Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Couple of postcards

Two lovely offerings in the post today - one is for Olivia, from the kids swap - this is the one on the left, with the batik flower. Unfortunately, the card lost some beads in the post - we are guessing it was meant to say Olivia, but at the moment only says "OL"...

The flip flops were a surprise offering, a thank you from Sylvia, who had asked for suggestions about making cards with flip flop themes - these flip flops are nothing like what I suggested but she sent me some anyway, as a thank you. Perhaps she used my idea on a different card... Aren't quilters and other people who make postcards lovely?

No work today - my mother and I took Olivia shopping & to lunch for a treat as Sarah is doing tennis camp this week and my friend Lorayne had Alex for the day (his best friend Nancy's mum) to repay some babysitting. And amazingly, I didn't buy anything sewing related, though I did look in both Tatters (a fabric shop in Kingston) and John Lewis for stiff interfacing for postcards, and didn't find any in either place. I hope my regular place gets some more in stock soon!

Monday, July 30, 2007

That star again

Well, here we have a lovely "winter" postcard from Joan (I really like this tree) and The Star Block in yet another colourway. This one is a nine inch treatment for Joy for the birthday swap (two August blocks done and it's not even the 1st yet - woohoo - but I will be away for substantial parts of August, so I am trying to get organised). She wanted bright batiks with a navy or midnight blue background - this photo was taken in full sun, very bright (for once!) so it's actually a wee bit bright than in person, but gives the general idea. I like it. It's bright, but funky. Hopefully, Joy will like it too. One more to go (and she wants something "summery" - in beach/southwest type colours - the colours I think I have a fairly good idea of, but no idea what I'll do for the block yet; probably not this star, though) and I can tick August off the list.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Postcards with help

We worked on two sets of postcards today - Sarah helped with both of them. The red cards are for the swap Something beginning with H. After a lot of internal debate and dithering, I decided to go with "holes" - here using eyelets and an eyelet setter. Sarah helped punch the holes, but found she wasn't really strong enough to set the eyelets. The decorative stitching and the flowers are there because the eyelets alone were too boring...

We also worked on some cards for the "pink & purple" swap - the above is a prototype. We did eight cards up to the stage of adding the beads & sequins, which is done by hand, but the photo I took of them all together made them look blue rather than purple, whereas the colour is much truer on this photo. We have lots of fun with the loosely themed swaps - the kids often help me decide what to put on them - in this case, we used paper shapes, a skeleton leaf, angelina, a piece of sheer fabric, ribbon, sequins, beads & tiny jewels. And thread, of course. Not sure how they will be edged yet, but probably fairly traditionally as I don't have any eyelash yarn in either pink or purple. Actually, I think I might do satin stitch in a different colour of pink or purple down each side - that would be easy, but fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nothing to say...

Nope, nothing at all. Spent the day walking all around Camden Town - market and otherwise - with my mum and DD1 (age nearly 10) - didn't but anything quilt or craft related in the market (though I did buy a cheap bracelet and an inexpensive handbag - oh, and lunch!) and didn't even arrive home to any post, so there's really nothing to show :) Even I have my off days! (But I can't regret it, as it was a lovely day out, and tomorrow is due to rain all day, so there should be plenty of sewing to make up for the last few days...)

Friday, July 27, 2007


Well, complex cloth. Here's another one for me to work on, in August sometime. Not sure it shows well in the photo, but it has been worked on twice - the starting piece, which is the blue, and then a lovely shibori, which is quite light, over top. No idea what I will do yet, but presumably if I wait long enough, it will tell me what it wants...

No work to show today, as we spent the day at Kew Gardens. I did sew two half-cats last night, but I haven't been showing half-cats, only whole ones, and anyway, you can imagine from the last few days, what they look like.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Double sided (but still tailless) cats

Well, here's a double ended cat. So to speak. Sorry about the bad lighting, it's late here and getting better lighting is too complicated for me to cope with at the moment. Anyway, this is one of the units composed of two cats - the top row of the quilt has single cats, then there are two double rows (you can check the pattern out - it's in yesterday's entry).

Thanks to everyone for all the comments about the cats - they seem really popular, even among people who aren't cat mad. I can see why, as I was attracted to them, despite not being a cat person, per se (I like cats fine, have nothing against them, have lived with them in the past, but am not a Cat Person). The funny thing is, as I was saying in an email to Susan earlier, I had been putting off working on this quilt because of all the fiddly bits, and not being sure I'd enjoy it, and actually, between the work itself, which is going well (the handwork in front of the telly is particularly relaxing - perhaps I'll tackle a New York Beauty when this is done), and all the lovely comments, it's really fun.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More cats, and cords, inchies, cards and so on

So, lots of stuff happening here today - the kids slubbed around in the morning in their pyjamas and watched telly for ages, which was great, as that meant sewing time for mummy. It pays to take them out for the day and wear them out completely, I guess...

