Tuesday, 22 May 2012


I feel I'm neglecting blogland of late. I seem to lack the focus I did, and just when I seem to get back into the throws of making something comes along to stop it. I'm not going to bore you all with all the negative stuff. Suffice to say, I tried some meds to hopefully help with these 'turns' I am prone to getting and unfortunately the meds bought their own set of problems, so I've had to stop them and hope my body returns to normal sooner rather than later.

It has meant I've decided not to get involved with the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I have nothing new or wowy to share with everyone. I've also decided not to get involved with the SMS give away. Although I've been entering frantically when I see give aways from blogs I follow.  It didn't really register it was on my radar until too late and to be honest last time I did participate I decided, on the advice given by SMS, to not request people became a follower for extra entries.  Disappointingly, despite getting a tonne of comments from new people, none of them appeared to like the blog enough to stay. Which made me think at the moment I'd rather have give aways for regular readers rather than passers by.  Talking of which my bloggy anniversary comes up next month and that's an excuse for a give away then if ever I saw one!

On Saturday, despite feeling pretty grotty I managed lunch out with a friend followed by the theatre. It was a lovely day out and the cast of Ladies in Lavender were fab, especially the two leads: Belinda Lang and Hayley Mills. I was a little bit star struck not believing I was sat about 10 feet away from the stage where Hayley Mills was performing.

Ladies in Lavender
My ticket and programme to Ladies in Lavender.

I haven't done much in the way of sewing due to these pesky health problems. But I've decided to piece the background to the ferris wheel using some lovely Sweetwater fabric I've had in my stash for ages.

Hand Sewing on the Sofa
Work in Progress on my Ferris wheel along.

I've also had my last couple of fabric postal goodies turn up. I really need to get on with using up some stash as I'm running out of places to store it!  At the moment every thing that's been turning up has been popped into the lid of the box above, which is as deep as the box itself.  It's also made me think of filling this box with some stash goodies and challenging myself to see what I can make only using the contents. After all for those new to sewing and without much stash or maybe those a bit cash strapped, it's encouraging just to see what you can make with a really limited stash. But anyway you want to see the fabric don't you!

Fabric Goodness

The top row shows stuff from Sew Fresh Fabrics. More Flea Market Fancy this time in the reds and greens and the top green is destined for a bag. The Little Apples charm pack was a bargain and will be put to one side perhaps for a baby quilt. 

Bottom row is my first order from Cindy's new shop: Fluffy Sheep Quilting. In one of the many launch giveaways I refused to say what I was eyeing up in the shop in case I caused a rush and she sold out. So now you can see exactly what I was coveting, plus some Kona solids. As for the Aurifil; All my attempts to win some to try, fell on the deaf ears of Mr Random Number Generator. So I decided to buy some.

Well, as they said at the end of some cartoons I used to watch as a kid. 'That's All Folks'...for now any ways.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Ferris Wheel Completed!

Completed Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel Along

I've spent most of the afternoon since I got home from work finishing the main part of the ferris wheel. I now have to decide whether to paper piece the background parts or (and this is what I'm leaning towards.) applique this onto some linen and then quilt. All suggestions gratefully received.  

I mentioned in my last post that Chief had submitted his first photography assignment for a course he's doing. He was understandably apprehensive as you never know when you first send something off to a tutor how well you've done. More importantly have you understood what's required of you and interpreted the brief correctly.  He's been waiting the last few days to hear back and was trying to be philosophical about it and said; Well, what's the worst that can happen? I've completely messed it up and have to re do it. I was quietly confident. I'd seen what he was going to submit. I didn't want to build his hopes up because at the end of the day I'm only a beginner and not the course tutor.  But having seen his work I though well if that's not good enough the course must be full of David Bailey's and if they're that good, why on earth do they need this course! 

