Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Good Stuff

So where were we last? Ah, yes. I was contemplating a dessert that never was and having myself a Pity Party.  But I'm over all that because the trouble with having Pity Parties is, it's best to keep them short. Otherwise you'll never get invited to any real parties or have any fun friends left at all... And as it turns out it was probably as well I didn't make the dessert as someone at the party has an allergy to a key ingredient.

I won't bore you with the medical details. I'm a bit better but not 100% yet. Not really anywhere close. I've been for a blood test today and will know more when I have the results of that.  I was also signed off work on Monday for the week. Although I've had to go in each day to collect work I can do at home. Thanks to the IT techy person setting me up some remote access I can sit on my sofa and see my work desktop from home.  Really amused someone when they were alone in the office and paperwork started churning out of the printer and it wasn't them! They even phoned me to tell me. Yeah, technology is clever. I just told them it was magic.

However, since I got ill there has been some definite rays of sunshine in some otherwise grey days.   First off I received in The Scrappy Swap. It was a complete surprise as I must have been the first in the group to actually receive, so I'd hadn't even thought about it coming. This came a week last Monday and I could have blogged about it in the last post, but I didn't want me feeling sorry for myself to over shadow this gorgeous stuff.

The highlight of my day.

For those of you that haven't taken part in the swap we had to make a small scrappy goody and include a fat quarter of scraps - which didn't have to be designer, but good quality and should reflect our partners tastes. Then finally we had to include a small local item which could be something foody or a postcard of our location.  I got the above bundle of goodies from Catherine. Which some of you have probably guessed already when you spotted the preserves from her part of the UK!

Catherine hadn't revealed the side of the pouch you can see in the above pic, as she thought the scrap of fabric with the Eiffel Tower on it might be a complete give away for me.  And I admit that every time I see something Parisian in a swap I assume it's for me. Chief and I still haven't had our trip to Paris but we're optimistic it will happen next year!

I may not have been able to meet up with Susan last weekend, but she did manage to lead me astray when she blogged about this Etsy shop and the wonderful Washi tapes they sold. I'd been looking for some for a while but they always seemed to be for sale in the US and once you added in postage they ended up being jolly expensive tapes. I am hoping I may find a couple of these in my Christmas stocking. But I thought I'd photograph these all stacked up. The sellers were brilliant to deal with.

Pretty Tape.

Then today just as I was leaving the house to go and have a blood test I nearly stepped on a parcel left in my back porch.  Recently I won a giveaway Laura had on her blog for some chocs from Trufflepiglet. It was so great they turned up today as knowing I could open them when I got home from the surgery made them an extra special treat.

My creation

Now I confess sometimes when I've been bought handmade chocolates I think: Oooh great packaging, great looking chocolates - and then I eat them and think. Oh. They look a lot nicer than they taste. These Trufflepiglet chocolates are the complete opposite. They actually taste even better than they look. I'm rationing them (as well as sharing with my Mum - I'm nice like that.).  See that top stripey one? That's one of two I've had so far and it's Pear Schnapps. Yummerty-Yum-Yum!  

The other great thing about the selection is Trufflepiglet include a chocolate menu. So many times I've been offered an artisan chocolate with no idea what the flavour is. At least with a menu if there was one I didn't fancy I'd know to give it a swerve and leave it for someone who did like that flavour. It also means you know exactly which flavours to re-order...

My Mum is a real sweet/chocolate connoisseur.  She never puts on weight despite her ability to quite easily demolish pounds of chocolate and sweeties given the chance.  She too often finds chocolates look nicer than they taste. But she has already dropped hints about us ordering more when these run out. When I say hints. It's probably not a hint if you ask directly for more to be ordered is it?  Did I mention she was almost dribbling on the laptop when she saw the pictures of chocolates on the website!

So you see even when life is less than perfect.  Even when it would be easy to continue with the Pity Party because of all the things in life that are not right.  There are usually little things to remind you that there are always things to be grateful for. Always things to make you smile. Things to make you hopeful. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Dessert That Never Was and My Own Private Pity Party

Some may have noticed I've been quieter this last week. I have been laid low with a lurgy (for those needing a translation Lurgy = seasonal ill like flu or flu itself.) It came out of no where and is showing little sign of really going properly. Which is doubly unfortunate as I have to be in work next week.

Yesterday I ventured out for the first time since Monday. Just to the local shop to get supplies and also some  ingredients I needed for the dessert I was going to make to take to Susan's today for the BritBee plus friends get together at her house.  I walked around the supermarket like an extra from The Walking Dead. To be fair I probably fitted right in with some of the customers...I came home and felt completely wrecked. I knew unless there was some kind of miracle I would not be making the dessert let alone going to Susan's.  Confirmed later in the afternoon when I became very wobbly and faint.