Anyway, I started by putting together the two half cats, to make two whole cats (well, nearly whole - no tails until later, and no faces just yet). I think I will wait until I have at least 8 of them done before I try to put them together any further than just the cat block. Many of you have commented on them, so I took a photo of the whole pattern today, so you can see how the tails go - you can probably tell if you enlarge the picture, the tails are also sawtooth. (And dang it - just spotted a mistake in these cats - I put the background fabric between the legs instead of the body fabric - d'oh! the blue cat should have taupe and the brown cat, gold. Will fic that later!)

After finishing up the cats, I went to do the edging on my winter postcards (photo below) but there was some contention among girls about who was going to use the computer, so I separated them and took one upstairs with me to make some inchies - the ones on the left are Olivia's (aren't they great? I only did the rotary cutting and the edging and helped with the glue, but all the design work is hers alone); the ones on the right are mine - they show up a little better in person, but the black background isn't quite as successful as some of the other colours, I think, although I did have a reason for wanting to do a dark background which is...

I used a slightly larger piece (1.25") to make a background for one of my new faces, which I made into a necklace, using a cord made with my new Diva cord maker. I think the cord is a little wonky in places, as both the girls took turns using it, but frankly, it still looks fine, and I'm very happy with the necklace - the little face
is on a background of Angelina-covered black fabric on this not-quite-inchie.

And finally, here's a postcard I received today - this is from the June challenge on Arts in the Mail (fabric painting) - and is a beautiful Dogwood from Jan in Canada. Really lovely. Makes me wish I could draw... And here's a close up of the finished winter postcard, a little over-exposed, but you get the basic idea. My machine kept skipping stitches in the satin stitch - cleaning out rather a lot of fluff from the bobbin carriage seemed to clear that up, but I confess to leaving some gaps in the stitching anyway!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More in the alphabet series

No work done of my own today, because the weather was glorious (finally!) so we headed out for a day at the amusement park. Fun was had, friends were bumped into while standing in queues, small people (and big ones too) are worn out. After so much bad weather, everyone was just in a really good mood today, I think; it was a very nice day out (more on my family blog if you want to know).

Came home to some fun post - two cards from swaps - Helicopter from "H is for..." from Nancy, and Gourd from "G is for" from Melinda. Just realised the gourd card is sideways as the word "gourd" isn't right way up. I'm not going to turn it around here, you'll just have to imagine it!

The purple fabric is Karen's CCRR, after Judi has shibori-ed it. I now have to do something to it, but not until August, so I think I will let it sit and wait until it speaks to me. Or until the end of August, whichever comes first...

I did also make two half-cats (ick, as my mother said) last night watching telly - just the backs and bellies, basically - but I'll wait until I attach them to the front half of the cats before posting a photo. They look nice, though - it's going to be a fun quilt (I know I said that before, but luckily, it's still true).

Tomorrow we are going to mostly stay home and rest (the kids will probably watch telly until most of the morning is over - they deserve a few days like that in the summer, after all) so hopefully, there will be lots of sewing!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Faces, kitties, goodies, winter

Lookie what I got in the post today - aren't these faces just the most fabulous? They are tiny - the biggest one is slightly larger than a 10p piece. And yes, they are amazing. I admired them on Dy's blog with a comment about giving them a home across the world and she sent me some (don't you love bloggers? There is so much generosity out there, both of actual items like in this case, but also just the sharing of information and skills - makes you feel that actually, people are pretty nice, despite what the rest of the world sometimes makes you think). Anyway. Thanks again to Dy; I will have to find something special to do with these - the two-tone man face with bead eyes might be nice on a beaded doll...

Other accomplishments today include a trip to my local haberdashery department (with three kids in tow - oh joy!) which netted the above goodies - some were sale items, some were intended for a winter theme postcard swap (not that I used all of them, but I did use some and I figured that anything I didn't use could be used at Christmas). And I put together my first cat for my mom's quilt - the back I pieced last night while watching telly and I put the rest together today. I have (since this photo was taken) taken apart the leg and made the two legs even. The cat will later have a pieced tail similiar to the back and some embroidered eyes, mouth & whiskers, but for the moment, I am just putting together the basic blocks.

And I also did most of the winter postcards - my mother was interested in seeing how I did a series of postcards, so she sat and watched & chatted & even helped a bit as I fiddled with these. When they are completely dry, I will probably edge them with the white eyelash yarn I bought today (I'm a bit into eyelash edging at the moment), but we'll see - perhaps I'll decide against it, like I did with the snowman sequins...