Anyway, I got a text this morning from a rather shocked Chief who had got his marks back.  He'd actually got a distinction. I tell you when I got that text I was grinning like an idiot for ages, so he must have been doing a happy dance round camp. (Yeah, if you actually know Chief this might conjure up quite an image!) It also turned out after speaking to his tutor that he was allowed to use photoshop for more than a bit of cropping or turning something black and white. He'd thought this might be cheating. When his tutor found out  his work was largely unedited he was even more impressed.  Also it's pretty rare to get a distinction on the first assignment so he's set the bar pretty high for future submissions.  Chief's now telling me he needs to buy more lens and better quality ones more expensive ones.  Ha! at least he can never complain about fabric purchasing because fabric is so much cheaper than the sorts of kit he's after ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Genius Jan wonders is it really Thursday already?

Sometimes I'm not sure where the time goes to. I have done very little in the way of sewing so far this week. I forgot I hadn't taken any pictures of the fabric goodness that's been coming through my door of late. So I took this snap the other day to show you.

Latest stash
Flea Market Fancy some linen and trimms for Zakka makes and a few other bits and bobs

At the time of taking this picture I was only waiting on one lot of fabric (some more Flea Market Fancy from Sew Fresh Fabrics.) In fact I hope it hasn't gone astray as another order from them placed the week after has turned up already. You can see at the front I was one of the lucky folk that snagged some Summersville goodness when Simply Solids had their recent charm squares sale. I have to say until I saw Summersville in the flesh I was a bit...well it's ok but what's all the fuss about.  Now I have some I see exactly what the fuss is about I just don't know what I want to do with it. Do I make a bag, some cushions or something else entirely? Decisions Decisions.

 Anyway, I decided I really needed to go on a fabric diet as I'm stash building faster than I'm using right now. Only Cindy went and opened a shop and well I had to go buy some stuff didn't I? I'm sure most of you have done the same because there can't be anyone left in the quilty world yet to know about this fabric shop of delights!

Chief got down on Sunday and we headed off into the Chilterns. (Yes he's got down two Sunday's running!) He took his best ever picture of a Red Kite which he's submitted for his photography course assignment or I'd show you.  We had a really horrible lunch at The George and Dragon at West Wycombe. Really his food was inedible. The establishment offered him a replacement, but given my food was over priced and not that nice he really didn't want to risk anything else.  I went in search of bluebells, but they were past their photographic best. The beech trees though were a gorgeous zingy green colour.

Aston Rowant Nature Reserve.
Beech Trees at Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire

Other stuff to distract me from meeting has been what Chief calls 'Niff Naff and Trivia' you know that general stuff you have to do that gets in the way of the fun?  Talking of which my ironing pile is looking like a clothes recreation of the leaning tower of Pizza so I need to go and iron. 

Oh and if you're wondering about the title of the post, Fiona has confirmed I am Genius Jan - but only for the week. Which quite frankly is a relief because I suspect being a genius for any longer than a few minutes might be a tad difficult for me.

Enjoy the rest of your week. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Interview: Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery

Today I have my first ever interview for you!  I snuck off for a couple of hours to the Chiltern's hideaway of my friend Sally, also known as Jewelbird to talk a bit about vintage costume jewellery. 

So what first got you interested in vintage jewellery?
Well I love anything Art Deco and a few years ago I realised that I could buy little pieces of Deco style on ebay at often bargain prices.  So I started to build up a collection, mostly bits and bobs from the 20s and 30s, mainly brooches and dress clips, but also some necklaces and earrings.  I found myself looking for things in markets, sales and charity shops as well.  

Art Deco Diamante Brooch
 1930s Deco diamante brooch

20s Amethyst Glass & Silver Necklace 
20s Amethyst glass and silver necklace

Later I became more interested in contemporary jewellery and my collection languished in a box for quite a few years.  Last year I took another look, because to be honest, times were hard and I was looking for things I could sell.  I started to auction off some of my things on ebay.  From there it just took off really, I became interested in finding out more about vintage jewellery, not just from the Deco period but from the whole of the 20th Century.  So here I am, not just selling my stuff for profit but looking out for things to buy again and doing lots of research to find out more about individual pieces and about the subject as a whole.   I have a huge amount to learn!!

