Thursday, 16 September 2010

We have a technical fault

Just dropping on whilst at work to say that the keyboard finally gave up the ghost this week. Hopefuly normal service will resume next week when tech support gets back (aka DH). I know there is another keyboard in the garage somewhere, but who knows where! Apologises to anyone who has left a comment and I haven't replied.

Back soon - fingers crossed!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Moving On

I'm still here. Yes, I know I feel off the wagon briefly, but I have a good excuse - honest! About five minutes ago DH managed to drop a full cup of coffee all over the table and keyboard - wonder how long the keyboard will survive now?? That's not my excuse though.

Well there is good news and bad news. Although I am having trouble coming up with the good news, but there must be some. Oh, yes the title of this post "Moving On" doesn't mean that I am going to be leaving this space, but actually refers to the bad news. Oh, dear I am not making much sense am I? Okay, we came back from our holiday in France to discover that the landlord of our house (that the Army rent for us) has decided he wants to move back into his house - how inconsiderate is that???? Not only that, but we have to be out by the 18th October! Not much time to get things sorted really. After a few weeks of an emotional rollercoaster they have now offered us another house, which is about 10 miles down the road. This means a move back into Forces accomodation, something we have been away from for five years now.

The news has not gone down well with the children, especially the youngest as it means he will probably have to move school. We went to look at the new house today, which didn't go well with the oldest as he wasn't particularly impressed with it. Life is difficult in our house at the minute!

So moving swiftly on - see this pretty pile of yarn? Don't you just love the colours?

See that strand of yellow heading off in the other direction? This is a little something I got started in France.......

Yes, my own ripple cushion. Do you think it is loud enough??

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

I'm Back!

Okay, where did the summer holidays go?? Can someone please tell me? It has just gone so fast and now we are getting ready for school again - crazy isn't it?

Holidays in France went well, but again, too quickly. We got home on the Thursday evening and I headed straight up to Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts on the Friday - too soon, didn't have time to recover from the journey home - won't be making that mistake again. Not only that, but it took me five hours to get there - a journey that would normally take two hours, two and a half max. Loved the festival though, enjoyed the Sunday much more which might have something to do with the fact that I slept the Saturday night (didn't sleep much at all on the Friday!).

I was very restrained with my shopping as well. This is my haul:

Told you I was restrained didn't I? Had to have one charm pack though, and the Liberty/V & A fabric was all on special offer on the Sunday ie. half price!! I bought the top set of fabric on the Saturday and the other set on the Sunday and it wasn't until I got home that I realised how similar they are - I was obviously in a blue/green mood.
GCSE result day went really well for our eldest; an amazing 3 A*'s, 4 A's, 2 B's, 1 C and two others pending which look like another A and another B. We are very, very proud of him. Now he has been kitted out in a suit and new shoes all ready for the next phase in his life - A levels!!
The other two go back to school on Thursday - would I be a bad mother if I said I was quite looking forward to it???

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Green Squares

Hey, I think I like this regular blogging lark. It's amazing, you blog and you actually get comments!!! Thanks to those who have commented. Okay, so what if two of you are family or like family - it is still a comment. I did think about putting one of those counters on my site, but decided against it as I think I might be upset if I knew there were only three of you looking at it.

Thanks for the comments on the FQ challenge. I would like everyone to please note that I didn't put anything in the rules about not buying any more. I have been on a fabric diet for a while and I have been doing quite well, only buying what is necessary (background fabrics mainly), but I think that all those fabric stalls at the Festival Of Quilts may prove to be too much of a temptation. No, my aim is to try and use some of those FQ's that have sat there for a few years; like many quilters, my taste has certainly changed over the years and rather than waste those FQ's I want to try and use them. My other rule is: the pattern has to be fairly easy and quick - I am not into really fussy, overly difficult patterns - don't want much do I??

Anyway, here's to the first one. This is a pattern from ohfransson, a freebie on her site:

There are a complete mix of fabrics, and quite abit of Oakshot too.

