Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Hawaii...

Nearly finished all my blocks for the double four patch blocks of the last Hawaiian shirt quilt (or maybe not the last, we'll see, but the last of the ones I have already committed to making). And I also put together another set of the blocks into pairs - we are getting there. But nothing will happen tomorrow, I shouldn't think, as I will end up being at school most of the day. So, I'll bump this goal to next week - will try to get all the Hawaiian tops completed by next week. And then I can start pinning them together for quilting.... Quite a productive day, though it might not look it.

Winter Quilt - mine all mine

A quick mid-day blog because I thought this deserved its own post anyway, and I'll have other stuff to say, later. Arrived in the post today (in a van, separate from the other post) was this lovely box (above left) - which upon being opened, yielded all these goodies - tea, chocolates, more tea, some Burt's Bees goodies, and...

best of all, my winter quilt from the Four Season's Quilt Swap. I knew it was going to be late, so while I was eager to see it, I haven't been panicking. And isn't it lovely? It was made for me by the lovely Hedgehog, in Finland (not an actual hedgehog, of course!) , whose blog I've been reading for a long time, so I kind of feel I know her already, which is fun.

Here's a closeup of the quilting - which is simple, but works really nicely, especially at the block joins. And also, the back, which has a great label, but also, some lovely fabric with cardinals on it - I'm fond of cardinals, and miss them as we don't have them here. So that was an added bonus. What a nice treat in the post - and now, back to work!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quick blog

Got this lovely doorway postcard from Jenny in the mail today while I was out - thanks for all the good wishes - we had a lovely lunch (at Cigala) and I had a nice little browse through the National Portrait Gallery. Not much else to add. More tomorrow, I'm sure!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A few nine-patches

All I did today. Lots of other stuff going on... I know I said I was going to work on the Hawaiian thing, but remembered I am supposed to bring some of these to my little quilt group on Thursday morning, so thought I better get them done. Tomorrow I won't have much time either as I am going up to town to have lunch with my DH - it's our 15th anniversary, if you can believe that. You guys probably can, but for me, it seems amazing. And somewhat odd. Anyway.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blue Hawaii

This week's goal is to get most of the blocks put together for the Hawaiian shirt quilts - not too big a goal, as I've done quite a bit of work on them before. I put them aside for a while, as I was getting a little burnt out on Hawaiian fabrics, but now I'd like to get them sorted so I can begin to sandwich and quilt... This is the last set of blocks - the trusty double four patch. There will be 24 in total. That's about it for today - but I did still have the kids at home - they are back to school tomorrow, but I have a pretty busy week, so we'll see what I accomplish (or not)...

Reading about quilting?

Ok, I know it's upside down - I might change it later - but you get the idea. This is, I think, the third in the series. I've read it, it was enjoyable, but I don't plan to read it again, and rather than just send to the charity shop... If you are interested, just leave a comment before Sunday. I'll mail anywhere, but if the postage it high (it shouldn't be, as it's a paperback) I might send it surface!

Ironing board draw...

For various reasons, Libby has decided to offer a small draw in honour of Leap Year and Sadie Hawkins' Day. To enter, you have to post a photo of your ironing board - so you guys are stuck looking at the board :) (Yes, I know it's a bit skanky - I use a lot of bondables other stuff which is bad for your ironing board cover (I do have two irons, though - one for fabric only)). Anyway, there will be other, more interesting things, later...

Shoe winner, number 2

And the winner of the second lot of shoe fabrics is...tirane93 - send me your details via privately email and your goodies will go in the post later this week! No more shoes tomorrow, I have something completely different in mind.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Journal Quilt Week 15 & more

Today Cathi and I had group sewing day - first she cut her bias binding for her Dear Jane quilt and pressed it, while I worked on the centre for the first round of the Spring Fling Round Robin - which is the block at left, above. It's an 8 inch block, so 4 x 4" blocks -tiny foundation piecing, but I enjoy that from time to time. As long as I don't have to make a whole quilt that way!