The Dessert That Never Was
Ignore the green grapes and the marshmallows should really be the big kind but I forgot them.
And there are some other non key ingredients missing too.

I had been trying not to get my hopes up when the invitation was first sent as transportation was going to be an issue. But in the last few weeks I'd been looking forward to meeting Susan and the others.  None of whom I'd met before, apart from Katy.

I have felt absolutely gutted to be so close to going and not actually make it. Even when I've had the energy to be online I've not felt like blogging. 

I am also going to be behind in making the HipBee block for Catherine and probably won't get the table runner finished for the swap in time either. I've never been behind before, but really, if I try sewing right now it's going to go horrendously wrong.

So I've had my own little Pity Party of one. (without even dessert). A couple of nice things did happen in the week but they deserve a more positive post so I'm going to save them until next time. When the pity party should be well and truly over.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Modern Christmas Decor

Someone asked me on Facebook how long it took to make something like the red quilt. I find it really hard to gauge the time it takes me to make stuff because sometimes I have a really haphazard means of working. My sewing machine is set up in the adjacent dining area of my living room. It's not quite open plan, but it has no door between the two. It's not unheard of, say, for me to only sew on my machine during the commercial breaks, whilst I'll sit on the floor pinning or tinkering on the living room floor between ad breaks. In the case of making the red quilt I was also working simultaneously on the table runner for the Modern Table Runner Swap.

Runner Pieced
The top here is pieced but not ironed!

I'm really pleased with how this has turned out so far. The scrappy border really lifts it, as I thought the three stars on their own were looking a bit flat. I have next to no modern Christmas fabrics so, as with the red quilt, I've opted for Christmassy images: The stars, and a colour scheme that says 'Christmas'.  Red and green and to keep it fresh and modern some aqua.  To me the key thing in any design for this swap was 'Modern'. I think if anyone was expecting me to use the traditional Christmas fabrics I have shoved at the back of my fabric drawers, they would have entered a traditional table runner swap or a swap that didn't specify - right?

Something I've realised about my style as far as quilts go, is I get the most satisfaction making simple quilts. Quilts I don't run out of steam with during the making. I think that's another bonus of joining bee's - I can try out blocks I'd never want to make a whole quilts worth of. If you use the right fabric - whether they're scraps or precuts or whatever - it's about letting the fabrics do the talking for me, rather than the intricate piecing. 

What do you prefer making quilt wise? 

The next job, in true multitasking style will be to baste and quilt both this and my red quilt. I'm on track to meet the deadline. Phew!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Not the Sunday I had Planned

366-323 18 November 2012
Excuse the shadowy pic. Was trying to make the most of the sunshine.

The Red/Christmas Quilt Top is done.  I have sorted the backing, but not taken a photo of that. When I've done the scrappy border for the table runner I showed you in the last post I can baste this and and the table runner and get quilting. Not 100% settled on the quilting of this, so open to suggestions. 

Given that I actually only bought two fat quarters of red fabric specifically for the front of this quilt (and one half yard which is going on the back now) it seemed I could rustle up more red than I realised from my stash. Although now my reds are only down to some old fashioned Christmas fabric and scraps! 

I was not going to be sewing today. Nope not a stitch was planned for today as Chief was coming down as soon as he'd taken parade this am.  When I woke up and eventually rolled over and looked at my phone I saw I had a missed call from him. When I rang him thinking maybe he'd got away earlier than expected, it turned out to be the complete opposite.  He'd been to hospital after having a 'turn' in the breakfast queue. Which turned out to be a diabetic hypo. He only remembers feeling light headed. The person he was talking too had thought he was having a heart attack or something and rushed him to hospital.  This has meant no Chief coming down here as he's still not 100%. I made the most of my extra time to get on with some sewing. It's not the same as spending the day with him and I feel bad that I'm not better at driving long distances because it wasn't like I could go and look after him. No idea when I'll get to see him now. I think making the quilt top made the best of a bad job.

I hope you've all had a great weekend and I'd best get on with that scrappy border! 

Saturday, 17 November 2012


I have actually spent most of the day sewing. The mojo returned late last night when I started a new project. I blame that Pin-it-to-win-it competition on Pinterest, that I didn't win by the way. But I did fall in love with the bundle and namely the colour red. I would have bought the bundle but I was itching to get sewing and it will take too long for it to arrive from the US. Especially as I am itching to make a Christmas quilt.

