Thursday, 24 March 2016

Happy Days BoM - Month 2

Just about before month 3 of Sarah Fielke's Happy Days BoM lands in my inbox I have some of month 2's progress to show you.  First up this month is the second of the larger pieced blocks that Sarah has issued so far, though for BoM purposes it is known as Block 7.

My first attempt wasn't great to be honest.  Perhaps doesn't look to bad at first glance, but on close inspection there were a lot of gaps on those star points.  To begin with, I thought I would just live with it, but I began to feel a little slack when I saw more perfect versions popping up on IG and thought I really should try again. OCD strikes again!

It was quite a time consuming block to make first time around and second time too, though I did find it interesting.  My hopes of it being a better second effort didn't quite materialise.  There are fewer large gaps between the stars in version 2 but there are a few more lost points, and I'm not entirely sure which one looks better in the end.  I'll keep them both and see how it goes when all the others are made and gathered together.

After the pieced block was our introduction to needle turn appliqué in this BoM.  I have been really looking forward to this bit since I saw Sarah's Craftsy class and her techniques for this appliqué.  It was the main reason I signed up to the BoM, a motivator to actually do some!!

Lots and lots of cutting and prep was easy in front of the telly late one night,

resulting in 8 and a half wreath blocks all stuck in place for stitching as the months progress.  (Love all those lv backgrounds.)

I even managed to squeeze in a finish on one of the appliqué blocks.  I'm hoping that I will improve as I get more experience, but I'm quite happy with this one so far and I really, really enjoyed doing it.  So peaceful and stress free.

You might recall from my first month's post that there are 24 little sawtooth stars to make for this quilt.  We don't need to have them completed until much later on in the year, but I have been stitching them as leaders and enders and they are coming together nicely.  

I think I have fourteen made so far and I am enjoying rediscovering my pretty fabric pairings as I reach for each little pre-cut star.  Prepping everything in advance is a real winner when your sewing time is restricted.

For my first month's post I also showed you these two blocks which were destined to become the bonus Block Book project that Sarah has offered her BoM subscribers.

I added pretty orange borders and these became the outer cover of the book which will hold all the gathered block pieces in progress, a little bit like a fuzzy felt album.

Here's my block book all neatly finished. 

Inside, I added a little pocket for pattern papers and a felt needle landing just to make the book a little more of a portable project folder.   

Gratuitous shot of the back, just because I love these fabrics and their crisp, clean lines in these block patterns.

Overall, I am a wee bit surprised that I'm keeping up with the BoM because I really never expected to.  It is early days mind you, so I'm not counting too many chickens, and I think the pace might speed up next month too. But so far, thumbs up!  I'm having fun and it's nice to have a friend or two on this BoM journey too.  Given the mystery element to this quilt, I am also curious what next month's blocks will actually look like.  Not long to wait now!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Birthday Quilt Update

My little brother's big birthday quilt top is finally pieced.  The Layers of Charm pattern from the Fat quarter Shop is perfect for time-constrained gifts and I love how it looks in these black, grey and low volume prints. Not too fussy for a bloke.  That cheeky wee orange punch makes me smile too.  It's actually a sketch blender but it does look solid here and not as pretty as in real life.

Anyway, now that piecing is complete I have decided that this quilt should be shipped off for a little Trudification.  Honestly, this is a bit of a relief because it means a) my brother will get a much nicer quilt for his big day and b) there's a chance he will actually get it on his big day!!

So, next time you see this lovely it will have been through the skilled hands of a master quilter - sounds better than 'pimped by Trudi', doesn't it?

Monday, 21 March 2016

World Down Syndrome Day - 21 March 2016

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.  21st day of the 3rd month - for those 3 number 21 chromosomes that make the difference.

To be honest, this time last year I didn't know there was such a thing as Down Syndrome Day and I'll bet many of you didn't either.

To be honest, I'm still not sure what it's about.

Mummy, big brother and Cutesy - her socks are odd but it doesn't show in the pic.

Today, we are supposed to wear odd socks to get people asking us about them, to generate a conversation to raise awareness of the day.  I think it's all about breaking down barriers that have existed because Down Syndrome has been "separate" in our society.  Wonderfully and thankfully, that is changing.  I think it's about trying to dispel myths and promote inclusion, sidelining fear of the unknown.

Being honest, I still fear the unknown.  But the known?

 This beautiful little girl who is the silver lining to all of the clouds?

 Her I no longer fear.

One day at a time our lives might be full of mismatched socks, things that no longer pair.

Cutesy and my dad - love fest!

Cutesy, daddy and big brother.

But as a family we will wear them and we will laugh and we will cry (because Mummy has OCD and likes things paired up! - exactly who has a condition in this house?) and we will laugh some more.

Safe in big brother's cuddle.

