Thursday, 31 March 2011

"It's not for civvies"

"It's not for civvies" by isisjem22
"It's not for civvies", a photo by isisjem22 on Flickr.

I wanted to try out the quick blogger button so you get to see this bar of chocolate :-)

It amuses me and when I first saw a photo of one I pestered my other half for ages to try and get me a sample . These used to be issued with 24 hour ration packs given to soldiers. For those of you that have never come across Yorkies before; it's a milk chocolate bar that had a very successful ad campaign back in the 1970's (?) suggesting that Yorkies were just for big burly men like truck drivers.

I know I'm easily amused. I haven't eaten it yet because it came with a whole ration pack and I intended spending a day living on nothing but rations...I just haven't been tempted...yet ;-)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Doll Quilt Swap Round 10 - I got my lovely quilt!

I got home from work today to find I'd received my quilt in round 10 of Doll Quilt Swap.

This beauty was sent to me by Nichol of HardyPartyof5 over on Flickr.

Nichol did a great job of stalking me because she picked up on my liking for quilts that tell a story, fabric in happy colours, a love of the countryside, trees, birds and little houses. 

My photography skills and the light today just don't do this justice. There are just so many wonderful little details - like those mini quilts flip over on the ric rac washing line.  The quilting is lovely too! I like to imagine who might live in this little house. I wonder if they've been spring cleaning and have put their best quilts out on the line?

 I think one of my favourite details are the leaves on the tree.

I love the leaves for two reasons. They are attached by quilting of the veins, giving them a lovely fluttery effect.  Some of them are made from a really cute birdie fabric, so you get the impression that their are birds sat in the tree!

Nichol was kind enough to include some extras - the crane on the mug rug has quilted wings.

I have had so much fun with the DQS and am looking forward to my partner receiving the quilt I made for them.

If you want to check out the other lovely things that Nichol makes you can check her blog out here 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Travelling Tuesday: Chesil Beach

I can't remember the last time I shared a little Tuesday Travelling with you. 

Amongst the haze in this photograph you can just make out the thin line of Chesil Beach in Dorset, England.  I got to visit here last year, when I went with a friend to stay with a cousin in Somerset.  

There is a bit of a climb up onto the beach and then down the other side if you want to reach the sea. The shingle is quite difficult to walk on.  They say that if a sailor washed up on the beaches in this part of Dorset he could tell where he'd washed up by the size and texture of the shingle.    There is something a bit eerie about this place.  It has an atmosphere that not all beaches do.

It was warm day for April, although I didn't notice a heat haze, there is definitely something going on in this shot. It makes for an almost oil painting like quality to the picture. 

Looking at these pictures makes me long for the seaside and a bit of coastal exploring.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunny Sunday

Someone should tell the weather it's not May for another couple of months. Or maybe they should just keep quiet and let us enjoy this gorgeous weather. It's meant time spent outside in the garden; either working or relaxing with a book. I did however manage to finish this quilt I showed you the other day.

I was given a charm pack of Freebird by Momo for Moda for my birthday.   As luck would have it I had a couple of scraps of fabric from the same range - just enough to make a quilt this size (which I now can't remember the size of: only that I used a 45 x 60" wadding pack.)  I had already bought some Kona Chartreuse prior to the fabric diet I went on at the start of the year. This left me just to decide what to use for the back.  I knew it would involve buying some fabric, as apart from a metre of a Kona solid in Orange that I wanted to use some how, I had nothing else suitable.  I had a bit of a look online as I thought it would be fun to include some more Freebird.  I found some on sale and with a strip of the Kona orange (which I also used for the binding) to break up the two different patterns I ended up with this.

I think the top fabric really needs using in a big lump like this so you get the full design on show. Due to the cost of printed fabric over plain I don't normally back my quilts in patterned fabric. I think that might be going to change as I love this. I also like the idea of bands across the whole of the quilt so think the next quilt I make will be made up of strips of fabric. Hmmmm, maybe that's what I'll do with my little stash of Tuffed Tweets?

After cooking lunch for my Mum, I did a bit of work in the garden (more of the relaxing than working!) Then, my Mum and I went for a walk across the fields behind the house.  We mused on how many generations of people from my Mothers side of the family have walked across the fields just like we did.  I took lots of photos - which I won't bore you all with. At the bottom of the field directly behind our house is an area of trees and water known as The Spinney.  Violets and primroses were coming out and in a few months time there will be bluebells out here too. I even spotted some wild strawberries in flower here too.