No surprise that when I was buying fabric for the Low Volume Charm swap a couple of red lovelies fell into my basket too. I have to say I'm not usually a fan of red quilts. I love the colour and often wear it. Particularly in winter. I even have a bright winter red coat. The sort of coat that stops traffic. (Which I find especially useful if I'm crossing the road at the time...) What I'm not normally drawn to is red in quilting.  As a result my own stash is woefully short of red fabrics. In fact to assemble this quilt I've had to turn out draws and hunt high and low for reds that will be suitable. As a result this is not patchwork-by-numbers kind of quilt. It's a simple quilt with a story.  For example there is a Wonderland charm square that Reene sent me as part of the Pay-It-Forward she did on her blog; Some left over scraps of red fabric I'd originally won when Kerry had a give away.  There is some left over It's a Hoot from Mum's special quilt; A charm cut from a free Spoonflower Swatch.  I also raided the rainbow charm swap pile for some reds and also a Summersville Charm pack. There is also some Sherbet Pips that were destined for a Christmas quilt a few years back and after a couple of cutting accidents, has been used to make a baby quilt already this year.

Seeing Red

Someone once told me that if you save fabrics for just the right project you become a fabric hoarder. I don't agree with this. I am loving raiding my stash for reds, precious texts and Lake House Dry Goods fabrics that will work so well in this project.  I'm happy to use any of them - even precious ones because this is the perfect project for them. And to get this to lap sized I'll need every bit of red I can lay my hands on.  Happily I have some red Summersville and some Bliss I can back the quilt in. With a bit of work I can have a Christmassy lap quilt to form part of my holiday decor.

And on the subject of Holiday decor I have started the runner for the swap.  I was good and sewed the stars before any red squares were sewn together. I'm thinking it needs a scrappy border? Oh and if I do perle and machine quilting I should do the hand stitching first, right?

Three Wonky Stars

So how's your weekend stitching up?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Never work with Animals, Children or...mothers

Warning: For those of a delicate nature and Hadley please note this is not a Jeggings Free Post. 

I managed to get the floor hoovered today - ironic because then I started laying out fabric and scraps all over it. For a while it was relatively thread free. And in a fit of domestication I decided I needed an apron.  Actually I made the decision when I placed my order for fabric for the low volume charm swap, and one of my other purchases was some fabric for one side of a reversible apron I decided to make.  If I hadn't been gripped by a rare fit of domesticity I may have thought to photograph my fabric purchases. As it was half of them went in the wash. (They were prominently red and I live in fear of red fabric running.).  After about an hour of domesticity I decided I really needed to make the apron before I did any more housework.

Once it was done I asked Mum to take some pictures of me modelling the Apron. The light is rubbish and I could think of no way of showing it to you without actually modelling it. Oh. What. A. Drama. I'll spare you a blow by blow account of what happened next but suffice to say there was about a squillion blurry pictures, a couple of close ups of my feet and ankles and a few shots of the wall with only a flash of me in it. Not to mention quite a lot of bickering between Mum and I.

The best of the bad bunch was this:

It's sort of ended up chopping of the top of the apron and er a close up of my Jeggings.

The apron is completely reversible and this side features a bright pink Klona pocket and trim and some Sinister Swarm from Anna Maria Horners Field Study range. The trim was necessary because I was using a fat quarter of a metre of fabric one side and had cut down a half yard of the Field Study - which of course was narrower than the metre cut.  After the bad pictures I said to Mum right you're modelling I'm taking pictures. She was not happy especially when  I asked her to remove a large cardigan over her jumper, as I said it was creating a big funny bulge in her middle. She started carrying on and huffing and puffing.  Probably   not helped by my diplomatically telling her: For goodness sake just take of your cardigan it's hardly a cause for all this drama, I'm asking you to remove a cardigan not donate a kidney.  


The reverse side is some Ta Da Dot by Michael Miller with a Sinister Swarm pocket. Aprons need a pocket. Mum always wore a half apron like this when I was growing up. I asked her why she stopped and she said because they were warn out and she could no longer get more.  Her apron pockets always housed all manner of junk - string, elastic bands, bits of detritus she'd picked up around the house.  The apron string is more Klona . 


I used another of my fancy stitches to give some detail on the Klona pocket this side. Mum then had the cheek to ask me what she was getting paid for modelling my apron. I just can't dignify some questions with a response. (Although she maybe getting an apron...)

So today I have stitched. Ok it's not something I really should have been doing. I have also done some really crappy sketches for my partner to peruse in the Modern Table Runner Swap. I'm not really a-do-a-sketch -of -what-I-have-planned type of person as I work straight out of my head. Mercifully Flickr doesn't allow you to upload the contents of your head straight from source, so a sketch had to suffice.

Today has been a good day though. My boss bought me lunch. It may have only been a bacon sarnie, but it was a very nice bacon sarnie! I also got bought a cake being sold by some passing hairdressers in pyjama's for Children in Need. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mañana for Sewing

Ok, so there is no sewing today either as I went out straight from work again.  I was a woman on a mission. Top of my mission list (Unless you're Chief; then it was buying Franks Strawberry Flavoured Diabetic Ice Cream from Waitrose) was to track down some vintage sheets for the vintage sheet swap.  It doesn't officially start until January, but I rarely go to places where there are charity shops so I thought I'd best get looking now.