This pattern used nine FQ's and about two and a half yards of background fabric. It is slightly different from hers as in she put her extra blocks in the backing, whereas I put an extra row on the front. It measures approx. 53" square, and as you can it just fits onto a double bed. I am thinking about putting a couple of borders around it to bulk it out abit. I like the effect, but it was quite fiddly to make, lots of seams to match up. I had to enlist the help of one of the kids to lay it out and make sure we didn't have any matching fabrics, but even then we didn't quite manage. The seam ripper had to come out to sort it out!!

These are the Japanese fabrics that are up next. Some of them were a gift from my mate Tracey, who has a new blogsite up which looks good.

I saw this quilt at the Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago and asked the stall holder if I could take a photo, and they kindly said yes.

I quite fancy having a go at something like this with them. The yellow would go in place of the red. What do you think, would it work?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fat Quarter Challenge

Things are getting out of hand! I mean really out of hand. The following photos show, probably a large percentage, but certainly not all of, my fat quarters. Three trays full of fat quarters.


And further up the stack, three:

Please do not think that is all of them either, there are fat quarters in baskets, bowls, bags, cupboards and wardrobes. Some thing has to be done as they are weighing me down; knowing they are sat there unused is driving me nuts.
So I have issued myself with a fat quarter challenge - I am going to use them up. I am going to use as many fat quarter patterns or books as I can and try and reduce their number. So if you know of any good patterns to use up FQ's - let me know.
My Rules:
I am aiming to make at least one a month if I can.
I will blog about them; the pattern used and the quantities of FQ's.
The quilt does not necessarily have to be finished to blog about it - a complete top is good enough.
I will clear out the FQ's that I know I will never use and donate them to someone/some group that will.
First up are a group of Japanese FQ's that have been collected over a number of years.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Forgive me...

Okay, okay, so I missed yesterday - please don't hold it against me. I did try, but the day just got away from me, something to do with that two hours of constant ironing I did, and anyway I am here now!!!

Where does all that ironing come from? A family of five manages to produce a huge amount of ironing and yes, I should be encouraging my children to step up to the mark and help out, but you know what? I think I might be too much of a control freak to do that - they just wouldn't do it right! So I shouldn't really complain should I? And in all fairness DH stepped up to the mark in their place and did help out too.

Although he wasn't in my good books this morning. Just because he still has to go to work and isn't on holiday yet, he still feels he has to wake me up at 7am with my cup of coffee. I know that I am very lucky getting a cup of coffee in bed in the morning, but 7am people???? Not only that but he then proceeded to pack around me for his little overnight trip this evening and wondered why I was grumpy when I got up!

Enough complaining, time for some quilts:

This is a coin quilt made for DD. In truth it was made last summer, well the strips anyway. It took me until her birthday in May to get the top pieced together and finally this weekend, it was bound and then washed. DH has a new lens on the camera, which I am going to take off as I can't get on with it. You wouldn't believe it was a sunny day here would you?

Luckily she loves it. All her favourite colours - orange, orange and just a touch more orange! There are all sorts in there from Amy Butler to Denyse Schmidt. Machine quilted on the frame and bound in Denyse Schmidt. I will try and get some close ups of the quilting tomorrow.

We meet up with loads of family a few weeks ago at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and this one was handed over - again a bad photo and I am going to blame that lens again (that lens that someone picked up for us a car boot sale for £5 and is probably great, but not for me). This was the original and was based on a quilt I saw in Country Threads in Bath.
So, yes I have finished two quilts recently. I even managed to piece a little top over the weekend, more on that later though - don't want to show everything in one go do I??

Saturday, 31 July 2010

It's Holiday Time

Summer Holidays - you either love them or you hate them. I love them - when I am off work. When I have to work and work out child care - I hate them! But still, I finished on Thursday for three weeks holiday - hurrah!!! It was such a relief to wake up on Friday morning and know that I was off.