So today, here's to us, our silly odd socks and to life with differences!  Thank you my beautiful Cutesy for all the lessons you are teaching me and I know I have still to learn.  Your real names mean 'little golden one' and you are most certainly that!
Big hugs, Mummy xx

And to all of our families and to all of my friends here and elsewhere THANK YOU from my heart for your inclusion of my little girl, for not making her difference matter, for being part of this journey with us.

Watch and weep -


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Bee Blessed - Scrappy rail fence blocks

I've been remiss and not shared with you here the Bee Blessed request for this month.  BUT there is still plenty of time to whip up a couple of blocks for the group's charity quilts, especially when they are as easy as this AND when they will help make a dent in your scrap baskets.

All the details are here if you can help out with a block or two.  Deadline for receipt of blocks is April 15th so there's a good three and a half weeks available if you're tempted.

Just so you can picture where scrappy blocks like this can lead to, here's a pic of the ones I am making as a leader/ender project which will eventually go to Siblings Together, though I suspect not this year.

I love the scrappy goodness of this.  So go on, help Bee Blessed brighten someone's day with a similar one.  Thank you!

If you haven't seen what Bee Blessed has been up to lately, do go and look through their recent blog posts.  There are lots of gorgeous blessing quilts to make you want to join in their good work.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Sewing space rethink

A quick trip to Ikea over half term turned up this handy little trolley which I thought might help me make more efficient use of my new sewing location in the dining room.

It's called the Bygel trolley and was on offer at £18 when I bought it.  (Normal price is £25.)  This one is a bit functional in appearance, certainly not as pretty as the turquoise trolley they also sell, but it looked like it might suit my needs a little better.  I'm quite happy with my purchase and thought I'd show you its merits in case you are interested yourself.  (You'll find it in the kitchen section of Ikea.)

It's taller than you might think from the photo, about kitchen counter height, with two shelves and a partitioned drawer.  As you can see there's a top tray above the drawer and it's big enough to take a sewing machine if you wanted.  The top tray is a sturdy plastic while the two lower shelves are metal.

Although the top is big enough to house a sewing machine, I will probably just keep useful tools handy on it.  There's decent space on the two lower shelves.  I have several project boxes stored on mine and some pretty tins which will have bits and bobs in when I get myself better organised.  Hope you can see that there is a little rail about 6" above the bottom shelf which helps keep everything on there when you tilt the trolley to move it.  No rail around the top shelf but, really you don't need to tip the trolley at a very great angle to get it to move, so there's not as much slide on the higher shelf.

The little drawer slides out either end of the trolley which I've actually found really handy when I move between the different sides of my table.  There's a partition in the drawer which allows you to separate things how you want, but I thought I'd show you just what you can get in there.  On the larger side of the partition I have a craft book (standard size) and some large pouches.  My little 6.5" square ruler fits in there too.   Best of all, my 12.5" square ruler sits nicely across the very top of the drawer partition with no problem.

Finally, the Bygel comes with two different types of hook which fit into any of those three little holes on either side of the top of the drawer metal work.  Can you see?  I have hung a tote bag of fabric off mine for now, but the hooks are fittings which work with other storage baskets and little buckets in the Bygel range.  If I wasn't going to have a toddler in the house again in due course, I'd buy a basket to hang on there to hold my scissors and rotary cutters.  Handy dandy.

So far so good.  I am genuinely happy with this inexpensive little storage unit.  It's helping me to do what I want just now, keeping my immediate supplies handy but with the ability to be wheeled out of the way when I'm done.  I have just two small drawbacks to point out.  I would prefer if the trolley had four wheels instead of two, I think. Although maybe only having two keeps it more stable when it's stationary.  Most of all, I wish the wheels were swivel wheels rather than fixed which would really improve it's manoeuvrability.  Really though, for £18 I can't complain too much and I think my Bygel and I will rub along nicely!

Hope I didn't bore you, but maybe someone will find it helpful to know what you might be able to squeeze into this little unit.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

IRMA gets dressed up

I made this sweet little EPP Nosegay block at Fiona's class on last year's Stitch Gathering (Sept 2015) and decided that Saturday was the day to make it into something pretty and usable.

So Irma, one of those small cushion fillers that Ikea was selling for pence, got a sweet new cover to dress herself up.  The filler measures 14" square but is a little loosely filled for my liking.  I prefer my cushions well stuffed, so I reckoned if I made my cover quite a bit smaller that it would squish in and fill it up much better.

It worked.  Yay!  All pudgy and lovely at a finished 11.75" square.  (I made a 12.5" block and used a ⅜" seam to stitch around the cushion.)

A simple envelope back made this a speedy project, even if I did have to stretch out the actual stitching over 5 hrs between many, many interruptions.  It was one of those days.

Anyway, this little couch cushion is for Cutesy Tootsie to rest her crazy haired head on.

So, can you tell who sits where?  I'll help by telling you that the teenager's cushion is on his chair on the other side of the room as far away from his parents as he can sit if he must be in the same room as us fogies! ;-)

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