Friday, December 28, 2007

A few days away...

Just a quick note to say, that's it from me until Tuesday (probably evening) when we return from MIL's house. Amazingly, I have caught up with all my email and all my blog reading (this is due to having recently acquired a laptop, so I can read email while watching telly - and to the fact that a lot of people are away having Christmas instead of being attached to their computers like saddos, like me).

Anyway, happy holidays to all and see you in the New Year!

Productive day - but no sewing

Usually, I take my Christmas decorations down on New Year's Day, but this year, we are going to be up at Geoff's mum's house until New Years - and as I couldn't face coming home to a house full of decorations needing to be taken down and cleaning needing to be done, I decided to get them down early, today.

That in itself doesn't take that long, but I also do a fairly thorough cleaning and then, rearrange all the pottery, knick-knacks and so on which adorn the house (I draw the line at moving the pictures which are hanging on the walls) . One thing it accomplishes is that everything gets a thorough dusting (or washing, where necessary) but also, I think you tend to stop really seeing things when they stay in the same place for too long. So this is a chance to refresh the way the house looks. And I have about one box too many knick knacks and bits of pottery, so some of it goes away for a year...

I did manage to do something with some of our Christmas cards - made one of these ball ornaments (it still needs a string of some sort - and I might put some glitter around the edges). I remember we had one of these when I was a kid - it had a small bit of fake mistletoe hanging off the bottom. My mother may still have it, who knows. Anyway, it takes 20 circles of card and some tacky glue (I totally recommend the tacky glue - it removes the need for paper clips, which get really fiddly), and you can find the instructions here.

I also got a few things in the post (though still not the missing postcards from Vicki and Carole, sigh) - the orange block above for the orange swap, the two postcards below - one is for the 1950's swap, from Anne R; the other is for the reused and recycled swap, from Caroline. The central panel is a crisp packet!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sarah's sudoku quilt and a bag

Pardon my knees there in the picture... These two blocks were made not by me, but by DD1, Sarah, who decided that today was a good day to start her quilt for Sandown quilt show (June). She's doing a sudoku style quilt - nine fabrics, all arranged so no same fabric is in the same row, etc. Like the puzzles. These are two of the nine sashed nine-patch blocks. She was a little annoyed at me by the end of the session as I insisted that we redo the blocks in a couple of places where the sashing was badly misaligned (a little mis-alignment is fine - she's 10, after all - but she has lazy tendencies and hates to pin things & I'm trying to teach her that being careful in the first place is better than re-doing...)

The other thing I did today was to make a bag - this is like a plastic carrier bag, except it's fabric, and it folds up into the outside pocket to make a little parcel. I intend to keep it in the panniers of my bike (might make another one as well) as I frequently forget to take bags out with me when on my bike (the car is fine as there are loads of bags in the boot). Obviously I can put purchases in my panniers, but getting them from the shop to where I've parked the bike can be a challenge...
Anyway, this bag is the first in the 2008 BQL (British Quilt List) Bag Challenge - each month there will be a new bag pattern for us to make (if we've made the previous one) - if you don't finish on time, you miss out on new patterns until you are finished. But potentially, there are 12 possible bags to make & collect. I am a co-moderator of this list, so I get sneak peeks on some of the bags, and may well make some out to test the instructions, etc, but I won't be showing them here until the actual month they appear. By the end of the year, I imagine I'll have more bags than I know what to do with (Christmas pressies for 2008?). [By the way, this one isn't breaking the embargo - it was give out early as a Christmas present!]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Journal Quilt Project - Week 6 - and little boxes

So today, here's what I did - first, I made two boxes - I sort of felt obliged to do that today, as it was Boxing Day and all - then I decided to take all the leftover off cuts from the boxes and sew them together to form the base of a journal quilt for this week. Added some MetaMica paint, some decorative stitching and a bunch of bits and pieces in purple and silver, and hey presto. I think next week I may be moving on to another colour, though - I've had enough purple for a few weeks...

The lonely advent pictures

Thought I'd share with you the three pictures we didn't use this year - a second ornament, a house, and a sledge. Poor lonely pictures! I have plans to make at least one new one for next year, so I guess there will be four lonely ones in 2008 :)

Pay it forward - Karina and others

Karina, you left a comment on my pay it forward message on my blog and I'd love to be able to send you something, but your email address doesn't show and your profile on blogger is private, so I have no way to send you anything - please email me at katelnorth (at) yahoo (dot) com and let me know your details!