Having seen Judith's fab quilts made from vintage sheets I've had the urge for a quilt like that myself.

I went in three charity shops. Mum was with me. Completely perplexed by my mission: You want to buy used bedding from a charity shop? You're going to what? You're going to cut up said used bedding and swap it for other cut up used bedding with people on the Internet. There was a bit of head shaking and looking at me like I might have taken leave of my senses. And to be fair put like that even I can see why it might sound bonkers.

Anyway, back to the charity shops. The first one I ventured into was Cancer Research.  I'd been in here previously. Friendly staff, a pleasant smelling shop (ie it didn't smell as Chief would say: Like a Pensioners Sofa.) and a great place to stock up on pretty great value greetings cards. I also managed to find a cookery book I've often perused, but never owned for the bargain price of £2.00. But not a curtain, sheet or duvet in sight.

Charity Shop Buys

Then there was Oxfam.  Not a big fan of Oxfam Charity Shops I have to say. Far too expensive and in the case of a local Oxfam Book Shop the staff always make me feel like they think I'm going to stuff a couple of paper backs up my jumper and make a run for it...  Oxfam did have some bedding and curtains hanging from trouser hangers. Couldn't see any prices, but nothing was suitable in the least.  

The last shop was...I can't actually remember. It had tonnes of clutter outside the shop and inside it definitely could have done with some air freshener  Not quite Eau De Urine but definitely not pleasant. They too had some home furnishing at the back of the shop, again nothing suitable. 

So then it was off to Waitrose to get frustrated and upset because every obnoxious, snooty shopper in a 10 mile radius must have decided to do their shopping this afternoon.  

Tomorrow I think I'll stay home and sew. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The One Where Hadley Shouts At Me.

I am feeling really naughty. Maybe I'm just getting practice in for next years FQ Retreat where I will no doubt spend a fair amount of time on the naughty step. But I have been a bit naughty. I'll let you judge just how naughty and how loudly Hadley will be shouting at me.

1) I have not done any sewing. Not a needle has been threaded let alone used.  No sewing of the table runner for the Modern Table Runner Swap. No sewing on of that binding on the quilt for my niece. No sewing of anything on the 100 Day Hustle. No sewing of Bee Blocks for HipBee or Bee Blessed.  The Mojo has done one of its vanishing acts.

2) I have not hoovered the many threads from the living room floor. Maybe because I've not actually picked sufficient cr** of the floor in order to actually be able to hoover it...

3) Nor have I done any ironing and the ironing basket pile is so tall it's like the leaning tower of clothing. It would scare the French. There maybe some French living in it for all I know.

4) I went out straight from work just because the sun was shining and it was either that or come home and curl up on the sofa and sleep and browse flickr and Pinterest. And to be fair I did that as soon as I got in anyway.

5) OK so I was on flickr and pinterest and signed up for another charm swap that Laura from Needles, Pins and Baking Tins is running.

Needles, Pins and Baking Tins

If that doesn't seem too naughty wait until you read 6! And I've not actually finished my last low volume my defence I need some low volume lovelies to add to the charms that will be coming from the text charm swap. It seems like ages ago that I sent off my charms so I'm really hoping they'll arrive soon as I am itching to get started on a certain project.

6) Of course joining the LVCS means I needed to go buy fabric. That's reason one that Hadley may start shouting at me. As I did say if I bought more fabric I needed shouting at. She'll shout even louder when I confess that I may most definitely bought other fabric while I was shopping.

7) And then an email popped into my mail box saying all Michelle Patterns are on sale at $5 so I bought a pattern too.

But I did have a nice walk in the sunshine over at Waterperry Gardens.  Down by the River there was some Jackdaws up in the trees kicking up a right old racket. When I looked up to see what the fuss was all about (and I never did see) I saw this lovely view. 

Autumnal Beauty

So glad that I had my camera with me and I'd like to think the Jackdaws were shouting at me to look up so I didn't miss it. I'd have never looked up other wise. 

And if Hadley hasn't yelled at me enough she will when she see this next picture.


Yes, Hadley I'm wearing Jeggings! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pin it to Win it and other Pinterest Stuff?

Do you Pin? On Pinterest I mean. I have to say when the concept first came out I wasn't sure I'd really make much use of it and I have to say I'm more of a dabbler than a die-hard pinner.  In fact most of the time I'm more of a repinner. I follow a bunch of cool people and when I see they've pinned something interesting I repin. It gets a bit frustrating sometimes when I go back to that pin and find it doesn't go anywhere useful. But most of the time I'm using my pin boards as inspiration. I am kind of amused when I find people start pinterest accounts and then only pin their own pictures from flickr. Hmmm could you not just make sets on flickr? And actually when pinterest first started I thought there was a rule somewhere that it was for repining other people's stuff and not to be used only to pin your own stuff? Or do I just think that should be a rule?