Why did you decide to set up Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery?
Because I was becoming interested in buying jewellery to sell – trading rather than just selling my own personal collection – so I set up as a business seller on ebay then opened an ebay shop .  It’s on a fairly small scale but I liked the idea selling at fixed prices and having all my things on display together and selling more professionally.  In the future I’d definitely like to have my own website that can be a little more my own style, the ebay shop is just a beginning.

I called myself Jewelbird because – well I love birds, I love jewellery and I’m always on the lookout for jewelled birds.  This silver flying goose with rhinestones and enamel is one of the few of my old pieces I haven’t been able to bring myself to sell.  I think it probably dates back to the 1920s or even earlier.

Jewel Bird
Flying Goose Brooch (Which I'm actually coverting big time!)
Sphinx Lovebirds Brooch 
The Sphinx love birds brooch is for sale and dates from the 80s!

Does 'vintage' mean it's expensive? Or is there something for everyone?
Not expensive at all, prices vary according to age, condition, material, general trendiness and if the piece is signed.  The most expensive item I have sold online was £50 for a very beautiful pair of silver and marcasite dangle earrings from the 1920s, but I am selling 80s cloisonné enamel earrings for £4!  Most items range from £5 to £15.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

80s Cloisonne Butterfly Earrings 
80s blue cloisonné butterfly earrings

I know 1950's jewellery is going to be all the rage for the summer are there any other trends we should be looking out for?
Well definitely big sparkly rhinestone brooches .  Flowers and floral designs and the colour blue – apparently, although green is popular too!  I like this 50s brooch.  It’s on goldtone metal with pale green lucite petals/ leaves and greeny toned aurora borealis rhinestones.

Green Lucite & AB Crystal Brooch

I'm liking this too Jewelbird and green is my colour for spring! 

Do you have a favourite era for jewellery and does Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery only sell jewellery from this era?
I still love the styles of the 20s and 30s but these days genuine deco pieces are more difficult to find and often very expensive when they do turn up.  I’ve become a bit of a fan of jewellery from the 50s especially diamante and crystal pieces.  Diamante has a classic appeal, its perfect to wear for special occasion, a ball or a wedding, but a pair of sparkly earrings or a necklace can look fantastic with jeans or a summer dress and brooches are incredibly versatile and can be worn in the hair, on a hat or bag – there’s lots of scope for creativity!

Diamante Mix
Rhinestone bling mix

Oh yes a bit of bling to jazz up a bag would be great! I may have to go and make another bag just to add some bling to it - Not that I'm looking for an excuse to make another bag...nooooooo ;-)

What are the benefits of choosing vintage jewellery over modern costume jewellery?
A piece of vintage jewellery is unique – generally you’re not going to find another one like it in the high street.  A piece of vintage can epitomise the particular style of an era that you love, it can complement vintage clothing and add a special something to a modern outfit.  It can be eye catching and different,  reasonably priced and often wonderful quality, especially the older items - even if the materials are not precious, the workmanship and detail is often very fine.  Old things often have another quality to them -they have personality, history and a story to tell, if only they could speak!!  They have been owned and loved and maybe discarded and abandoned and are just waiting for a new lease of life.

40s Diamante Chain Neckalace 
1940s rhinestone chain necklace

Where can we find Jewelbird Vintage Jewellery because after seeing all these beauties I'm sure everyone it just itching for a bit of vintage sparkle?
Find my shop on ebay here.  I also have a facebook page in need of some liking!! 

Green AB Crystal Necklace
Green aurora borealis crystals - loving the green Jewelbird!

Well thank you very much Jewelbird for chatting with me about vintage jewellery and sharing these treasures with us.  I think a bit of sparkle to cheer us up on these grey days is just what the doctor ordered.  In fact I'm popping along to Jewelbirds Ebay shop right now why don't you join me?

Photos used throughout this post were supplied by Jewelbird. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

All The Fun of The Fair

When I read this post the other day, I checked out the flickr group and was instantly hooked. Who wouldn't want some Ferris Wheel fun? I printed off templates and started pulling fabric straight away.  I have always loved sneaking some texty fabric into the mix and was completely inspired by Nilya2011's ferris wheels. So am doing something similar myself. It seems that many people in the group are inspired to go down this route and it's fun seeing what everyone is coming up with.