Then, she did some hand-sewing - working on the next block for our Dear Jane block swap (though I did say she couldn't leave it with me if she finished, as she brought me one and made another while she was here - see below). I need a chance to catch up now! And I worked on my journal quilt for the week - I wanted to do something to reflect her being here this weekend, so used the old picture of us on the Seahawk, printed onto fabric, and two ticket stubs from Dylan shows we've seen together (recent ones - not sure I have any of the ones from 15 years ago or more!) And of course the theme had to be Tangled up in Blue, which is, if not my favourite Dylan song, at least the one which tends to keep showing up in my life's soundtrack... Plus using that meant I could just pull out blue stuff and apply it!

So I thought I'd also show the orange quilt finished and hanging on Alex's wall - it's just right there, really. Makes me think again about repainting the room a different colour (it needs repainting because it has a border which is peeling off) - maybe we'll keep it orange - if we ever get around to repainting in the first place, that is!

More stuff to do!

I meant to say, I am participating in several more projects, most of which are Margaret's fault :)

The first is the next round of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap (for those who are wondering, my winter quilt is late but has now been mailed to me and is on the way - don't worry, I will share it when it shows up - this is me, after all, how can you doubt it?). The second thing is another project organised by Margaret, the Spring Fling Round Robin. This is a small quilt, and will be worked on by 4 people - you don't get your own centre back, which means what you do receive is a surprise (though you might see it being worked on on someone's blog without knowing it will end up with you, of course). The third thing I have just joined is a private bag swap which Barbara is organising - it's by invitation only, and my friend Cathi was kind enough to refer me - I may not be able to show my progress on that - not sure how it's going to work yet - but I'm sure you'll get to see it eventually.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday bits

I didn't do any sewing myself today, but I did have a lovely day full of things relating to sewing (among other things). More on that shortly. The Dear Jane block on the left above is the latest block Cathi has made for me (well, actually, she's just finishing another one up now, so I'll have two to catch up on) for our little swap - she actually gave it to me last night, but I had already taken all the photos for my blog, so I thought I'd save it. And the postcard at right is N is for Ninepatch, from Beth.

Also in the post were the buttons and washers at the left, from Anna, as part of her latest challenge. I have to make an ATC for her by the end of March. I have a few ideas to play with, and will probably make a set of ATCs rather than just one, so might have several to trade... Watch this space - but not for a few weeks. The shib0ri cloth at the right, I bought in a charity shop for £1. It's quite a big piece, maybe about 25-30" square. Bargain!

I had lots of fun with charity shops today (though I didn't buy a lot - a few shirts and some books for the kids plus some Thunderbirds videos for Alex at 49p each) - this is a favourite thing for Cathi and me to do - we've been hitting charity shops together (in three different countries) for nearly 20 years. Today, we took the girls with us, leaving the boy with Daddy at home, and headed to Dorking so we could also make a visit to The Quilt Room. We hit all the charity shops there, then went to Wimbledon and did the same. With a small stop in Lush for some fresh soap - lovely!

Anyway, I didn't buy much in the quilt shop, either - a new blade for my rotary cutter (on my list) and three fat quarters of these great cake fabrics (and the stripe is extra cool) - I gave a half each of the two cake ones to Alex, as I'd promised him fabric for his stash (yes, my 5 year old son has a stash - as do the girls) - I'm thinking I might make some birthday postcards with these fabrics - would be fun, don't you think? I also bought this roll of 20 different 10" squares (I can only see 19 in the photo, but there are definitely 20 - one must have slipped underneath) - they aren't Japanese taupes, they are from a range called Zen, by Makower - which means that they were a much nicer price than actual taupes (which I do love, anyway). A nice day, and some nice finds. Tomorrow - group sewing!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Journal Quilt Week 14 & a visitor

Today we spent the whole day doing almost nothing. I am coming down with a cold, so I didn't even feel like doing much sewing. But I had promised Alex we could make him a pencil roll, so we had to do that - he worked the pedal until about halfway through when he got bored. But he's very happy with it, which is what matters.

