Sunday, November 30, 2008

HSTs and QSTs

Mostly what I did today was make this bag, which is the November bag for the BQL Challenge. Unlike most months, I didn't test this one in advance - way too busy in October - and although technically I didn't have to make the bag to get the December pattern (as it happens, I have already made the December bag, several weeks ago) I did want to do the full set of bags, just to say I did. I think this is the first one I've made in the month it was meant to be made in - and I almost didn't do that! Anyway, I did it in black-on-black and teal scraps from the scrap basket - Olivia loved it straight off and asked if she could have it, so I've passed it on. It's a messenger style bag with a big flap - I will take some better photos later, though this one is fairly cute...

I'm also showing the blocks I made yesterday for the December block lotto - technically it might still be November (though actually, I'm writing this after midnight, so it's not, really) but as the lotto has been posted already, it's ok to show the blocks now. Yes, if you spotted that the top right one is backwards, you have a sharp eye. I'm going to fix it. But not tonight!

So, a cross-stitch update - finished the NOEL piece - must have watched a lot of telly or something, as I seemed to get a lot done on this, this week. Of course, it's not hard to do - few colours and large expanses, so there's not so much counting involved. The same can not be said of the next piece I am tackling - I've shown my "progress update" on this one, though I only worked on it for about an hour this evening, so there's not much progress just yet. I did some outline stitching on the word "herald" which probably doesn't show, plus filled in the hair and outlined the face on the green angel, and have started working my way down the green skirt. I think I might skip over to the blue angel and do the face next, though, as it's slightly disconcerting that her face is so blank...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Catching up

Well, though I did some sewing today, what I did was make 8 blocks for the December block lotto, and because it's not December yet, I can't show them!

What I can show instead are these:

the items I received for the Surfacing 2nd anniversary challenge - two members each send two other members something and that person has to make something with what was received. I received a piece of pieced batik fabric and a piece of printed silk from Kathleen and a piece of heat-treated and painted plastic and one of metal from Kelly. No idea what I'm going to do with these yet, but hope to be inspired in a day or two.

I can also show these:

a collaged box I won from Lenna, for her 500th post contest on the Creative Swaps blog and a star themed ATC from Jan for the motif lottery on Textile Challenges.

And finally, I can show these - two finished minis - both now bound, and indeed, posted off to new homes. I bound the Spring Fling Round Robin, too, but I can't show that, as it's still secret. It will go in the post very soon, though, and hopefully, be received in its new home before long. [Oh, and for those wondering, I do like "Joy" better now that it's quilted!]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not Thanksgiving, but very productive

First, a wish for a very Happy Thanksgiving to all you yanks out there reading my blog - hope you have a great day, with lovely food, and a fun time with friends and/or family. And of course, good shopping tomorrow... I don't bother to mark the occasion really - as it's not a holiday, nor is tomorrow, it's a bit hard to get into the spirit...we did have some sweet potatoes at dinner, so that will have to count for holiday eating!

Lots of stuff to show today - including the two things I got in the post yesterday, which I forgot to blog. But first, what I got in the post today - this fabulous mini quilt! This is my quilt from the Spring Fling Round Robin 2, and isn't it lovely? I'm really, really pleased with it - everything, from the fabric choice to the design, to the quilting, is well done and although it's very much to my taste, it's probably not something I would have made for myself, which makes it all the better.

So, many thanks to Julia (centre), Tami (first border), Helen (second border) and Luisa (quilting, binding, finishing) - the quilt is really first rate. Thanks!

I did do some work myself, amidst the carpet fitters (hoorah - the decoration is DONE!), gas & electric meter reader guy, postman, Ocado delivery, laundry, and goodness knows what else... The November ATC lottery for Textile Challenges (this month's theme was a motif - I had to do "leaf", which was straightforward enough) was one thing I did - I did three ATCs, although I only have to send one, as it's always useful to have a few extras knocking around. The big leaf is done with embossing powder & a heat gun; the backgrounds were some I had in my box of pre-made backgrounds, which seemed particularly suitable.