Pinterest is a great diversion when I really should be doing other stuff like ahem sewing down binding, making a Christmas table runner for the swap, taking the washing out of the washing machine or hoovering all the zillion threads from my carpet. I don't actually feel motivated to do any of that!

If you want to go check out the junk creative and inspiring wonders I pin - and there is everything from card board cut out tardis patterns to clothes I'd wear if I was more fashionable than I actually am - then go here.

While I'm on the subject of Pinterest Fresh Squeezed Fabrics are doing another Pin it To Win It competition. They've made the rules clearer so hopefully there will be no confusion and disappointment with people thinking they've won a bundle when they haven't. Basically when you get the required number of pins you can then get entered into a drawer for that bundle. Of course you can pick more than one bundle but I'm not being greedy I'm only picking this red one because my stash is very very short on red. If you'd like to help me get the correct number of pins so I can enter to win this bundle I'd be most grateful just go here.

Source: via Jan on Pinterest

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fluff and Nonsense

I did no sewing yesterday. I wasn't in the mood. I watched the TV coverage from the Cenotaph and thought about Chief being in the North East. Many in the armed forces find Remembrance Sunday and this time of year difficult. It's a time to remember friends and comrades lost. For many it's like going through the grieving process all over again. Sewing felt too frivolousness.

There was some stress midweek last, when Chief discovered his medals were missing. He's still not found them.  They were not where he expected them to be. It means he's either done something silly like thrown them out by accident (and that's not easy as they're quite heavy), or he's put them somewhere completely random or (and I really don't like to think this) someone has stolen them as they're worth money.  Thankfully a replica seller on eBay came to the rescue with a replica set, followed by the tailor who mounted them at the last moment. Not the same as having your own, especially as they're engraved with your name. But he was going to need them yesterday so had to get something sorted. Mean while fingers crossed his medals turn up.

Yesterday afternoon I went out for a walk.  The weather was glorious around here and I'd noticed that many of the trees were holding on to their Autumn colours.

Remembrance Sunday

Today I got on with the binding of the quilt for my niece. When I say I got on with it. What I really mean is I made the binding and sewed it on with the machine, I managed to get a join in the binding to land right where a corner is so I have a nice ugly thick bulky corner to deal with. I have started hand sewing the binding down and normally I quite like this because it means I have a nearly finished quilt and I can sew and day dream, as I do it.  Today I've looked for any excuse not to sew it. I just don't like the quilt or its organic quilting. It's not one of my finest efforts. It's the sort of quilt best viewed from a from the surface Mars.

When I took my walking foot off to swap back to my regular foot I cleaned out the bobbin case area and as promised took some picks. OMG what a lot of fluff.


And yes I have cleaned it out before! You can see from the picture that quite a lot of this fluff has a purple tinge to it. Given I've been using the purple thread from empress mills and no other purple thread I think it's safe to say this is responsible for the purple tinges you see there.  Since I've used the Empress Mills thread I have used it with a lot of wadding/fleece so I was expecting a fair amount of shedding. But I'd say not all of this fluff is wadding related. 



Not sure if you can see very well, but in the second fluff picture it's green. This came from the bit of the machine right above the needle.   I can't really say how much other threads shed as I've not exactly road tested anything else in my machine. But now I'm thinking I should!  Hmmm maybe I need a thread sponsor. On second thoughts nobody would be brave enough to ask me to review their thread would they?!

I am feeling slightly panicked by my lack of progress in the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.  A lot of people have finished and all I've done is managed to move a pile of fabric to a patch of the living room floor. 

Now I'm going back to sewing the binding. After I've read a few blogs, made a cuppa and oh done just about anything so as to not have to sew on the binding.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Saturday WIP

This morning I probably should have been doing Novembers block in the HipBee or getting on with my Modern Christmas Table Runner for the swap. But as I've messed up sewing of blocks when I've attempted them before lunch and I'm still waiting for the real zinger of enthusiasm to strike with the table runner, I opted for quilting a quilt for my niece for Christmas.

I first told you about the Hit and Miss Quilt here. It was back in June 2011 I see. It made it on to the Finish-A-Long when I signed up to that. But it's taken until now for me to quilt it.  Once I've sorted out binding it'll be good to go.

When I started this quilt it had been for someone else entirely. Then I had doubts about whether that recipient would want a quilt and if they did would they want this quilt. So it got popped in a bag and neglected.  When I came across it the other day I thought it was time I finished it and gave it to my niece for Christmas.