In recent months there has been a lot of clearing of trees and shrubbery in The Spinney. One end of The Spinney had been the village rubbish tip in years gone by.  I guess years ago there weren't refuse collections and so items that couldn't be recycled or composted had to be deposited somewhere. The clearing of The Spinney has churned up some of the tip and as this photo shows it's obvious what this area was once used for:

I'm sure social archaeologists would find this area fascinating.  One lady told us who lives near here that she can remember there was  Morris Minor car dumped in there!  I couldn't investigate further because I could see a big hole or two in the ground. Whilst with the dirt and plants on top it might look stable you are in fact walking on years of accumulated rubbish and the ground is unlikely to be that solid underfoot.

So that was my Sunday.  I hope you had a good one too?  I was hoping to do some more sewing and try out some curved piecing. I think that might have to wait for another day.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Using my Thread

The backing fabric I needed arrived today for the quilt I showed you in the last post. I've spent the evening piecing the back, basting and finally quilting the quilt. I'm not ready to show you it yet because I haven't bound it. Then I'd like to wash it to make it all crinkly and lovely and take some photos outside.  It was touch and go quilting it because I had one spool of the quilting thread I was using and I'd already used some of that.  There were areas of the quilting I thought I should really unpick and re-do. Only with just the one spool of thread left I didn't think I ought to risk it. Good call as it turns out, because the last of the thread came off the spool just as I finished the final row of quilting!  I rounded up the above empty spools. Most of the time they go straight in the bin. These are the latest ones that had just been slung on the side. It's scary how much thread I'm getting through these days. I need to have a major restock. In fact that is more important than buying fabric. Maybe not so much fun...but hey ho.

Some of you maybe wondering why I'm showing this picture of me - looking like I have a bit of an attitude problem? Well, this was me yesterday, straight from work after having my spring trim. By spring trim, I mean about 4 - 5 inches off the bottom of my hair. It feels so lovely and light. My long hair really had got out of control.  I took a pic on my mobile and sent it to my other half.  Who asked if he should come down. It was a complete surprise. I'd only seen him once so far this year because his work has been pretty crazy and he was in a road accident and well fate was conspiring against us.  So it was such a nice surprise that he came down and we got to spend a few hours before he had to drive back.

Work on the veg' beds is also progressing. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any snaps today. The two beds are in place and the wood has been treated. I just need to fill them with topsoil and compost, (which means I have to go buy some first!) Then I can work out what will be planted where!

So I have plenty of things to occupy me this weekend. I hope you all have a good weekend!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Spring has sprung

I saw a yellow butterfly flapping about in the garden today and countless bumble bees. It was gloriously sunny and there was a bright blue sky in all directions. I'm thinking spring has sprung. Unfortunately I couldn't take this snap until the best of the sun had gone (due to the fact I was still piecing it!). 

I found some Momo Freebird fabric on sale in the UK. So I've ordered some of that for the back. I think this makes a nice spring quilt.  I'm going to keep the quilting simple.

My brother is going to make me a couple of raised beds for me to grow vegetables.  I'm really excited about it. I grew a few bits and pieces in tubs last year. I really long for a dedicated veggie area. I've been trawling through books and looking at seed packets deciding what to plant. I'm most looking forward to harvesting what I grow and cooking with it...well who wouldn't eh?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

After March roared in like an inconvenient Lion this Lamb is back to sewing

After all the year up to date on a fabric diet I finally succumbed to some online fabric purchasing:

The second photograph shows what finally tipped me of the not-buying-fabric-wagon. Urban Circus on sale. This was a range of fabric that took me a while to get into. I kept seeing it in a lot of fabric stores - I don't think it was an immediate sell out.  So maybe it's taken a lot of people a while to get into this line? I already have two fat quarters of the design in red so I'm thinking a Tufted tweet and solids quilt? 

I have already started on that Echino you can see in the top picture.  I really want to make some pillows. I haven't made any in a long while (probably not since the 1990's when I went mad and made living room curtains, window seat, dining room chair seat covers and cushions.) Anyway, I've started on the Echino to make a cushion for my mum.  I've pieced this together so far. I really wanted to showcase the individual parts of this 'cheater' fabric. I intend quilting it to add a bit more strength and padding. Not sure what to do for the back. I'm going to go for an envelope closure for ease.