So as some people are winding down their blogs for the holidays, I thought I would wind mine up abit for a while - well, just until Friday anyway, when we go on two weeks holiday in France! Can I possibly post every day?? How do people do it every day? I know that it must be hard work and take a lot of committment that's for sure. Many times throughout the week I will construct a blog post in my head, but it never gets done - maybe I am not committed enough to it, and I am happy with that I suppose.

Anyway, thought I would share a photos from recent classes and club meetings. This is Netts bag that she made during a Charm Pack Day. All the projects made that day were constucted from Charm Packs.

At a recent club meeting the lovely Lorinda showed us what she had been working lately and no, I can't figure out how to turn it round so you will have to just twist your head round:

She's also found time for some lovely applique and hand quilting:

Okay, hopefully more tomorrow - don't hold your breath though will you?!!!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

I'm Still Here

Yes, I am still here.

The past couple of weeks have been somewhat of a blur. Between work, kids, the mad rush towards the end of term, I had to then be subjected to the ordeal of seeing my eldest son heading of to his school prom looking so much like a man it just about broke my heart.

He had very definite ideas of what he did and did not want to wear and that included a pair of black converse trainers with purple laces with his dinner jacket! As we stood there and watched him and his party pull up at the hall gates in a wonderful horse and carriage it brought a tear to my eye. All those young people looking so fantastic and happy, with their lives ahead of them stretching out. For some there will be lots of good times, for some there will be endless heartache; but life goes on and that evening seemed to mark the beginning and the end of a point in that life path.

As I said to DH that time is now gone, we will never have that again, that moment is passed. Gone is that little boy who would talk for hours on Harry Potter, who would sit in his room and paint Warhammer and read constantly. He is replaced by a young man who now still sits in his room all the time but now he is on MSN, he still reads but there are now war books or sci-fi. I still get a hug every now and then, but on his terms, and it is hard to hug a 6' 3" rake if he doesn't want you to!

But at the end of the day; he is still my little boy and I was incredibly proud of him that evening. Here's to a life full of good times!

Friday, 4 June 2010

My Space - well, the tidy end

I saw on a blog lately a photo of someone's sewing space and I always love seeing where other people work. This is my space. Okay, so it happens to be the dining room, which is no longer used as a dining room, except if we have guests of course. Then it all gets packed away and tidied up - luckily we don't have that many guests that require me to do that. Most of our guests know me and my obsession and can accept that.
Notice I am only showing you one corner of the room. This is the reasonably tidy corner, all the rubbish is on the other side. On the table is my current obsession as a result of a class last week. I am not sure what it is called, is it Orange Peel?? I am also not sure about the wide border around it either. Oh, I found who else is working on this pattern - Oh Franson is working on a lovely orange version which looks fantastic! I believe she is using hand applique to fix her shapes down - I went for the quick option and machine stitched them using blind hem stitch.
Next obsession is curves - my obsession's are usually dictated by what class I am working towards next. Patchwork Club at the weekend and in the morning we are working on piecing curves. The afternoon group are beginning their Block of the Month. Once the weekend is done I shall move on to Charm Pack patterns, which is my next class in a couple of weeks time. Some times I would just like to step of the roller coaster and just not have to think of things to sew. Maybe Monday will be that day as I have the opportunity of a workshop with Ferret!

Monday, 31 May 2010


Two weeks since the last post - I can't seem to get the hang of this posting business. I have lots of ideas of what I want to write and never seem to get round to doing it. Oh well, half term this week so not much going to be happening this week.

I had a machine applique workshop last week. I decided we would cover four methods of machine applique and then they would spend the rest of the day working on something. This was the something I decided to do:

This wall hanging has four blocks of petals and each block uses a different method of machine applique. I am not sure if you can make them out in the photos but I think if you click on them they should enlarge. This one is satin stitch:

A very bold look and not to my taste at all really. The following is blanket stitch:

I really like the look of this one and have used it a lot in previous projects. The next is raw edge:

Not quite as effective, especially in this situation, but I think it has a lot of uses. The final one is blind hem stitch.

