Monday, 28 February 2011

Liebster Award

Yay! Last night I was given an award.  No, not an Oscar - which were also awarded last night. Something even better - well to me anyway! A Liebster Blog award.   I've seen quite a few of the blogs I follow get a Liebster Award recently. I've been really pleased for them because everyone of them has had relatively low follower numbers yet they write great blogs; which I enjoy reading. I didn't think that anyone would nominate me for the Liebster Blog award, but yesterday I discovered that Reene of Nellie's Niceties had! Thank you! :-)

There are a few rules to accepting an award and one of those is that I have to nominate 3 -5 blogs that I think should get an award.  So here goes - here are my nominations. All of them have under 100 followers and all of them are blogs I read regularly and enjoy.

First up is:  Corinnea's Chaos.  I met Corinnea over on Flickr back before I blogged. Corinnea inspired me to want to try and make clothes (after years ago saying: 'never again'.) Her blog is a mix of all the different things she makes with other stuff thrown in. Including some very gorgeous pictures of her grandson (often modelling the goodies she or other members of her family have made for him - there is a lot of talent in that family - as you'll discover if you start reading her blog!)

Second up is: Domestic Light and Magic.  Lynz blogs about her quilty projects and other stuff going on in her world. Like a lot of my favourite blogs to read, I like them when the focus on a range of stuff, not just purely quilting.

Last up is a blog I've only been following for a few months: Little Island in the Med. Clare is a quilter too. Her blog is a bit of an online photo diary and she takes great pictures. 

None of these blogs focus on quilting and quilting alone so when I settle down to read them it feels like I'm catching up with friends not just seeing what people make. Maybe I'm just a nosy parker that likes reading about other peoples life styles - especially if their are some lovely photos thrown in too?

Best go let the people know I've nominated them now...


1) If you are tagged, and you want to accept, then create a post on your blog and add the Liebster blog pic.2) Link back to the person who gave you the award and say if you accept. 3) Choose 3-5 of your favourite blogs to tag, link these in your post too and tell the lucky people they have been tagged.The aim of this award is to bring unknown good blogs to light, (less than 50 Followers is ideal), therefore, please don't tag somebody with 3000 followers!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday check in...

It's been a bit of a crazy week. I got my Internet back working on Monday - they actually fixed it over the weekend, but had changed my passwords when it wasn't working - in the hope that was the problem. Only they told me the wrong password...I got so fed up with the ISP I decided to switch. My new account is due to go live on Wednesday. I hope it goes smoothly and I'm only without service for a couple of hours.  I used to have a 40Gb download allowance, but this new provider is giving me a 10Gb allowance. I hope that's enough. I don't download music or films and rarely use iplayer. But I do upload a lot of photos from time to time and spend a fair bit of time on the web: reading blogs and browsing on flickr. So I'll have to see how that one goes.

When I was driving home from work on Monday lunch time the brakes on my car failed without warning. I had no warning light so it was a bit of a shock to be driving along and find pressing the brake pedal to the floor wasn't stopping the car! I have the car back with fixed rear brakes (both had bled out) and a lot less money in my pocket. So I've decided that, even though I do very few miles a year, driving a 14 year old car is now uneconomical and I want something more up to date. So next week I'm off looking for new-to-me cars with my brother.  I'm kind of excited.

It was a nice surprise to come home from work one day last week and find my parcel for Round 3 of The Scrappy Mug Rug Swap! I got this lovely mug rug and loot from edyB1 The tea fairy is embroidered and the quilting on the mug rug is done in a lovely variegated thread. Some of the fabric she used has quotations on it. I need to get another shot of this mug rug up close so you can see all the detailing.

 I've  finished the pincushion for round 3 of Scrappy Pincushion Swap. It's going in the post tomorrow so I hope my partner likes it! 

I have almost finished my quilt for DQS 10. I've decided to add a little bit more detailing on the front and the back. The back is too boring, so I'm thinking some hexies sprinkled about are the answer.  I've started thinking about, and gathering a few extras together for the parcel too. Everyone likes a few extra goodies don't they?

It was my mum's birthday yesterday. We went over to my brothers for a lovely meal. Today, I've been doing a few chores and reading my book! I'm hoping next week will not be so dramatic...or costly!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Monday, 21 February 2011

6 days without internet...

Thanks for your comments on my last post. Which I'd answer individually if I had access to the Internet at home. But alas still no access - that's 6 days now and I was promised it was going to be fixed on Friday. Time to switch providers me thinks. Of course that won't be a smooth transition, but why should I keep paying the ISP I'm with now when they keep lying to me and costing me money in things like routers which I don't need?

Fed. Up.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Communication it pen and ink time?

This is the third day I've had no Internet access at home. I feel like someone has chopped off a much needed and valuable third arm. Day 1, I called my ISP to find out if there were service issues. They ran some tests - talked me through configuring my router and decided I needed to go and buy a new router. So I did.  Yesterday I tried installing the new router and it kept referring me to my ISP because it said I had no Internet access. So I phoned the ISP again who went through a lot of the same checks with the new router and decided the problem was their end...and they would run more tests and call me back.  They did this and tried to configure the new router again and admitted that the problem was most likely their end but they didn't know how to fix it. So I have one old router that's probably not broken, one new router that I paid good money for and probably don't need. And still no Internet access. I have to call them back when I get home if it's still not working today. I am fed up. I can imagine it never working again because they can't find the fault and mean while I get to spend lots of money on phone calls and equipment I don't need in the hope it will work...