If anyone eles is interested, I still have some spaces on offer for my pay it forward swap - check out the details here...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Well, lots of nice quilting related presents, and secret sisters and all that kind of stuff. Which is nice :)

Below are two views of a bag made for me by my Secret Santa in one of my groups - isn't it lovely? Great for taking to quilt shows, etc to hold your credit cards and camera and other bits and pieces.

Below is a necklace which I bought from Gina as a Christmas present for me - and next to it, the bag which it came in, which, we all agree, we like as much as, if not more than, the necklace! It's truly fabulous. And on the right, some fabric which I also picked out when I was in San Diego in November - aren't you all impressed I put it aside to be a Christmas present? I am!

Here are some more secret santa gifties - on the left, a quilted cushion in Christmassy fabrics from my BQL secret santa (the made present), and on the right, a selection of goodies from my other BQL secret santa (the bought present) - all of which I like, but in particularl, I like the box at the front right, which is a double sided box to hold lots of little bits of things. Being the type of person who has lots of little bits... well, you just KNOW it will be useful!

I also got three of these little canvasses with easels from my friend Margery - who had mentioned them online a few months ago, but the shop she got them from, there wasn't one near me, so she sent me some for Christmas. Gotta love those RAKs (random acts of kindess). And finally, some more fabric, this also from the secret santa who sent me the bag. Great colours, and I'm sure they will be highly useful. In all, a good haul! Oh, and I did get some presents that weren't quilting related, too - bath stuff, a nice pottery bowl, a thingy to hang in my window, and so on.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Advent Day 25: Baby Jesus in a manger

Good guess, Joyce - it IS a manger. We aren't a highly religious family, but I do love this little picture, especially the light shining off the baby Jesus...

Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Little boxes

In January, my surface embellishment group is swapping these little boxes, the pattern for which comes from Quilting Arts (enlarge the pattern to 200 per cent). I need five for the swap, and did two today - I will probably add some more embellishments a bit later, maybe some foiling or beads, but I thought I'd at least get a few done. I've seen boxes done by several others in the group and I think it's going to be a fun swap - here are Wil's boxes, and here are Judi's.

This is a really simple, fun box to make for a special thing, and for a swap it's great, as you can post them flat, rather than folded up.

Two week long giveaway

Just a little something this week for the giveaway - those of you following the advent calendar may recognise this block - this is the first cardinal that I did, before remembering to re-size the pattern to 3 inches instead of 4 inches, so that it would actually fit in the calendar... It has been in with my Christmas stuff for the last few years, waiting for me to do something with it, but I decided this year that as I had so many nice comments about the cardinal, I would offer it up on the blog giveaway. It's approximately 4.5" square, and still has the paper on the back. The right hand side is not malformed, it simply needs pressing!

Anyway, if you would like a chance to win this little chap, please leave a comment before Sunday, 6 January - as I am away at my MIL's without computer access for a few days between Christmas and New Year's, I decided to just make this giveaway last two weeks instead of the usual one.

Advent Day 24: Stockings Hung by the Chimney

Today's picture is one of my favourites - Stockings Hung by the Chimney (with care, of course!). We always save this for Christmas Eve, even though technically, we hang up the stockings when we put the tree up, and we haven't got a chimney (or rather, we have a chimney breast from the old days, but no fireplace or mantel). Can you guess what tomorrow's picture might be? I'll give a clue - it's thematic for Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Swap a L'Orange

Finished up my blocks today for the Orange swap - one of these blocks is from the other day when I forgot to take a photo, but the other five are from today. I won't post them out until after Christmas, but at least i can tick them off my list for January (which is, of course, now getting alarmingly long). That's about all I have to show for today (though I did have a little clear out of two baskets full of miscellaneous bits and pieces, which really needed filing away), but we did do other fun, holiday type things, like build a gingerbread house and play games...

Giveaway winners - for two weeks

Well, congratulations to me for remembering to draw the string square block winners today - and thanks to a random number generator this week, the winners are... Zizzybob and Karol Ann (see - I knew that going off to South Africa for the winter would mean you'd finally win something!). Barbara, I'll put your blocks in the post soon - after Christmas, probably. Karol Ann, I'll wait yours until you get back! New draw tomorrow, if I remember...

Advent Day 23: Heart

This one was chosen by Olivia today. Only two more to go - seems like just yesterday the calendar was nearly empty!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas inchies

Decided it was time to do something with the Christmas inchies from one of my swaps - here they are in a frame. I actually have some more coming from another swap, but as those are all double-sided and carefully made with holes for hanging, I will probably hang them. A few of these were actually double sided or had little dangles or hangers, but I decided that it was better to make a tiny change and have them on display that to put them "somewhere" where they'd never be seen again... Granted, these won't be on view all year, but I'll add them to my seasonal decorations, so that should be fun.