I really like this stitch and have fallen in love with how effective it looks (or doesn't as the case maybe). I used a new Juki from work to do this and it worked great. I thought this stitch would be the strong winner on the day with my class, but no...... funnily enough most of them really liked the satin stitch and I had one who loved the raw edge - just goes to show doesn't it? I have got carried away with this pattern now and have also made a start on this:

This is a small table runner or wall hanging for a dear friend of mine who has turned 40. She turned 40 about two weeks ago, but in true Emma fashion it is taking me some time to finish it!! The fabric is Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley, which I love, love, love! I have also started another wall hanging using this pattern and stitch, more on that later. I have seen another blogger working on this pattern as well, but I can't remember where I have seen it.
Other big news: I roasted a duck for the first time in my life tonight and it was absolutely delicious - I need to get out more!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

It's never been four weeks?!!!

Oh Blimey, I saw on another blog that I hadn't blogged in over four weeks!!! Four weeks people!!! I think I have lost some weeks somewhere, I am sure it can't have been that long! Where does the time go??

Well, my run on finishing things didn't last very long did it? I have finished some things though. This was a table runner made from left overs from a quilt (more on that another time) that made its way up to my mum's table. I am not showing any close ups as the quilting on it is abit of donkey!! That told you didn't it?

The next two following shots are of a wallhanging that is for a class on machine applique which I am running in a couple of weeks. Four panels each one using a different machine applique technique. This is the very badly lit version:

This is the horribly over exposed version:

Try as I might, I was unable to find a happy medium between the two - so I gave up!

Finally, I am probably the last person in the country to discover the joy of Converse shoes - maybe not quite the last person! I wanted some new trainers or shoes for knocking around in and these fit the bill. They make me feel a little bit trendy, without feeling like mutton (you know what I mean ladies!!):

I think I must be having a bit of a mid life thingy - what with these and my other purchase - a snazzy pair of purple shoes - but I'll save those for another day!!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I'm in the mood.......

.... for finishing a few things:

Inspired by Attic 24's great tutorial this little number was made for SIL! Okay, so it was supposed to be for Christmas, but at least she got it before Easter!!!

I love it and was very tempted to keep it, but I posted it off and it was gratefully received. I used a lovely cord fabric for the back under the advice of a dear friend (only I forgot to take any photos of the back!). I think I may have to start one for myself now.
After a conversation with my sister whilst visiting God's Country (Yorkshire for those who don't know) about finishing things, I have decided to make more of an effort to finish a few things - so more this week, hopefully with some more finished items.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

More blocks

More of my hand stitched blocks and that lovely line of stitching....

Disaster has hit though - my latest project for Sew Hip has got lost in the post!!! I am gutted and it is my fault really. I was so keen to get it off that I just sent it normal post, not recorded. When I think of that lovely, lovely fabric just sat somewhere.....not fair!! Oh, well lesson learnt I suppose - the hard way though!

Slow Down

I recently held a class in hand piecing. Do you remember those days??? Making templates, tracing around them, and then that slow hand stitching along the lines. When I started to make the samples for the day it was a chore. I felt frustrated at the speed of the whole process, the slowness of it!!! All that work for one block. I began to feel I had made a big mistake suggesting running a course on this, something that seemed to show in the numbers that were booking on it. I had five in the end (I need to have four to run).

Then somewhere along the line something began to change. I started to enjoy it. I found I could sit and do these blocks in front of the telly; I could carry them in a little bag and whenever I had five minutes I could just whip them out and carry on; I became fixated on those neat little lines of hand stitching that just made me feel happy. I didn't care if I was slightly off the line on one side; I loved the fabric (Denyse Schmidt) and had been looking for way to use it; but most of all I loved the look of the block once finished and pressed.

I am on block 9 now and plan to keep going. They are simple blocks, nothing fancy but I love them are four of them.