So then, I decided I should really do my journal quilt for the week (what with it being over tomorrow and all) but I really didn't feel like doing much, so I decided this was the opportunity to use something I "prepared earlier" - rummaged through my stash of bits and found these little squares, already sewn together and only slightly larger than I needed for the JQ. These struck me as being perfect as my week was largely made up of sewing together squares anyway... As I received my new (to me) book in the post this week, I decided to take a stab at mock-Tavishing them (which is what to call an attempt at McTavishing when you've only read the book a little and are just making it up as you go along).

But here's the real excitement in my life today - ta da - an actual fellow blogger, here in my house! Apparently, according to Ruth, this doesn't count as meeting a fellow blogger because Cathi and I knew each other before (in fact, we knew each other before blogs - before the internet - heck, practically before personal computers). As she only just got here after being on a plane and then trekking around London looking at exhibitions, I decided it would be unkind to ask her to turn around and smile (and anyway, she was busy checking email and bloglines, so who am I to interfere?). Anyway, instead, I have treated you all to one of my favourite photos from college - me and Cathi out sailing on the St Mary's River. Again, you can't really see Cathi's face, but I do love the photo. (And yes, I really did have loads of curly hair - it was permed, though, not natural, hence the lack of curls now.)

We have a fun weekend planned - a trip to a quilt shop, lots of charity shops and maybe even a little sewing. Progress to be duly reported over the course of the weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big enough

We didn't really go out today (well, went to the supermarket this morning, but that doesn't really count) so this afternoon, I managed to add another row to the scrapbuster quilt - I think it's the right size now. All (all!) I have to do is make a backing and decide how I am going to quilt or otherwise hold it together. That's all for today, folks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A couple of things in the post

Well, today was a no-sewing day - I went up to town with the kids and some friends - Caroline has a daughter the same age as Sarah - they met in nursery, and despite not going to the same school since then, have remained friends - no doubt because her mum and I are friends as well. We had fun, though it was very cold. Returned home to a nice bit of post - a book I bought second hand and a postcard from Dawn for the metallic swap. The metallic card doesn't photograph very well, of course - roll on summer, when the light is decent!

Me Me Meme

Another meme - this one found over on Libby's blog. I thought this looked fun, and challenging - if you want to give it a try, go for it. And remember, you can only use one word to answer each question - harder than it looks, I think!

One Word
1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Your significant other? Important
3. Your hair? Dyed
4. Your mother? Busy
5. Your father? Gone
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? Quirky
8. Your favorite drink? Tea
9. Your dream/goal? Contentment
10. The room you’re in? Dining
11. Your ex? So?
12. Your fear? Fire
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
14. Where were you last night? Quilting
15. What you’re not? Worried
16. Muffins? Please!
17. One of your wish list items? Longarm
18. Where you grew up? suburbs
19. The last thing you did? laundry
20. What are you wearing? trousers
21. Your TV? primitive
22. Your pet? gerbils
23. Your computer? laptop
24. Your life? content
25. Your mood? happy
26. Missing someone? mum
27 Your car? hatchback
28. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
29. Favorite Store? none
30. Your summer? rainy
31. Like someone? many
32. Your favorite color? brown
33. When is the last time you laughed? now
34. Last time you cried? recently

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Doorways & Archways

So, a variety of stuff to show today - surprisingly, I managed to get a lot done (even by my standards). This afternoon, when we got back from our outing (I'm not doing this in chronological order - so sue me!), I decided to get these cards done - I had the idea of what to do in my mind for a while, so it was just a matter of putting it down on fabric. So to speak. This was for the doorways swap on Fibre Artist International - in the end, they look a bit more like windows than doorways, but the idea is what I wanted to convey - a doorway into an adventure, to far off lands, and so on. The card is very simple - the background is a batik which has been discharged - I got it in a recent discharge swap - then there's a copper door/window from German scrap with different scenes and writing behind each pane. I've then added some stitching in different threads plus a key and a keyhole (which is an actual hole - it goes all the way through). I'm pleased with these, they turned out well, I thought.