I also did 4 postcards for an Angelina themed swap - basically you just had to use Angelina somewhere in the postcard. My first thought was to use a technique I've never had much luck with - using a rubber stamp and an iron to create a shape in the angelina - but I still didn't have much luck with it, so I ended up making a thin sheet of angelina fibres and embossing a design onto it. I then added some other bits and pieces and sewed and/or glued it to a quilted background and backed with some interesting paper. They've come out fairly well, though of course they are better in person - Angelina is very hard to photograph.

And finally - or perhaps I should have put it first as it's the first thing I did - the arch for November for the year-long swap on Textile Challenges. Only one more month to go with this swap - it's been really great, I think. I would miss it, but next year's swap/challenge is going to be good, too, as it's going to be houses. I expect to have fun with that one.

Anyway, this arch is for Pam, who liked relics and the aged look. Not sure I've accomplished that, though I do like the arch - I used some of the rust-dyed fabric with indigo in it, a photo of a ruin at Ephesus (from my personal collection, lol), and other bits and pieces including lace, buttons, metal embellishments and some lovely dangly things Lana sent me from India for my birthday. I hope she likes it.

And last but not least - what I got in the post yesterday. A postcard from Jeannette for "X is for..." - in her case, it's just for "X" and she's done little people as X's. X is hard. I've been debating what to do myself, but still haven't really come to any conclusions. The cards aren't due out until the 15th of December, and frankly, it might take me most of that time to decide what I want to do - I'm thinking about a treasure map with "X marks the spot" but who knows, I might get sudden inspiration in the next few days.

I also received another selection of Japanese fabrics from my monthly club. I may have to stop that club at some point, as I seem to be doing more accumulating than actually using the fabrics...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quilting day

Well, I did get lots of things done today, for a change, and despite working lunchtime at school (it was very cold standing in the playground, I'll tell you!) - I put the binding on a the little mini quilt I made as an angel quilt in the ALQS swap (with 9 patches & HST units); I quilted and put the binding on the "Joy" piece - you can see above, sort of, how I've quilted it - a scattering of words in the background, with a textural quilting a little like McTavishing, but not so closely gathered.

And I quilted and put the binding on the Spring Fling Round Robin 2, which has been here a few days waiting for me to be inspired. Can't really show that one, but below is a "sneak peek" which will have to do until the quilt is bound, mailed and safe home with its new owner.

I got some nice post as well - this book came as a thank you from Sharon Z (the American one, not the Canadian one - believe it or not, I had two Sharon Z's in the ALQS2!) for all the work I'd done on the ALQS2 - such a nice thought of her, and totally unnecessary, but I shan't complain as the book is on my list of titles to look for in my travels, so I'm delighted to own it. And the lovely postcard is from Beth - "W is for Water Lily"/ She's used silk flowers & leaves on a very interesting background - not sure how she's made the background, but it's a nice effect - might be a painted dryer sheet or something - or very thin felt, though it's a bit rough for that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Buried treasure...

This card actually arrived some time last week, but got temporarily stuck under one of the piles of stuff while my house was being decorated. Now that the decoration is done, the card is free! It's from Sharon and is for the Neocolour 2 swap - another pretty card from that swap. Good thing I have it to show today, as I didn't do any work. I did, however, have lunch with a friend after my yoga class, so the day was very enjoyable nonetheless!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Noel, noel

Lots of progress this week - this is partly because I had an evening out at quilt group, with no sewing to take, so I took this and worked on it (got the planter filled in that evening). And because my house has been so chaotic that a little cross-stitch is about the only thing I've had the chance to do - luckily, the hallway decoration and the living room are now both DONE!! Hoorah. Not only does it look fabulous, but I have all my space back - the stuff is back where it should be, rather than piled up all over the place. And not before time... Anyway. might finish this piece in the coming week - if not, very soon after, I'd think. And who knows, perhaps I will get some other sewing done in the coming week - it would make a nice change!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Year of Journal Quilts - Nov 2007 - Nov 2008

If you view this in full screen mode, you can see all the descriptions of the little journal quilts as well!