I had five ladies attend for the day and we had a brilliant time. We just sat and sewed, talked, laughed and ate cake (you can't have a patchwork class without cake in my opinion) - I almost felt guilty for having charged them for the day it was that much fun! I plan to continue making blocks and just see how far I can go; maybe even making a quilt completely by hand. Go on, do something that will slow you down abit - it feels good!!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

February's Postcard Swap

Finally managed to get some photos of Traceys postcard that she sent me for February. How sweet is that??? Snow dyed fabric included. Now the little tinker has got the better of me and has already sent me her card for March!!! I had better get my skates on and photograph that one as well. Oh, I had better make her one too really!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

February's postcard exchange with my mate Tracey. This is what I sent her; now I just have to photograph hers!! Is it really two weeks since I last blogged???

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Things are bad when....

..... your 11 year old daugher can take a better picture than you can!!

The three loves of DD:

Reading; always has her nose shoved in some book (not a bad thing if you ask me!)

Chocolate; Cannot get enough of the stuff.

Piano; About to start work towards Grade 2 and has discovered she can play Taylor Swift (oh, deep joy!)

All photos taken by DD.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Heart in a Window

Next project went in for Sew Hip last week - made the deadline, but it was close. I hope you appreciate this people, I actually cut into my Wildwood fabric - I LOVE this fabric and may have to purchase some more very soon - once I finish my fabric diet that is and seeing as I have no will power at all that could be quite soon.

We baked this weekend. DD and I decided, no I decided, we NEEDED to make Delia's Chocolate Log after watching it on telly last week. It was nice, but very rich - too rich for the kids really. There was some left - very unusual in our house that's for sure.

And finally, well it was a heart. A big heart that went into the shop window today and looks really nice, with full credit given to the designers of course. Anything that we make to go in the shop window goes on a list in the shop, so that if customers come in asking for information, we can just let them know where it came from. The pattern is from this book and it came together well. I can not get to grips with Blogger and how it loads pictures - I can never get it to load in the order that I want.

Anyway, this is a close up of the quilting. I started out just quilting in straight lines on the red strips, but I soon got bored with this and wanted something different. After watching a few videos from this lady I decided to push the boat out and try something different. I am telling you folks - Leah certainly makes it all look very easy, but she is right about practising. It all started out abit wonky and horrible stitches, but I was really getting into the swing of it by the end and there were some really nice shaped hearts coming out. It was strangely satisfying.

And a full view. I really should have cropped the curtains and TV cupboard out shouldn't I? Looks good though - great pattern and worth trying!!

On a more personal note - I am finally going to get my ears syringed out tomorrow and I can't wait. I have been practically deaf in my right ear for over two weeks now, with the left one coming and going when it feels like it. I now, truly, have full sympathy for anyone who has problems with their ears or deafness. I think the customers in the shop will be relieved too - I sent one lady down the shop directing her to the knitting needles, only for her to come back five minutes very confused as she had been looking for sewing needles!! Roll on tomorrow.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


How thrilled was I when I went on to the Sew Hip Flickr site?? This is a page for folks to post pictures of their items made from Sew Hip patterns. I found not only one, but about three lovely people who had all made their own versions of the table runner pattern. Hurrah!! It was such a lovely moment, especially to see that a couple of them were beginners who had been inspired enough to have a go - now that's what is all about.

This is a little taster of something I am working on for the shop window next week - I think I had better get a move on!!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Dear Blogger

Dear Blogger,
It has been ??? weeks since my last blog - how many weeks??? Oh, my word. Well, okay Happy Christmas, hope you all had a good one, and Happy New Year all rolled into one. Right, that's that over and done with.

We had a wonderful Christmas, lots of nice food and people - great fun. It all seems a long time ago now, especially after all that snow and things. I am hoping that my children will all manage a full week of school this week - if they don't I might just swing for someone. It was lovely having them home due to the snow - but it all came a little too soon after Christmas for my liking! So bored with snow now!

Two quilts completed for Christmas presents. Both made with charm packs - love those pesky little charm packs!! The pink was one was completed in record time, nothing like putting yourself under pressure is there to get things completed. It was pieced, quilted and bound with a week - unheard of for me!

Both were gratefully received, well, I think they were anyway. The New Year is off to a flying start with magazine deadlines approaching and samples for classes to be made and suddenly there are not enough hours in the day - again!!!