I got some post, as well - a surprise arch, from Anna - well, not a total surprise, as I knew she was due to send to me this month (for my arch swap in the Textile Challenges group) - but a surprise in the sense that I didn't know it had been posted to me - I hadn't read Anna's blog in a few days, so I didn't know she'd finished it. Anyway. Isn't it gorgeous? The background is a piece of rust-dyed fabric, with a vintage image and some lovely stars made from a drinks can. Enterprising! You can read a bit more about it on Anna's own blog.

The MTV card is for the 1980's swap, from Monica - the fabric she's picked for the M is perfect, isn't it. I remember the early days of MTV with the flashing changing M... Ah, nostalgia.

I also got the items on left, which look a little confusing until you put them together and end up with the little gems on the right... My little boxes swap!

The first thing I did this morning (well, after having a shower and getting dressed) was to add another row to the scrapbuster quilt from yesterday - I think it needs at least one more row - will add that, perhaps tomorrow, then see if it needs another one after that. I have enough blocks to add several more rows, certainly. Watch this space - as they say.

And finally (both in terms of this post and my chronological day) I managed to sew the binding down on two placemats at my quilt group this evening - so, there we go.

Giveaway not forgotten (more shoes!)

[obviously, photo is now up!]

I'll have to post a photo later, as it's on the other computer and DH is currently using it for actual work purposes, but this week's giveaway (which I did forget to put up yesterday - blame it on half-term - when there's no school I can never remember what day of the week it is!) is some more shoe bits, as they were so popular last week. There are 9 small square in square blocks, which were actually passed to me already made by someone else I know who made a shoe quilt, plus some 5" charms, plus an assortment of other small pieces. Not sure how much fabric is there in total, but I'd guess around half a metre, maybe three quarters - I'm not measuring!

As usual, leave a comment before Sunday if you'd like to be in the draw & I promise a photo later tonight when I get a moment to use the other 'puter...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Binding, scraps and so on

Well, we all seem to have survived the first day of the half-term holiday. I managed to get up reasonably early, while the kids were still messing around (or asleep in some cases) and decided to add some binding on to things - a couple of placemats and the piece below, which is a little art quilt (another thing in the pile to finish) - I haven't sewn the binding down yet, but you can't have everything... The convergence quilt above was made for me by Vicky, as part of a swap/challenge a while back - I've been meaning to put a hanging sleeve on it for ages - it's not as though I have anywhere to hang it (actually, I'm thinking I might put it in Alex's room, as his walls are orange), so today I finally made one and pinned it on - again, not sewn down yet, but soon.

And a postcard on the right - N for Nest, from Norma - great fabric, isn't it. Too bad the photograph doesn't do it justice.

I actually got a little more time to sew this afternoon, as the kids were all a bit exhausted due to their horrible mummy making them WALK to town to do the errands. The main part of mummy's devious plan was not, in fact, to tire them out so I'd get more sewing time, but to be out of the house long enough for the cleaner to finish...

So anyway, what I did this afternoon was to work on this a bit more - hasn't seen the light of day in a while, I admit, but I'm trying to get through all my basksets of works in progress (not counting completed tops, which is slightly different). Ideally, I'd like to only have 2 or 3 project baskets at once (not counting the private swaps I'm doing where you have to wait for the other person to finish before you send the next block) instead of the number I have now (not admitting the number - in fact, don't know it, as I'd have to count, and am too lazy to go upstairs, but it's more than 3).

This is about half of the scrappy quilt - I'm not sure whether I will do four more rows or only two - I guess I will add two and see what it looks like, and then decide.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Box of hand-dyes

So, here are two things - they are going to be part of a box - I am making one to hold my journal quilt pages. The left hand one will be a box side, the right hand one will be a front or back - it's actually square, though you might not be able to tell that from the photo. Both are pieces of hand-dyed fabric from my stash, which means that either I dyed them, or that they were from a swap with my dyeing group. I have a feeling it will take a while to get all the box sides together, but at least it's a start.