Tomorrow probably won't have much sewing as we are hoping to take the kids to Chessington World of Adventures (at the moment, not only are they predicting no rain, but also predicting that there will be...wait for it...sun). But maybe another cat will get pieced tonight!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Christmas star

Are you getting tired of this pattern yet? I'm sure I'll use it again for some of the other people who want star blocks in my birthday block swap - it makes up very nicely into both 9 and 12" versions, and probably other sizes too, as it's paper-pieced, so I can print it out any size I want. And I'm thinking of making a couple for my African block swap, too, though perhaps not for the very next turn. This one is for LisaJo, who wanted (this won't surprise you) Christmas colours/fabrics.

We went out this afternoon, so I didn't do a lot of work today, just this block and a bit of preliminary cutting and organising for working on my mom's cat quilt (sawtooth calico cats - the backs are pieced in arcs of triangles, as are the tails - I'm thinking I might actually do those parts by hand while watching telly). No photo there, though, as 20 baggies of different coloured squares is not very interesting...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Less rain, more sewing

Well, this may not look like a very exciting postal day, but in addition to the lovely card ("G is for Giraffe" from Kim) I also got this package of Misty Fuse from a friend in the US, who bought some in bulk to share out among my surface embellishment group. We reimbursed her for it, but it still takes a bit of effort to order it, package it up and mail it to us, and for those of us who can't get it in our own country, it's great. I haven't tried it out yet, but am looking forward to using it with sheers and the like, as I understand it doesn't really show, unlike some of the other fusibles.

I also took a little time to make this block (you may recognise it by now) in blues for the birthday block swap. I am taking over for a member who has had to resign from the group I am not in (there are 3 groups) and so am catching up with the two blocks done already for that group. This is one of them (well, she wanted a 12" star, so it seemed sensible to use this one again - I really like it!). The other one will be this pattern, too, in Christmas colours. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A watery day

So, here's a photo of the cord maker in action - I finished quite a long piece of lovely blue cord, which I'm not sure what I'm going to do with, but at least I know how to use it now (it's really easy - great for watching telly or on an airplane). The cord was kind of experimental, so it has no purpose waiting for it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it appear in some postcards at some point... That was from last night.

I did actually get some work done today - I tidied up my sewing room, which had become a repository for stuff, and finished the blue cards. I was going to start another group of cards, but didn't have enough pelmet vilene on hand, so made the mistake of suggesting to my mother and Alex that we go out to New Malden in search of some and have a nice coffee and run a few more errands while we were there. Hey, it was raining, but a little rain never hurt anyone, right? Well, this wasn't a little rain, it was a deluge. Serious rain, and flash floods. Wow. In the end the abandoned the attempt to get to the shop that sells the vilene as we heard it was flooded and they were moving stock upstairs, so we thought it an errand better accomplished on a different day. If you want to get an idea what the flooding was like, you can check out the photos on my family blog... We did get the coffee, though :)

Anyway. I also got this postcard in the mail from Debbie - it was from the June challenge (Fabric painting) on Arts in the Mail. Suprised the postman managed to get here, through all the rain & floods! (By the way, the water is receding from the back garden now - it's gone down at least 4 inches from the photos.)


Recently, Annie nominated me for the Blogger Reflection Award (thanks! glad you enjoy reading it) and I think I'm supposed to nominate 5 people. Trying to think of just five is a bit hard for me - I either end up with too many or I get it right and then think of someone else the next day, and so on, so I just thought I'd mention a few blogs which I find particularly good for reflection. If you're a regular visitor here, you know I read a ton of blogs, and enjoy them all for different reasons - because I feel the people have become friends, because they inspired me to try different work, because they say interesting things, because I just like gawping at their great stuff, because I enjoy a glimpse into someone's life who lives in a very different place from me, and so on. So these blogs here are just a few, off the top of my head, which make me reflect - but everyone I list on the side is worth a visit for one reason or another!

Dotee's Life & Art - Not only does Dotee make great little dolls, ATCs, collages and so on, but I have been enjoying her journey of self-discovery in these past months.

Jo always does the most amazing crazy and encrusted work, but also, I find those blogs of women who have small children and still do art reassuring and inspirational - I've had several conversations with Jo (who lives across the world from me - don't you love the internet?) about balancing personal needs with being a mum... Believe me, it can be done, don't despair!

Simmy has a great selection of handmade items, but again, it's her general conversation about life with kids and art together that make me select her for this list.

Yarnstorm. Jane's blog is great to read. And beautiful to look at. What can I say. Oh, and she has a book coming out this Autumn (The Gentle Art of Domesticity). Go visit.