Advent Day 22: Star

Gosh, nearly done now! Not much choice left for the pictures, as we always use the same ones for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself. You'll be surprised, though, even if we won't!

Slight hopes of getting some work done today, as we have friends coming to lunch, but perhaps if I get back from the farmers' market early enough I will have an hour or so to play in...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ornaments, etc

This is the ornament I made last night from the free kit from the LQS - the butterfly charm was my own, but it needed something in the centre. The little jumper ornament came from Selfridge's today - couldn't resist, as it was so cute - and as I can't knit, there's no chance I'd ever knit myself a little one. Probably wouldn't anyway, even if I could knit, as I can see this being a LOT of work. There are some more of the ornaments on my tree shown over here on my family blog, if you are interested.

And two more things - one an ornament I made a few years ago, the other, a postcard I got today from Wil for our postcard swap. One of those ones that's a bit hard to photograph, due to the shininess.

Advent Day 21: Drum

We forgot to put up a picture this morning before we left for a day up in town - Natural History Museum, and then Christmas windows, lights, etc in the West End - but when we came home Alex picked this drum, because we saw and heard some steel drummers drumming in Oxford Street in aid of the NSPCC - they were very good. First time I've ever heard "Little Donkey" done calypso style...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Quilt Project - Week 5

On Fibre and Stitch, a challenge was issued to do something with some scraps - select a small baggie of scraps, spending no more than 15 minutes picking them out, then make something. We were allowed to add various other things, including up to a yard of other fabric, but I didn't (add fabric - I did embellish, of course), as I decided to combine this with my journal quilt for the week, given that I had very little sewing time this week anyway. I started with a layer of misc small purple scraps, which I fused down, then did FMQ on the seams. Then I added lots of purple yarns and fibres, then some ribbon of various sizes, and some wool, finally stitching on some skeleton leaves and some purple mesh, then gluing on some polymer clay faces and words, and some little jewels. And a pink ribbon around the edge to finish.

It's a bit hard to see all the layers in the photo, but the closeups show them a bit better. I stitched the whole thing with purple variegated thread, as well, so there's some texture from that in there, too.

I also made a block for my orange swap today, but I forgot to take a photo of it. This isn't a big problem because it looks more or less exactly like the last one I made. Five more to go, I think.

And I got some nice things in the post. Two postcards - one from Caroline in the "L is for..." swap, the other a belated birthday card from Rayna. You may not be able to see it, but the edges of all the voilet petals & leaves are blanket stitched down - great work.

I also got these two things - one is a little kit for a folded oriental flower Christmas ornament, which was a free gift from my local quilt shop, Creative Quilting, as a thank you for "my custom in the past year" (sweet idea, isn't it). I might even have time to make it - actually, might do it by hand tonight, come to think of it.

The other is two fat quarters, both great, though I particularly love the ladies with bags full of Christmas shopping (this FQ may well end up being a bag or part thereof, I reckon). These came with a Christmas card from Annie, just because she is nice.

Advent Day 20: Angel

Olivia chose the angel for the calendar today. There's a certain irony to that, given the mood she's in at the moment... But perhaps it will help improve her attitude & give her something to aspire to! Can't believe there's only one row left to fill.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas inchies

Another day with no work done - this is because I was able to retrieve my computer (the old one) from the shop - and it works now, though of course, there are lots of fiddly things to be done, like downloading software and so on, which is what I spent part of the afternoon doing. It is also because the kids got out of school at 1.30, so by the time we got back from fetching the computer (and the item of post which had to be signed for, from the local office, which of course is in the opposite direction from the computer place) it was practically time to head to school...

Anyway, amidst all this computer stuff, the post arrived, containing the lovely Christmas inchies above. These are from the swap with Fibre Art Bits. I will get some more Christmas inchies from my surface embellishment group - not sure what I will do with them all when they are here, but I'll think of something. Anyway, aren't they lovely?

And I also got these two lovely postcards - one is for the 1940's swap, and is from Anne R, the other is from Di and is for our Christmas swap - the photo doesn't show quite how sparkly it is, but it's lovely (yeah, I know, I've overused that word in this swap, but it is)... Tomorrow is grocery shopping and face-painting at a birthday party for a friend, so the chance of much work is slim, but you never know!