I meant to do another side today, but in the end, didn't, and instead just did some more quilting on the batik baby quilt (no photo). And I attached some binding to this little quilt, which has been hanging around for ages simply waiting for a binding - so I sewed it on this afternoon and sewed it down this evening, and have now listed it in my etsy shop. (New goal - list at least one thing a week in my shop, even if it's only a postcard.)

After lunch I helped Olivia make a pencil roll (my life is all pencil rolls these days). She actually did almost all of it herself (I did the bit where you sew the side seam up while putting the tying ribbon inside. More patience than Sarah, who gave up after about 5 of the pencil divisions.

7 random things about me

I've been tagged a couple of times recently (by Andrea and Barb and Stephanie - I think that's it) for the 7 weird/random things meme - I think I did this a while ago, (Seven things people may not know about me) but what the heck, I'll do an updated one anyway.
  1. I'm American, but have lived here (UK) nearly 15 years. But I was born in Germany, just to confuse you.
  2. I'm a night owl (this will surprise no one who reads this blog regularly - very few posting times before 11pm!) but I don't mind getting up early (well, 7am or later) - I guess I just don't need a lot of sleep, thank goodness
  3. My first child (DD Sarah) was born by Caesarian, but the other two came out the normal way.
  4. I have visited about half of the 50 US States - I'd love to be able to say I've been to all of them, but now that I don't live there anymore, it doesn't seem very likely.
  5. My first job was running birthday parties at McDonald's. It took me years to want to eat French Fries again (or go to birthday parties, LOL)
  6. In the game "Six Degree of Kevin Bacon" I score very high - I am only two steps away (I think it's two, rather than one) as one of my first cousins is in special effects and works in Hollywood with all the big whigs - though to the best of my knowledge he has never worked on a film with Kevin Bacon himself.
  7. In my life I have had the following pets: fish, dogs, cats, hermit crabs, guinea pigs, gerbils. No reptiles, though, although my stepdad did have a snake very briefly (and he has a parrot now).

Oh, and as usual, I'm not going to tag anyone for this (everyone I know seems to have done it anyway and I did tag people last time) but if you want to play along, by all means, go for it!

Shoe winner - plus something cool!

Remember these two little blocks from a few weeks back? They were won by Sequana, who decided to make them up as little quilts for Ami Simms' Alzheimer's Project - isn't that cool? Which is not to say I expect anyone to make charity quilts (or any quilts at all) from anything you win on this blog, but if you do win something, and you use it to make something, I'd love to see a photo.

Which reminds me, I don't think I shared the photo of the quilt top Barbara made from the string square blocks she won - it's over here on her own blog...

And finally, I know you are all only here reading to see if you won the rectangles of shoe fabrics :) , so I will put you out of your misery and say that the shoes were won by...17! For those of you who don't feel like scrolling down the comments and counting, that translates to Liz, who as far as know has not left a comment before, though I could be wrong. I'll be emailing you, Liz!

Due to the popularity of the shoe fabric, I think I might do some more tomorrow - I don't have any more rectangles, but I've got tons of bits and pieces still (and some larger pieces as well, which I might use for things) so I bet there's another giveaway's worth in there!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Just a quick one tonight as I have a terrible headache and am off to bed early (for me). I took place in a Scavenger Hunt on Arts in the Mail, and this is what was in my parcel, which arrived today from Angela.

There was a list of stuff we were supposed to find; both Angela and I didn't follow the list precisely (erring on the more side) but we are both happy with our treasure - and tomorrow, I am going to put mine away where all the bits belong, so I might even be able to find some of these lovely things when I want to use them.

More tomorrow on what I was working on today (it wasn't finished, and I'll be doing more tomorrow anyway, so you aren't missing too much!)