Dorothy frequently makes me laugh, and frequently makes me annoyed (not at her but at something she also is expressing outrage or indignation at) and basically, frequently makes me think. Oh, and she does some quilting, too.

OK, that's five. I need to sort some stuff out in my sewing room (no work for three days, but lots of new stuff coming in and being dumped on the table - ack!) and I need to do laundry and a bunch of other stuff before the kids finish school at 1.30 today for the summer (well, Alex finished yesterday, but as he's really tired and it's pouring rain, I think a day of vegging in front of the telly is in order).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nothing much to say

Spent the day today shopping in Guildford and having lunch in a proper restaurant, with my mother and my friend Lana. We had a nice day, bought a few things, mostly earrings in the Accessorize half price sale, and of course hit the Lakeland shop. I didn't buy much craft stuff, but these two things were in the bargain section - the stamps were something I had looked at in the catalogue before but deemed too expensive - at half price, they seemed more reasonable. And the little brads were just 99p, so I couldn't resist.

I got home to find these two postcards in the post - the fishy one is from Mary for the Anything Goes swap on Art We Mail; the bluebells are from JoAnn in Alaska for the blue swap on FAI. (Tomorrow, I will get my own blue cards done and perhaps posted - they only need backing and edging, so it shouldn't be that hard to accomplish...)

I did play a little bit with my new cord maker while watching House tonight, but haven't taken a photo yet - perhaps tomorrow; I'm too tired tonight to deal with it! And still full from lunch (& dessert).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Finished Floral

Although I haven't had much time for sewing these past two days, I did manage to finish the floral quilt. I didn't do the quilting myself this time, but I did manage to sew the binding on - so it's finished, and on its way to its new owner. Whew.

And lots of nice things in the post today. This block from Karol Ann, which is for the African block swap we are doing - very simple, but very effective. And this lovely set of Oliver Twists with it (not part of the same thing, just a gratuitous (but very welcome) gift). I do love interesting fibres, as I'm sure you have noticed!

Also got these two postcards -the one on the left from the June Challenge (Fabric Painting) on Arts in the Mail - it's from Jovita in Lithuania; the one on the right from Anna for the Blue swap on FAI. Both are great cards & I'm glad to have them. Must finish up my blue cards and get them posted - they are practically done, so it seems silly not to.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lots of quiltie presents

Went to the airport today to collect my mother who is visiting for a few weeks - got stuck in the most appalling traffic, which was very boring. Luckily, having my mother here compensates for the boredom, even without all the goodies she brought me. And with the goodies, well, so much the better. Here's a Diva Fiber Cord Maker I ordered from Joggles and had sent to her address - saw it on someone's blog, but can't remember whose now - but looks fun. And this small quilt is my quilt from the Twisted Mystery 2 Challenge on Quilt Shoppe Forum - it's made by Vicki, and actually, I'd seen pictures of it before, but this is the first time I've seen it in person - it is, of course, even nicer in person than in photos. Now to work out where there might be space to hang it!

These books are from a bunch I bought second-hand from a friend on one of my lists - there was a third one, too, which I can't remember what it was - something about scraps - but it seems to have walked away before being photographed. I'm sure it's around somewhere though. I'm not buying a lot of books about scrap quilting, even though I enjoy it, but it's hard to resist the ones that are really cheap.

The fabric is a suprise - there's a nice quilt shop up near where my aunt & uncle live in New York (this is my mom's brother), so she often visits there - the shop is in Hammondsport, New York - and she bought me all these funky fabric - there are some fat quarters on the right, and larger pieces on the left. I love fabric (as you might know), so I'm happy.

And the post - two cards (three actually, but one was my own lantern coming home) - G is for Grapes, from Priscilla in the "G is for..." swap. And a lovely purple one for the Anything Goes swap on ArtWeMail.

I did actually do a little work - I made the binding for the floral quilt for Marjorie, which has come back from the longarmer and looks lovely. I attached it as well, so I can get it mostly sewn down tonight at quilt group, I hope. Close to the deadline, but looks like we'll make it. Whew!

Teacher Thank Yous

As promised, here at the postcards that the girls made for their teachers for thank-yous this year - because the cards are not going to be mailed, we cheated a little and just glued down all the beads & sequins instead of sewing them. I did help a bit with the edging especially on Olivia's cards, but on the whole they did them themselves, especially the selection and layout. I think they are lovely and the teachers better be pleased to recieve them.

The green one above is Olivia's, the two below are Sarah's (each class has a teacher and a teaching assistant).

And the two below are Olivia's - for various reasons, she's had two teachers job-sharing this year, so she made three cards.