to describe me, but then, we can't control the spelling of our name (well, actually, we can, but that's another story).

Productive Wednesday...

So I guess today will balance my Monday where I didn't do anything, as I did a lot - even by my own standards. This was partly because I was tired of running errands as I seem to have be doing mainly that since school started again, and partly because my friend Lana's husband had promised to come over and install my wireless network today so I just decided to stay in and wait for him. And then, once he got here, he didn't need my input most of the time, just for the odd bit of info, so I was free to go upstairs and sew. So I did!

Right, so to start the day, here's some of my post - this is another little squishie hug on the left, this time from Anne who sent the most amazing baggie full of bits (and lots of rickrack, of which I have virtually none) - it was a minor shame that I managed to drop it and spill it all out on the floor, but then again, picking it all back up did give me a good chance to look at each little bit. :) I have actually managed to use some already (see inchies below).

The stuff on the right came from Ruth in South Africa, and I knew it was coming, but certainly didn't expect it yet as it was only posted on Friday, and the post from South Africa is notoriously variable in speed and safety. Funny thing is, something else which was posted to me first class from Cheshire on the 12th also got here today - so late that actually, you are no longer annoyed but only relieved that it wasn't lost completely. Anyway. Ruth sent me, at my cheeky request, some scraps of African fabric so I can inject a little more interest into my blocks I am swapping with Karol Ann.

Here's what I did today, or some of it, anyway. I finished the orange colourplay pieces - luckily, I don't have to back and edge them, so they are done at this stage. I backed and edged the sunset cards (finally - they have been sitting on my table for weeks) and can address them tonight.

While doing the orange colourplay pieces, I was overcome with the desire to do some inchies - or to be more precise, inch-and-a-half-ies. I decided they would be great for one of the people I owe for the Pay it Forward Swap offer I made on my blog a while back. I do hope that Toni doesn't hate orange... Most of the bits on the inchies came from the squishies that Anne and Jane sent me. I confess to having bought the orange button and the letter beads, and the sequins.

And on the right above, an African block for Karol Ann, made largely from the fabrics received from Ruth today. Do I kick efficient butt or what? But seriously, when I got the fabric, those little blue doll motifs just screamed at me to do something with them right away, and luckily, I was having the kind of day where I could. So I did.

And last, but not least, a leaf postcard from Liz in California for the Arts in the Mail leaf themed swap - and the photo on the right is a teaser for something to come tomorrow, which is photos of the discharging I did today (told you it was a productive day) - 8 fat eights, discharged in a variety of methods, one being discharge paste applied like screen printing. I haven't steam ironed the discharge paste yet (which I understand is supposed to smell pretty awful) so not sure how they will turn out, but I have high hopes. Two pieces were done with the screen, three with bleach pens and three by folding and dipping in a bleach solution. As I said, pictures tomorrow when they are dry and ironed.