I went with straight lines. When I say straight lines. I of course mean really wonky ones. In my thriftyness wisdom I decided to back it in a purple sheet from the supermarket. After procrastinating for ages I realised when it was too late I'd bought one that was poly cotton.  It was also a fitted sheet and it took me absolutely ages removing all the elastic. It may have saved me a few pounds on some Klona but never again. First off the time removing that elastic was ridiculous and then it was so damn slippy both the basting and the quilting was difficult. I put it down to the sheeny polyester. I used a walking foot and the spacing bar attachment and still the lines went wonky as the backing fabric tended to want to do it's own thing. Actually on the back the quilting looked far better than the front. The tufted tweets fabric used on the front of the quilt was not printed straight on the fabric. Add to that some wonky sewing on my part and of course every straight line is going to look far wonkier than it is. So I decided to embrace the wonk and in between every navy quilted line I sewed a green wonky line.  But if you're ever contemplating using a polycotton sheet to save money just don't!

 I used the green and navy Empress Mills thread I bought the other day. I have nothing new to say about this thread at the moment. But when I take off my walking foot I'll take a picture of the lint build up and we'll see how much of that is navy or green...

I also used for the first time Hobbs Heirloom batting. Don't like that at all. It's no warm and white/natural. It's no Quilters Dream Blend. It may have said 'cotton' in the online shop but from packet details it's clearly a poly/cotton blend.  It just feels so inferior to what I'm used too. It seemed to quilt ok, but it was a pain smoothing it out to baste as it seemed to have lots of strange lumps and bumps straight from the packet.

So that so far is my Saturday.

Friday, 9 November 2012

100 Day Hustle - Check In Time

Wow doesn't time fly? We're already 50 days in to the 100 day hustle. I told you about it here and did my list. But now's the time to find out how well I've done so far. I've got a feeling last time I'd looked I'd done three quarters of the things already.  I suspect this will be a bit like spring cleaning. I will have started off well but then towards the end there will be a few items - easy items that just don't get done!

1. Make the Tote bag for my partner in Mouthy Stitches

Done and received!

2. Make a pin cushion for my partner in Bee a Brit Stingy

Reverse of Pincushion for DiFront  of Pinnie for Di

I also made a little thread catcher to go with it.

3. Finish off the Book Shelf Cushion for LG

Done and posted off to Linda.

4. Make the purple cushion for SW.

A cushion for S.

Another cushion done and delivered to the recipient - a family friend with terminal cancer and dementia.

5. Make a birthday gift for TB
Done and while it's been posted I don't want to ruin the surprise until the recipient has opened it!

6. Make the latest Noodlehead Tote bag.
Not yet - haven't got the strap hard ware required so haven't even bought the pattern!

7. Make a Framed purse for a special birthday gift
Changed my mind on this one and didn't go down the handmade route for this birthday present.

8. Momo It's a Hoot quilt for Mum for Christmas

It's a Hoot Plus Quilt

Yep done and dusted in three days from start to finish! It's well hidden now so Mum doesn't know a thing!

9. EPP stuff for Blog Hop

For the Travelling PicStitch Blog Hop
Took part in my first every Blog Hop with this English Paper Pieced Block!

10. Make my DS star for my month in HipBee's
October was my month and I've not done it!!!

11. Make November and December HipBee blocks
Hope to tackle the November block at the weekend - obviously when I forgot the list I forgot we're not doing December!

12. Make October, November and December Bee Blessed blocks.
I don't think there was a block in October but I intend making the November block!

13. Christmas table runner.
I have joined the Modern Christmas table runner swap so this item will be done as part of this. I haven't started the runner yet but I have made the ornament we have to send with the runner.

EPP Christmas bauble

14. Sewing machine cover for new machine (Get the new machine!)
I got the new machine and the cover got made!

Almost Finished 

15. Top Secret something I can't reveal just yet.
This is still so top secret I can't even tell you how secret! But I've done it!

16. Make a hexie flexi frame purse as per Leila's tutorial.

Liberty Hexie Flexi Frame Purse 
Loved making this. A great tutorial

17. Key fob for Mouthy Stitches

Key Fob reverse for Mouthy Stitches Partner
I made the fob and even wrote up a tutorial for it on my blog.

So I'm feeling more than on top of things!  In fact I may have to add to the existing stuff on the list because I'm sure I have more sewing time left in the next 50 days! Best go link up to:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

An Epic Fail

I came home from work grabbed some grease proof paper to act as tracing paper and traced off the appropriate size of my skirt pattern. Thankfully the skirt only has 3 pattern pieces so it was hardly difficult. Cutting it out of the sheet on the carpet was not so easy, but doable and it didn't have to be that neat because it was only a practice.

I sewed the relevant bits together and went to sew on the waist band. It said the skirt would be a bit bigger. But I have to say the pattern instructions got a bit like gobbledegook here.  Hmmm the waist band seemed short. Had I cut it too small? couldn't see how I had really and it wasn't so small that I was supposed to have placed the pattern piece on the fabric fold. I know, I thought, I'll just pop it round my waist to see how it fits. It was way too small. Not a little a bit. A LOT.