Friday, November 21, 2008

ATC Birthday Swap Update

Hello all - I have now emailed out the list of birthdays and addresses for this swap - if you haven't received it and you are on my list, let me know! There were also a few corrections, which I will remind you of later in the swap year. The plan, as it stands, is to email at the start of each month (or shortly before) to remind you all of which birthdays are in which month - we'll see how far through the year I get before forgetting to do it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Word mini

Here's one of the things I did today (told you I might actually get some work done!) - I also finished testing the December bag pattern, but I can't show you the resulting bag until December. This is the top for a swap on the 6-12" flickr group, where the November theme is words. The problem is, I don't really like it! The idea was to quilt words in the black background with black thread, so it was quite subtle, but I'm not thrilled, so I may go back to my first idea for the swap, which was just quilted words on an unpieced background. We'll see. Perhaps it will grow on me.

I also received a postcard today - belated Neocolour II swap card - but at the moment, I'm not sure where it is - the house is a bit chaotic at the moment, as nearly everything is out of the living room while that's being painted - which means the living room is an insane mess (well - all the furniture in the centre of the room with dropcloths over it) but also that the dining room/computer room are piled high with all the stuff from the living room - which is a lot of stuff, as that's where all the kids' games are and most of the toys, in addition to tons of cds & dvds and so on. Only a few days more, I hope, then it will be all lovely and done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

First of all, just want to say thanks to everyone who has emailed or left a comment, etc, to wish me happy birthday - all those good wishes are welcome, even if I haven't had a chance to reply to them all!

Today I spent the day up in town - first I popped into the Royal Academy to have a look at the exhibit called Aime Maeght and His Artists (the artists in question being Miro, Calder, Giacometti and Braque with a few other bits and pieces). Miro I like ok, Calder I can take or leave and Giacometti I adore. Braque is not an artist about whom I knew a lot before today (not that I know a lot now, but I have more familiarity than I did). I think again, I can take or leave much of his work as I am not a huge cubism fan. I can appreciate the artistic ideas behind it, but it doesn't thrill me to look at it.

There was at the exhibit also a wonderful set of landscapes - and I can't for the life of me remember who they were by - either Braque, which seems unlikely given the style - or Bonnard, which seems perhaps more likely, though I can't find anything like them with a google image search - anyway, they were mostly just very plain, fields and sky, with heavily textured oils, but they were great. [If anyone has seen the exhibit and knows what I'm talking about, let me know the artist - they were on the left hand wall as you came into the back room - four paintings, fairly small - to the left of the showcase with the larger Grecian inspired Braque pieces...]

The exhibit also had a small handful of works by Matisse, including the above picture, Le Buisson (The Bush), a painting I have always liked. So the verdict for me - not so thoroughly enjoyable as the last exhibit I saw there (the Hammershoi) but still a nice visit. The Byzantium exhibit looked promising from a distance, so I may try to get back before that finishes.

Anyway, I came home to lots of nice presents - some of which being:

This treasure trove from Karol Ann - all individually wrapped on the left - including a silk scarf, another African bag, a book, candlestick and diary. And all the bits of ribbon and so on used to wrap the pieces. What a great gift! Thanks, K-A.

Also a lovely card from Marga, which was totally unexpected and very thoughtful, and a package of Indian goodies from Lana, which was totally expected and very thoughtful! And of course she wrapped it all in a gorgeous piece of silk, rather than use something silly like wrapping paper... [this was delivered via Rod a few weeks ago when he was in London on business - I've been dying to open it as Lana always gives good presents...]

And here are a few more - on the left, a bag, purse and magnetic bracelet/necklace from my mother (who, by the way, is doing a Pay it Forward drawing over on her blog - go check it out!) and my birthday socks (cotton, as I am allergic to wool) made for me specially by Cathi, who also gave me a $40 gift certificate to eQuilter - why she thought I could use that.... LOL! Anyway, I love my socks, they are very comfy (not to mention funky) - this photo doesn't really show the funkiness of the knit, but they are indeed totally cool.