I've started on the Freebird by Momo for Moda charm pack I got for my birthday. I already had a half metre of the Chartreuse Kona and a few scraps of Freebird which allowed me to get a few more patterned squares to add to it.  I had to get some more Kona which arrived today with the tufted tweets.  The design is simple; I think it has a bit of an Easter feel to it.  I also think it'll make a fun picnic rug or garden cosy when sat outside on colder days.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

DQS finished (and some other stuff)

I have finished my doll quilt for round 10 of the Doll Quilt Swap.  I decided to add a bit more detail on the front and the back.  I had always intended the back to be quite plain because the front had so much going on.

I went to Reading, Berkshire shopping with a friend on Friday. We both had the day off of work and caught the train. I'd been quite excited about visiting John Lewis - because there is no store that close to me and the nearest one doesn't have a haberdashery department. I'd half expected to be blogging on Friday night telling you of all the fabric and sewing goodies I'd bought. Alas, nothing tempted me...until I got home and saw some fabric I wanted was on sale.  That reminded me I'd been on a fabric diet all year and there was some other fabric I wanted at another supplier - and well lets just say I'm not on a diet any more! I've placed two orders! 

The only thing I bought myself in Reading was a book: "Quilting in no time" by Emma Hardy. I had a book token to spend left over from my birthday and this is the first book to tempt me.  It's full of simple, but fun looking projects. However, reading some of the methods I'm not sure I'd tackle every project the way the book suggests.

If you read my last post you maybe wondering if the insurance documents arrived in time to collect my car? Well they did and my brother and I collected the car on Thursday. I have been spending the weekend getting used to driving a different car after 12 years of driving the old one. My last car didn't have power steering so that's been the biggest thing I'm having to get used too.

I've also started working on a quilt using the Freebird by Momo charm squares I was given for my birthday. It's going to be a very simple quilt with alternating patterned charms and solid squares. I thought it would make a fun picnic rug or cosy for chillier days in the garden.   The Freebird range just seems to scream Easter to me.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Catch up

Can you believe that in what feels like forever the only fabric I've touched with any intention, is when I started cutting 5" charms to make a scrappy charm pack for my partner in DQS10?  It's why I've not checked back in. My whole world seems to have been filled with car hunting and other stresses this past week. And why is it when you're stressed it feels like it's been going on forever?

I had made a deal with myself that if I only had cars to talk about I'd not be doing another blog entry. To cut a long story short shorter. I was beginning to get despondent of ever finding the right car, at the right budget. Last Friday my brother and I did an 80 mile round trip and hadn't even managed to test drive anything. (This was one trip in a succession of afternoons spent car hunting after I finished work.) Then my brother revisited the garage where the salesman had turned cool when we didn't buy the car. I'd been convinced the car he'd tried to sell us was actually advertised at a much lower price on the web. My bro went to verify this and it turned out there had been a pricing error and that car had been sold anyway. The other staff were more helpful and found some alternatives - and well one of them had my name on it. So I paid a deposit and am due to collect it tomorrow - It was even under budget. But now the snag...I phoned my insurance company and changed the car on the policy. I  asked if they'd fax the certificate of insurance direct to the garage so they could tax it for me. They said they couldn't do that and I'd have to wait for the insurance certificate to come in the mail - and oh they can't guarantee when that will come and I should allow 7 days. As of today it's not come. If it doesn't come in tomorrows mail I don't think I'll be getting my car tomorrow...I'm a little stressed about that. I just want my new car now!

Next time I check in I hope to have not only my new car, but some sewing related news. In the mean time. Enjoy the rest of your week and stay away from the stress ;-)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The most stressful shopping ever.

Now normally I am a girl that likes to shop. Clothes, fabric, handbags, jewellery - I'm right there.  The last time I went shopping for cars was twelve years ago. I was buying my second car. I had no car to sell as my previous car I'd got shot of years before. I had a budget. I knew I couldn't afford new. I bought the car I drive now, which was 2 years old. Of all the cars I test drove it put a smile on my face the moment I got behind the wheel.

So why is it now I set foot in the first dealership and immediately feel overwhelmed.  By the second garage I felt close to tears. I don't know what I'd have done if my brother hadn't come with me. I liked the car in the second garage - but not the price. When we wouldn't buy it the sales man went from friendly to very cool - bordering angry (We made it quite clear we were shopping around and would not be buying anything today!) so I found his reaction...rude at the very least. I won't buy a car from that garage on principle.  The third don't want to know. My brother asked where we should go next. I said home. I'd had enough. I am not looking forward to going shopping again. I wish my current car was still only 2 years old.
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