So I thought I'd try the skirt on and it was quite snug on the hips. At this waist measurement I was sort of prepared for this.  Then I did up the pretend zip (I hadn't actually wasted a zip on the sheet skirt.) The pretend zip busted out of it's seams. There was no way this pretend zip was ever going to do up. The sheet skirt was way way too small. I'd got my measurements right so I must have misread the corresponding size on the pattern envelope. At least as it was too small I didn't have to work out the waistband instructions - every cloud and all that...

For all of you that said I should cut straight into the pattern or wondered why I wanted to do a tracing. I think you can see why I was reluctant!  This is why I didn't cut straight into the pattern tissue. It's a jolly good reason why tracing a pattern is worth the effort. Not to mention useful if you intend to make more than one of a pattern or make the pattern in different sizes.

Epic Fail

Whatever size you do version 'C' of the skirt it is super short. Chief would love that. I think my days of wearing super flirty short skirts may be well and truly behind me so I'd need to lengthen the hem too.   I so need to attend dressmaking classes. I just don't think I can do this myself by following instructions. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Skirting the issue

Look what came in today's mail:

Wardrobe in a Wallet - arrived in today's mail. 

 And if I wasn't so tired and could remember what I'd done with the packet of pattern tracing paper I'd be starting with the skirt pattern now. I really have to stop (excuse the pun) skirting the issue regarding dressmaking and get on with it. The recent $2.99 pattern sale that Fiona blogged about was enough to get me browsing and purchasing. Of course there will be plenty of you reading this that will be sat rolling your eyes, thinking yeah yeah yeah, like she hasn't said all this before.  This time I'm determined to give it a crack.  I have a very old blue sheet to practice on and if I could find that blessed pattern transfer paper and some energy I'd be cutting. View C of the skirt says for any fabric width I'll need 1.1/4 yards of fabric. I'm hoping that a metre will be enough as I have several metre cuts that would make lovely summer skirts. Given all sizes of skirt specify this amount of fabric I'm hoping that I can easily get a skirt out of a metre cut. Of course being so tired I may have completely missed something fabric requirement wise. If so I'll have to order fabric especially to make the skirt so that will delay things further.

Last night I had more energy and managed to whip up an EPP Christmas Bauble that I thought my partner might like in the Modern Table Runner Swap.

EPP Christmas bauble

You can't see from this pic but the side I had to join together from the outside is a tad pointy. I don't think this spoils it though. If my partner doesn't want it I'll happily put it on my tree. 

But for now I'm going for a snooze and to think about what on earth I've done with that pattern tracing paper. If I can't find it do you think I can use baking parchment instead? I really want to make that skirt!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Remember, Remember...

...The fifth of November as the old Rhyme goes. I've been hearing fire works the last few days, but have no plans to try and make any of the displays on locally. I know what a misery! This time of year I'm firmly in hibernation mode.  I did however come across this bit of embroidery I did a few years back. It was folded up in a folder with lots of experimental pieces I did when I'd signed up for a textiles course that I never finished. I decided to get them out and stick them in the sketch book I started at the same time. I may even add new work to it. Then again I may not!


Chief managed to get down for a few hours yesterday and we all went out for lunch. He bought me one of these:

Appealing Poppy

It was a complete surprise. Apparently after he bought it I announced I'd bought one online. Mine arrived the day before he came down! So when he walked in and saw I'd bought exactly the same one he pulled another box out of his pocket and said: 'Surprise!'.  Mum now has the one I bought and I have the one he bought me. He was going to take his back as I already had one, however, this is the first time ever he bought me jewellery and there was no way he was taking it back! 

I was too tired to sew after he'd left. I think the rib-eye steak and chips followed by a Belgian Waffle dessert (which was covered in chocolate sauce and bananas; with some Mr Whippy style cream on the side.) finished me off - despite sharing it with Chief. I could barely keep awake long enough to watch Homeland!

Today I've pulled fabric for the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.  

Fabric pull

Obviously I'm not intending to use all of this, but with so little true modern Christmas fabric I'm having to think outside the box a bit. I thought if I pulled everything that might work my partner may say she loves or hates something and that will decide me with a design too.

I also pulled out some text fabric scraps for another secret project and wondered if my Bee a Brit Stingy partner would like a few texty scraps in her Secret Santa hamper. Is there anyone who dislikes Text fabric?

Texty scraps

Tomorrow I may stop just playing with fabric and make something. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Two by two

Today I made two of these.

Forgive me the crap photos it's late!