I also got a fabulous (original) watercolour painting of some lovely trees (autumnal, trunks, no leaves) which I will attempt to photograph in the daytime - hard to photograph things behind glass without a glare - from my blogless friend Caroline. All the lovely pressies make me wish my birthday had a zero on the end every year!

I didn't do any sewing today, of course (though I have high hopes for tomorrow, as I have to spend the day in the house waiting for someone to come put insulation in my loft some time between 8 and 3) though I did also manage to read an entire book (Property, by Valerie Martin) on the train and while sitting in Camden Lock Market having a coffee. Which is a birthday present of its own, really... I also went out to lunch with Geoff at Hache and had a truly excellent burger. So, happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodies galore

Lots of lovely goodies in the post today - and it's not even my birthday! These stars are from the star swap on Lenna's Creative Swaps website - they are all wonderful in their own, unique way and will make great additions to the tree this year.

All the other pieces are from a complex cloth swap on my surface embellishment group - I particularly like the dark red one, but frankly, they are all superb. Now to think of something to do with them (other than just admire them, that is)...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cross stitch, goals, birthday

I didn't think I'd done much on this cross-stitch until I compared the photos - it's not too bad, really, given that I only have had a few evenings to work this week. (It's my busy social life cutting into cross-stitch time, LOL.) Next week, I might get a bit further on it.

And my goals for the week had a little work done on them as well - not a lot, but some:
  • Last journal quilt - done! I have enjoyed this project, but I am glad I'm done with it...
  • November birthday block - done and in the post
  • coasters for dyehard swap - nope, maybe next week
  • work on Angela's quilt - yeah, well. maybe some day!
Next week, I'm going to try again to get a few things done, LOL:
  • coasters for dyehard swap
  • November arch
  • finish testing December bag pattern
  • November ATC - leaf motif

And finally, I'll show these little buttons - they came in an envelope from my mother with my birthday card - she left me a little present when I was visiting (which I haven't opened yet as my birthday isn't until Wednesday) which squishes promisingly, so I will probably show that to you later in the week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Last journal quilt

Here's the last of the year of journal quilts - number 52. I have done a very simple JQ this week, representing both the end of this project - my 40th birthday, which is next Wednesday - and the beginning - my dad's shirts, which was what I used for the very first JQ I did. In this instance, I used a piece with the pocket still intact, and I intend to cut some bits from the cards I receive, to keep in the pocket. I've enjoyed this project, but I do think I'm glad to have it finished! Next week some time, I think I will put all the photos into flickr, perhaps with the descriptions as well, and set up a slide show - should be fun.

I did also do some more quilting on the fabric for the bag, but it doesn't really look any different than Thursday. I won't get anything more done, as we are having a little get together this evening, so I'll do some cooking - not a fancy dinner party, but it will need lots of nibbles. And I'm not the store-bought nibble type, really. I'll try to remember to take a photo of the food when it's done.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Something to show when you can't show stuff

I received a quilt related thing today in the post - the finished centre to quilt for the Spring Fling Round Robin 2 - but I can't show it. Yadda yadda. There's a lot of that going around, I know. Anyway, I decided instead to share my postcard holder with you - at the moment, it's got an autumnal theme. You probably worked that out. The autumnal theme will last until we're ready for Christmas - I don't always do a seasonal theme - after Christmas I'll probably just go through and pull out a lot of favourites.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A little quilting

Here's what I did today - doesn't really show very well, but I quilted about half of the piece of fabric on the left, in preparation for making the December bag (I'm pattern testing again) for my bag challenge. I know we aren't suppose to show the bag before December, but frankly, a rectangle of quilted fabric doesn't show much. And at least it gives me something to blog. I have FMQ'ed it with purple thread more or less around some of the motifs on this very busy butterfly wing fabric - I hope the end result will be pleasing, but you can't see that until December, LOL.