So why am I telling you? Well, because I'm going to find it hard to blog - particularly with pictures and just as hard to follow all your lovely blogs. To add insult to injury my mobile service provider is having difficulties too. I can call and text out but incoming is more difficult...

I have dreams of going back to pen and paper. Then I remember how much I will miss all these online communities!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap Round 3 - Process Explained.

You may remember me posting these pictures a few weeks back. This is the mug rug I made for round 3 of the scrappy mug rug swap over on Flickr.  I couldn't tell you the thinking behind it in case my partner stumbled across my blog and realised that I was making it for them.  However, by the miracles of speedy postal delivery (it's taken under a week for this to travel from England to the US) I can let you know that it's been recieved and was made for Natalie.

First off Natalie mentioned in her likes that she was liking the hexagonal or circular mug rugs she'd seen in previous swaps. She had also specified liking hexies and embroidery. I decided to English Paper Piece some diamonds to create a star, framed with more diamonds to make it a hexagon shape. I didn't want to lose any of the shape of the hexagon piecing when I bound it, so I decided to piece a border - that border would lend itself beautifully to some embroidery.

Natalie is a big William Morris fan.  I guess it's fitting that someone from Oxfordshire should be picked to be her partner because William Morris had lots of links with Oxford and lived at Kelmscott which is just on the borders of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.  I hadn't any William Morris fabric I could use in the design as most of his fabric reprinted over here is Decor weight so I've never bought any.  I decided instead to embroider one of his most famous quotes: "Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".

The backing fabric is the nearest fabric I  had to an art Noveau type design (another thing Natalie likes) and the colour coordinated well with the fabrics I'd chosen for the front. In fact I picked fabric with a very 1930's feel to it as Natalie said she liked Art Deco too. Whilst these patterns aren't exactly Deco they do fit in with that era.

Resistance is futile...but then who would want to?

I logged onto my blog this morning and my blog roll seems awash with pictures of Lynne of Lily's Quilts creation for Moda Bakeshop.  It's like we've all been taken over by a quilt design and reistance is futile... So if by some weird stroke of ...well, weirdness, you've not already been directed over there; I'm telling you to run over there right this minute and check out this fabulous quilt and tutorial over on Moda Bakeshop

Then when you've ooohed and ahhed and admired how flaming fabulous it is you can pop over to Lily's Quilts to enter the giveaway Lynne is having for a whole layer cake of delicious Sherbet Pips.

Still here? Get going...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Hey, I'm on a roll.

This morning after doing my weekly food shop and before I then went with my Mum for lunch at a local pub, I made this skirt.

It was a much quicker and easier process than the one I made yesterday. I still have quite a bit of the yard I made this skirt from as I only used 1.5 of my waist measurement, so no need to go hacking off surplus fabric.

When we got back from lunch we went for a walk as far as our local church. The snowdrops were out in full force.

It's still quite a novelty to see livestock other than cows and sheep in fields.

When I got home I made this.  It's another mug rug like the one I made here following this tutorial.

This is only Saturday and I feel like I've achieved so much good stuff.  Wonder what Sunday will bring?

Friday, 11 February 2011

Skirting...the Issue

I'm not sure what it is about me and getting this big creative drive on a Friday night. When people with a 'life' are getting ready to go out and party. I decide that I need to make a skirt. Now it's fair to say me and dressmaking - particularly making skirts have history. Not a terribly positive history. I made my first skirt when I was in my twenties. I used a proper paper pattern and it was probably the first time I'd ever put a zip in something. It had a grown on waste band and it actually fitted and looked...well I was never happy that the two bits of fabric either side of the top of the zip didn't line up. Ok so it was probably only me that noticed. Put that aside I was happy with the fit - it's just the skirt was made of the sort of fabric grey school skirts are made of and, well, it was a bit very boring.  I didn't really attempt any more dressmaking. I have been scared of spending money on fabric only to ruin it by cutting it wrong.  A few years back I was so fed up of seeing the bundle of patterns I'd collected, that I decided to give them to a charity shop. I figured I could never make anything that didn't look like it was hand made by someone that wasn't very good.

Then last year on Flickr I came across Corinnea.  I saw this jacket, this skirt; oh and this skirt and well this photo set in her photo stream and I really REALLY wished I could make my own clothes.  For the first time in over 15 years I really wished I could dress make.  Corinnea was just so enthusiastic about making clothes I really wanted to have a go myself. So I made a simple skirt out of the only suitable fabric I had at that time and it went horribly wrong. I don't want to talk about it. Corinnea kindly wrote out simple instructions for a skirt without a pattern. I confess as much as I've wanted to have a go at making a skirt I was scared of wasting more fabric. I'd been buying odd yards here and there thinking I could make a skirt until I realised I'd need more than a yard to make the skirt...hmmm. 