 If you saw the pouches I made yesterday you could be forgiven for thinking that I'm establishing some sort of hand make Ark, and am making two of everything to put in it. The reality is just like yesterday I made one of these for a swap and one for a friend for Christmas. In Bee a Brit Stingy we decided to do a Secret Santa. We all have to make a fabric basket as per the fab Pink Penguin Tutorial and add to this scraps and goodies.  As we're a stingy group (in the nicest possible way you understand!) we have to be frugal and inventive in what we include.  The idea of a mini fabric hamper was so inspired I just had to make one for a friend too.

Excuse the puffy lining. I still haven't sewn up the turn through gap. 

I tried out two different fancy stitches to add some detailing to the handle. You probably can't tell very well from the pictures, but one has joined stars, the other snow flakes.  I was sort of going for a red/aqua theme which always seems Christmassy to me.  It ended up more pink, red and aqua because I'm not exactly blessed with a lot of red fabric.  I think it's nodding to Christmas without being so Christmassy you'd need to put it away the rest of the year. If my Bee a Brit Stingy partner doesn't seem keen I'll have two Christmas presents sorted!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Swap Updates

Well after what feels like forever, I got back behind the sewing machine and did some stitching. But before I show you what I made I have to show you what came in the mail today. My Tote and key fob from the Mouthy Stitches Swap! Wooo Hooo! Lucky Me. I'm especially excited because a few days ago I had an email from my Mama to check that I'd really not received. My partner was concerned the tote had gone astray. I remained optimistic. At times the post service exceeds our expectations and at others it doesn't live up to them. But most stuff gets there in the end.


 It's it fab? The lining was kept a secret because it would have been a bit of a give away it was for me!


I'll try and get some better pictures tomorrow. The key fob has French text on it - very apt with my trip to Paris still to look forward to.

So thanks again to Anne-Marie aka ams2010. I love it!

Completely inspired by this goody in the post I was moved to sew myself.  I made two pouches following Anna of Noodlehead's Pattern.  I used scraps sewn to non-fusible fleece using the QAYG method.  It made sewing the pouches far more time consuming than just using a single piece of fabric for the exterior. But I'm pleased with the result. The hardest bit was boxing the corners as the exterior was quite a bit stiffer than the interior and it kept shifting about as I was trying to measure and mark. I used the same fabric for the linings in both pouches.

The flip sides of the pouches are below.


One is the for my partner in the scrappy swap. Unless she comments in the group she'd rather have something else?! I'm already rethinking the scraps I pulled for her.  The other one is for a secret recipient.

This was the first time I'd used the thread I bought from Empress Mills. I used the white 50wt. The first thing I noticed was despite the coloured spools I ordered being the same size the white one was quite a bit bigger. I don't recall seeing anything on the website about them putting more on the white reels and there was nothing to suggest this on the invoice.


All the coloured spools had stickers on the wrappers. There was nothing on the white wrapper. I'm telling you all this in case I'm actually reviewing a different project than I expected. I'm assuming I'm using the 50.  I am giving a fair review but no I'm not prepared to measure how much is on each of the spools!


I know several people asked me if it was a 'linty' thread. I haven't really been able to judge with this project because whilst my sewing machine was covered in a fair bit of fluff, I was sewing onto fleece which tends to shed a lot.  So I can't honestly say it was the thread.  The thread on the spools does seem more 'fluffy' than Aurifil does.  As for stitching with it I didn't notice any problem with using it throughout this project. I used it for each part of the pouch.  

I will try the other colours and all the threads in different projects and tell you how I get on.

I've just got my partner in a Secret Santa and am very excited to crack on and get making for that. I think the weekend will see me sewing some more!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October Sewing!? What it's November already?!!!

Where did October go to? I seemed to sew up a storm at the start of it which kind of fizzled out when life got in the way towards the end! However, I did manage to make one of the largest quilts I've ever made in three days, along with a whole range of other things. We're not going to dwell on the things I should have done like the October block in the HipBee's. Before you think I'm a complete let down, I'll remind you it was my month as Queen Bee and as Queen Bee I never quite got round to it. I suspect I was perfecting my Queen technique?

Sew Fresh Sewing October

October was my first participation in a Blog Hop.  It was fun to take part.

Monday I delivered the purple cushion to its recipient who I told you about here and here.  It went down a storm. She completely loved it and promptly put it in her own chair and was proudly showing it off to her son who is staying with her at the moment.

As always linking up to Lily's Quilts:  Fresh Sewing Day.

Lily's Quilts

I do have lots of plans for November.  I'm in two swaps. The Scrappy Swap and the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.  I've also agreed to a Secret Santa swap in Bee a Brit Stingy. Already got some ideas in that department.  I've decided there will be limited hand made items as Christmas presents this year. I don't want to just make hand made stuff and inflict it on everyone when they might not be that keen really.  It takes too much time and money to waste my efforts.  It'll also mean I can save some of my ideas for a few of the big birthdays that will be coming up over the next few years. 

What plans do you all have for November sewing?

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