Thursday, 28 February 2013

Making Me Smile - 9/52

This week I volunteered as the Mummy Helper on India Day at my son's class.  The main event was the cooking of a tasty curry which they were then allowed to enjoy in their class restaurant - The Peacock's Feather - complete with beautifully decorated tables and atmospheric lighting.  It was great to be there seeing how hard they all worked and how much pride they took in their efforts.

Here's my boy hard at work.  I wish I had a few more pics, but you know how you can't really take pics at schools these days. (Ssh, don't tell!)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Making it up as I go along?

Progress with my "Forever" hexagon quilt has felt painfully slow this month.  Why it should feel so slow now when it has been more than two and a half years in the making, I'm not sure.  Maybe it's just that the end seems so close, yet so far away.

Anyhoo ...

I have decided that having made it this far without the use of a sewing machine on this quilt, that it sort of deserves to be finished by hand, too.  Perhaps I just fancy being able to say that I have made one entire quilt (albeit not terribly large) by hand in my lifetime - and no, I cannot imagine there ever being another!

Finishing a quilt by hand, especially when I've decided not to square it off but keep the hexagon shaping around the edges, is not something I am familiar with.  So I'm sort of winging it a little.  First of all, I've added the back border of hexagons, right side down on top of the front border and whip stitched in place around the quilt.

Next, I basted the top to the wadding and yes, I took a lot of time to cut the wadding into shape, basted the backing on and cut it to shape also. (Tedious springs to mind, but I'm sure it'll be worth it.)

Basted front and back
Normally, I would quilt before I cut my wadding and backing down to size, but for this quilt I need to be able to quilt in the border so I want to deal with it first.  I'm hoping I haven't made a mistake in changing the "natural" order of things - I'll let you know if I discover (belatedly) a reason why I really shouldn't have.

Having removed the papers, I turned the hexie border over gently, pushing out the points with my trusty crochet hook and enclosing the wadding and backing fabric underneath it.  It's all pinned safely down and I'm currently stitching it in place with an invisible applique stitch just as I would finish binding on any other quilt.

Eventually, I hope to be able to use these perle cottons to finish the quilt with some handquilting.

Many, many times I have been tempted to just whip this through the sewing machine to get it finished, but I think I would regret it if I did that.  So, I'm trying to remain patient and move towards the quilt finish just one stage at a time.  This quilt is becoming the elephant I'm trying to eat, I think!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sampler Block Progress

Seems like ages since I posted the first two blocks for my MIL's special birthday sampler.  In February I feel like I've either struggled to have time to sew, or spent that time keeping up with things with closer deadlines. But I haven't forgotten my plans to keep ahead with the sampler blocks.  So this week I have some new additions to share with you.

First up is this weird looking block -

Quatrefoil block

It's the quatrefoil block but my placement of that plaid fabric is doing something squiffy with the visual effect.  I didn't foresee this problem and hated it at first, but I'm getting used to it.  The pattern was from the Modern Blocks book and pieced together very nicely.

Starflower block
Then, I had a wee go at Modify Tradition's starflower tutorial.  I've wanted to make one of these for a long, long time but just never seem to get around to it.  I think I also have to be in the mood to tackle HSTs because the perfectionist in me hates when the points get lost.  This block proves that HSTs can be worth the effort though.  I love it and hope this won't be the last one I make.

Mosaic block

As a wee bonus I stitched up a third block this month - the mosaic block.  I did try to find a tutorial online but wasn't successful.  It wasn't too hard to figure it out myself though and I think I might even manage to hold on to those points once the sashing is added at a later point!

It's fun to choose individual blocks for a sampler quilt, but it's also hard not to get carried away and want to make every block I come across.  Decision making is difficult because there are just so many options - feels like being a child in a sweetie shop.  Wonder which blocks I'll come up with next?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Making Me Smile - 8/52

If I had stopped yakking for long enough today to remember to take a photo, this Making Me Smile post would have a pic of Judith and I having lunch and a good old catch up.  Big old smile on this face for sure!

Instead, I will just have to show you some other lovelies that have put a smile on my chops today, starting with this lovely gift from J -

She knows me well.  Yummy and thank you, my lovely friend!

After lunch, we may have been slightly distracted by some fabric shopping.  Spots were my fabric of choice today.  

Aren't these colours gorgeous?

And, because I hate shopping but LOVE a bargain, here's a pic of some clothes I picked up for work and a silvery butterfly mac all at 25% off!

Oh yeah, and a wee bit of Daniel Craig for just £7 (if you're interested the offer is available at Sainsbury's if you spend £30 on groceries or clothes)!

Hmmm, what's not to smile about?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Bee-ing busy

If you've read Judith's Words Post from last weekend you'll know that she and I have been piecing words together for a Bee Blessed nominee.  The intended recipient of this quilt had a skiing accident at the end of 2012 and is now fighting paralysis in his legs.  From all that we have heard of him, he's a fighter and an inspiration and we really do long for healing for this young, active man.  The quilt we have in mind will have words of encouragement which have been specifically chosen to fit what we have learned of him.

To the words I pieced last week - hope, joy and inspire - and to Judith's very relevant words - peace and faith - I have added one more:

Hopefully, these words will be a blessing at this unexpectedly difficult time in this young man's life. Now we have to work a little more magic and make these words into an interesting quilt top.  Back with more soon I hope.

At Bee Blessed we have also been donated a number of fabric panels, so this weekend I picked up a couple and tried to prepare them a little for the group to work on next time we meet.  I'm hoping that this jolly little gardener girl panel will make a happy little pram quilt for our donations.  There isn't much to do with this panel except quilt it nicely, but I did open up a donated butterfly pillowcase and piece some extra fabric to bring it to size to make a backing.  I just love those bright, vibrant butterflies and think they compliment the front panel so nicely.