Ferris Wheel Along

I am certainly enjoying pulling fabric and seeing which scrap will work well in each wheel.  It's become clear that my stash is still very short of yellow and purple fabrics. I'm resisting the urge to shop...not sure how long I'll be good though!


I am not sure I'd want to make a whole quilt of these Wheels. This may be because I'm focused on smaller fun projects right now.  I usually have a hand sewing project on the go each summer.  It's nice to have the motivation of being in a group.  I feel ready to join back in with swaps, if there were any going. But everyone in blogland seems a tad obsessed focused on the London Retreat (or Market or Sewing Summit) and there doesn't seem to be much going on that doesn't centre around this right now.

I can't believe it's actually sunny right now and the forecast is meant to be fine and sunny all weekend. So I may concentrate on outdoor projects and not sewing for the weekend. I hope you all have lovely weekends too and good weather to go with it!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Zakka Zakk-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Zakka Style

Look which book arrived in the post this morning? The hardest decision was deciding what to make first.  I decided to start with the pin cushions. Then I realised I had no filling. I could have chopped up bits of wadding scraps, but I've decided to wait until next week when I can get some proper filling. I think I have the makings of my pay-it-forward goodies here.

A lot of the makes in the book look like they are pretty quick. What takes the time is deciding which scraps and trimmings to use.  But as I'm probably the last to the party with this book, I'm sure you all already know that.   I've already cut out and played with fabrics for other projects and may or may not have ordered a few more trimmings and linen to make those choices even more...harder easier.

Friday, 4 May 2012

This was the week...

This was the week...

...I spent ages at a meeting of our local community hall and ended up volunteering my services for the Jubilee celebrations; assuming I am around for them and not away with Chief.

...I got really really behind with answering comments from my blog and other emails. Sorry!

...I wasted an afternoon at a local hospital when it turned out the neurologist was no help to me whatsoever.

...I finally got my hands on some Flea Market Fancy loveliness.

 Flea Market Fancy Reprint
Flea Market Fancy in greys, pinks, browns and blues with pops or orange thrown in.

...Got a call from Chief to say his dad had been rushed to hospital after a serious fall down the stairs.

...I spent a few hours at an induction held by the Royal British Legion for volunteer caseworkers and visitors.

...Had a fab night out with some friends in a town I'd not visited before.

...Skipped pudding on a night out and then had to sit next to someone eating this! 

Giant Profiteroles
Giant Profiteroles!

...Spent an afternoon trying to apply for a new drivers licence and ended up having to be talked through the process by a lovely DVLA employee called Michael.

...Decided I need a much much quieter week next week ;-)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Sew Fresh Sewing Day!

April seemed to go by rather too quickly for my liking and round here lived up to the whole April Showers thing...unfortunately!

I did get a bit of making done so thought I'd link up  to Sew Fresh Sewing Day (for the first time in ages!)

My creation
What I've worked on in April

Starting at the top left: Hope Valley Colour Brick Quilt. It's at the stage where I need to pluck up the courage to get the binding on it. Of course my poorly shoulder is the big thing stopping me doing that right now. But hopefully it'll get all finished up soon!

Next are the 18" squares cut up of my precious fabric for the Precious QAL. All ready for one of those Mahoosive Stars. I haven't sewn it up because after the hassle of basting and quilting the Hope Valley quilt I couldn't face piecing a top that I might not be able to get finished into a lovely quilt. Although I now have a cunning plan...or help from a very kind person! So as soon as shoulder is ok I'll get cracking!

The next project is a super top secret one that you only get a sneaky peak of. Embroidery has been added and some quilting done. A big reveal hopefully next month!

Embroidery. Just fiddling about with some Perle.

My first ever Bee block for Bee Blessed.  

Last but not least the Go Anywhere Bag. I'm so back in my comfort zone with a bag making project.

As for next month?! I have big plans for May.

Lily's Quilts
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