Anyway, a couple of days ago I saw this pattern and I could make it with the metre of fabric I got on sale, just before I went on my fabric diet. I had enough elastic...but then I didn't have enough suitable material for lining. I remembered seeing this pattern which had been on my to attempt list - because of the shirring bit.  So knowing that the measurements were similar to that of the AMH pattern I thought I'd try it.

I can't get any pictures of me wearing it due to having no one to take them and no easy way of taking them myself. I won't say I found this process super easy. First off the shirring looked very loose and the threads loopy until I realised it sort of needed to be this way and when lots of rows of shirring was added it all puckered up nicely. Secondly when I'd made this and went to sew the ends together there was way more material than I'd needed. I had to cut this much off!

And worse still when I sewed up (twice) the ends, before cutting off the surplus fabric, it went horribly wrong; as the elastic escaped between the seams and started to unravel.  Meaning I had to do some joining. Thankfully the wrinkly nature of shirring is quite forgiving.  What it does mean is I have no idea how much fabric I should allow because obviously double my waste measurement is far far too much. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I'd love to try this again with voile as I think it would hang a lot better than quilting cotton.  It does have this tendency to be a bit balloony right under the shirring.

But hey it's Friday night and I made a skirt!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Doll Quilt Progress

My doll quilt for round 10 of DQS is finally pieced. It looks better in the flesh than in the pictures I have taken so far - which are usually just quick snaps to post a sneak peek on flickr. I'm still bursting to talk about the whole design process, although of course I can't until my partner has received. I can share with you that I wanted to go for an eclectic mix of blocks with a traditional feel to them but, make them more modern; whilst still keeping a vintage look about it. Untrimmed it's about 22" square. Some of these blocks are really quite small - smaller than you may expect. I've started on the quilting, by hand, using a variegated red thread which goes from a deep rose to palest pink. I think it looks lovely against the Essex Linen in Putty.

The whole quilt has been a bit of a learning curve. It's not something I'd have ever thought to make for myself. I guess that is the great thing about swaps.

I'm doing really well with the fabric diet - still no purchases. Although I am getting tempted...

Have a good week all.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Ta da! We have a winner for the scrappy squares. I thought I was better at computers than I am at maths. But try as I might I've not been able to put the little random number generator box into this entry. So I've had to result to taking a snap with my camera and uploading a picture. It's really blurry (I know should have gone and got my other camera!) - but at least you can see the number is...

(Or as Len Goodman says on 'Strictly Come Dancing': SEv-EN!)

"susan said...

You are just too funny!! My brain hurts when i have to do confusing maths and i work in a quilt shop!! I made a red cross quilt and all the crosses were different sizes. What i did was add kona snow around each block to make them the size of the largest block (to which i didnt add any outer snow).

The quilt is in my flickr if you want to look at it"

Right I'm off to email the winner. Thanks all for playing.  A big thank you to everyone who offered advice or just let me know that I'm not the only one to have this problem!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Greenfield Hill by Denyse Schmidt - Overcoming the Meh factor.

I've just read this post and you know I know exactly what Heather means. When I first saw this line it was in mosaics of the range, in each colour way. I looked at it and went Meh. How could Denyse Schmidt creator of the highly coveted Flea Market Fancy and the lovely Hope Valley have got it so wrong?  Then someone blogged about it and showed it photos of stacks and all laid out and I was like - wow that's lovely. In fact I didn't believe it was the same fabric to start with. It was though...I went and checked. It's sort a bit different in being so ordinary. Maybe that's why those mosaic representations make it looks so...Meh?

Better still Heather has a give away go on her blog to win some. So run...don't walk, over there and check out what you think of it?

The Box of Shame and some better Mendocino Quilt Pics

I recently ordered a shredder from Amazon which came a few days ago. The box it came in has been sat in my living room and I've been tossing recycling in it ready to put in the recycling bin.  My house is small. I would love more space. The space I do have would not be half so bad if I wasn't...messy. It's kind of odd because I'm not messy at work and have a tendency to start clearing up in other peoples homes. Psychologically this place is different. I have all kinds of theories why. I do not live alone so I know that not all the problem is mine. I also know if my other half and I are ever in the same place and living together the 'mess' will send him potty. It's sending me that way. So I have turned the empty Amazon box into: "The Box of Shame", each week I aim to fill this with stuff I don't want any more. Be it belongings to give to charity, recycling from a sort out or rubbish.  It's the start of a big spring cleaning push. It'll hopefully make housekeeping an easier task and my house will look prettier. I won't bore you with weekly shame box check in's, but I may show you corners of my home not looking like it's been visited by some particularly messy burglars.

As promised some better pictures of my Mendocino quilt.

This is my 100th post! Thank you so much to everyone that follows and comments. If you didn't then I'd have shut up by now!  If I wasn't already doing a giveaway here then I'd have one now. So I'll just have to wait until it's finished and do another one soon! I don't know what it will be yet. It won't be the weeks contents of "The Box of Shame", promise!
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