The central panel of this baby quilt top was also generously donated to us and I thought that it would make a great baby girl pram quilt if we could enlarge it a little.  I like picking up these wee projects and trying to work out how to make something from what we've got.  I enjoy the challenge, though sometimes it's a bit of a risk.  At one point I feared this was going to be a pepto bismol coloured fiasco.  Although it remains much pinker than I'm used to, I think I managed to diffuse the bubblegum kona a little with the addition of those primary coloured wonky stars.  Oh, how I do enjoy making wonky stars!  They are really fun, and some of these ones have actual wonky bits this time!

So there you have it, a wee bit of me bee-ing busy!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cheeky Win!

Look what I won!

Di had a lovely blogiversary giveaway recently and Mr Random Generator looked favourably upon me. If you have followed my naughty behaviour over the past few weeks with Di's geese block, you'll understand if I say that perhaps in this instance he should be called Mr Ransom Generator!

In any case, my number came up and Mr Postie delivered this beautiful triple zippy earlier this week. Looks like I'm sorted with a little pouch for all my FQR bits and bobs this summer!  Thanks Di for a lovely giveaway, such a pretty pouch and the bonus zips and for not redrawing with Mr Ransom, even though I have been so cheeky these past few weeks and don't deserve this.

Off to stuff it full of bits and bob now!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Making Me Smile - 7/52

This week's smiles have been induced by a wee bit of fun with a bloggy friend -

My ransom note -
Ransom response -

Rest assured peeps those kidnapped geese are now winging their way back home!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A little word ...

or two  ...

or three ...

I spent some time last week attempting some improv word piecing.  You will note how the first word "inspire" is totally NOT improv in any sense of the word other than it didn't come from a book or an online tute but out of my fair mathematical head!  I swear there just isn't a "wing it" bone in my body, and that is a mighty drawback with improv and wonks and such.

I tried harder to improve the improv of the next two blocks.  While they don't have that uber-cool factor that true improv-ing creates, they are a little better.

Improv or not, I love them and can't wait to see them added to a special collaborative quilt project (more deets another time).

BTW I'm in love with the Klona navy against these vibrant colours and I can't wait to get more crazy scrappies whipped up and sash them with navy gorgeousness!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Goosey, goosey ransom!

This month it's our Mama Bee's turn to be Queen for a month.  So that means it is the fabulous Di's choice of block we are all sweating over making perfect!

Ruby beauty!

Di chose this wild geese pattern for her blocks and then sent us each a fq of Ruby to work with.  Did you hear that?  RUBY!  Like only my all time favourite fabric! And the silly girl actually expects to get it back - mwaaaahaaaahaaaa!!

Yep, this Ruby is bringing out my darker side and I have tried to pretend that no Ruby arrived in the post, but she didn't fall for that.  Now, in a last ditch effort I have threatened to kidnap her wild Ruby geese (hence the ransom note above).

Wild Geese Block for Di - 16.5" x 16.5"

HOWEVER, I'm not really dark by nature and I've seen those other wild geese blocks popping up on our hipBees flickr page and I'm thinking this quite large Ruby geese block (16.5" square) would be much happier joining the gaggle of others in Di's sofa quilt.  Ho hum!  Nice Sarah wins out and evil Sarah is being locked back up in her box, for another week or two anyway.

So, here it is Di.  Some geese for your gaggle with all my love and the little piece of my heart that was lost to Ruby.  (Violins play soft, wistful notes.)

PS - No need to send chocolate, I'm trying to be good and I promise to post the geese soon (after a wee bit more stroking).

Making Me Smile - 6/52

Been exceptionally uneventful this week but this does make me smile -

all lined up and ready for the freezer.  And, there were others of a different variety too!

Please understand that the process of getting all these lined up and ready to freeze does NOT make me smile, but when there's a big old empty freezer to be re-stocked, the sight of these wee tubs all full of "ready-made" goodness makes me smile!

(Exciting, my life, isn't it?)

Sunday, 3 February 2013


It's finished!  The humdinger recycled shirts quilt is all bound and labelled and has been road tested (bed tested?) to great satisfaction.

I truly love this quilt.  When I started on this shirt recycling venture, I was a little worried that I wouldn't get the scrappy thing very well, that either I would over-engineer the scrappy look (in my OCD way) so it would no longer be scrappy, or that indeed it would just look chucked together.  I never seem to know how to get it right. But hooray, I think this one looks suitably randomly scrappy - you are not allowed to disagree and burst my bubble!

In spite of it being a beast to quilt, and I really mean that, I just love the resulting snuggly quilt.  It's very special to us since all three of us have contributed a number of our old shirts to the making of the quilt top.  Surprisingly, all of the pinks in the shirt fabrics are hubby's and son's shirts, not mine! The only new fabric in this quilt is the burgundy solid I bought to bind it with.  I didn't want to go scrappy with the binding as most of the shirts left were pale and I'm not sure we own a shirt that it'd be possible to cut 9 metres of binding strips from!  If you're interested, the pattern was Cluck Cluck Sew's Squares and Stripes Quilt.

Now, anyone know a good physio?  My shoulders are killing me!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Making Me Smile - 5/52

I started with just one pic for this post today.  Great to see my son take an interest in the kitchen and having fun on non-screen related activities!

But of course, you need to see a pic of his results too.  Delicious blueberry muffins!  Didn't last long, and made all of us smile.

And then, this lunchtime DS opened his exam results.  His smile made me smile!

Lots of smiles today!!

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