Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Not One But Two Good Mail Days

Good mail days have been a bit few and far between around here of late. So it was a lovely surprise to get home from a grotty Monday at work yesterday and find this was waiting for me:


Hadley made a stack of these to sell at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and I'd hoped to get one. Only one minute I was sat taking a picture of her being mobbed by keen fob wanting clients and the next minute she was empty handed. So I missed out. Being the lovely Hadley that she is she sent me one. Isn't it lovely?Completely the sort of colours I love. As well as a key fob I think this would make a great wrist strap for a pocket sized point and shoot camera as the wrist straps are rarely very substantial.

Post Retreat I may have been too exhausted to sew as much as I'd liked, but it didn't stop me plotting and when I saw an advert on facebook saying that Lush had been reprinted and The Fat Quarter Shop had some in, I toddled off to place an order. The Fat Quarter Shop had been a FQR sponsor and in our goody bags we had a 20% off voucher. It seemed like fate.  I placed an order and thought I'd have to wait a few weeks for it to arrive. Whilst letters come pretty quickly from the US parcels seem to take a bit more time. So it was a BIG surprise to get home from work today and find my order had arrived. Including the weekend I think it took five days!?

365-211 30 July 2013
Half Yards of Lush Reprint, Happy Go Lucky and some of the new Briar Rose by Heather Ross

Some Bonnie and Camille pre cuts, Winters Lane Charm Pack and a yard of HR fabric

Apart from the Lush which was a: Don't-want-to-miss-out-on-that-again purchase. I have plans for all the other fabrics. 

In addition I ordered some wadding after reading this post and that arrived today. Despite feeling like I maybe getting a cold or lurgy I may just manage to get my vintage sheet quilt basted!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Oh we do like to Bee beside the seaside!

Blocks for Sheila

In Bee a Brit Stingy this month Sheila asked us for ribbon blocks in beachy colours: oranges, blues, aquas and pops of acid green.  At first I'd thought I had nothing in my stash that fit the bill, but it's amazing what you find when you have a rummage.  I left out the acid green because faced with all my greens I couldn't decide when acid green became lime or any of the other shades you may care to think of.  The Neptune and Mendocino add a bit of literal seaside theme to it. As does the texty LV fabric at the corners which goes on about foody fun you just might have at the seaside. Lobster,crabs and clambake anyone?

I've had to take the pics inside at time of writing as it's actually raining here!

And is it just me that went to the Retreat and came back bursting to sew and create? Now if I didn't just feel quite so tired...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Vintage Sheet Redux

Do you remember this post, way back when? I'd been in the vintage sheet swap organised by vintage sheet aficionado Mary and had failed miserably at finding any vintage sheets in the charity shops around here. Luckily Helen came to my rescue and provided a sheet for me.  I had no idea how many fat quarters of sheeting I should expect or how lovely they'd be. Once they'd arrived I couldn't help but cut and start sewing.

Somewhere along the way I rang out of sheeting and despite Mary offering to help me out with a vintage sheet for backing. I just didn't get my act together sufficiently to work out the size my quilt was going to be. Then a while back I did get my act together and contacted Mary with a shopping list. Demanding Moi? Anyway, Mary was super helpful and said if she could she'd bring my order along to the Retreat.  Luckily for me she did as it's the first thing I've wanted to get on with finishing.

Vintage Sheet stuff to finish my Vintage Sheet Quilt
My order from Mary

I'd always had it mind that I'd have a summer quilt on my bed that I'd snuggle under when it was too hot for a duvet, but not quite hot enough to go sans covers. Since this heat wave has started I've been sleeping under the duvet cover, with a quilt nearby, just in case it gets colder in the mornings. This quilt should hopefully solve that problem.

  Vintage Sheet Quilt

I haven't enough batting to baste and get on with sewing the quilt. I have now ordered some, so hopefully before too long it'll be on my bed.  Because I couldn't get on with finishing this quilt top I set about turning some of the left over bits of sheeting into 2.5" squares.

2.5" squares cut from left over scraps

In next to no time at all I'd whipped up a cushion cover top. It's not easy to get the small pieces to line up as the sheeting's are a mixture of poly cotton and cotton in varying amounts so some tend to stretch and pull more than others. Once it's quilted I think I think it'll be perfect and I'm already thinking I'll have enough of the quilt backing sheet left over to make the cushion back.

Vintage Sheet Cushion WIP

Inspired to want to make your own vintage quilt goodies? Head on over to Mary's shop.

Looking for my Give Away for those that didn't attend FQR13 pop along here.

Friday, 26 July 2013

FQR13: Part 4 - Didn't go to the Retreat? Give Away Time

Many of you, especially those who did not attend the FQR for whatever reason, are probably fed up to the back teeth of posts going on about all the people we met, all the fun we had, all the stuff we learnt and all the goodies we got over last weekend. I really can't believe the weekend started a week ago already!

I sort of feel I need to get fully over it and do it all again, only this time making sure I get to talk to all the people I either didn't meet, but wanted to or the ones I said 'Hi' too but didn't get a chance to catch up with properly.  In fact I definitely hope I don't have to wait another year to meet up with bloggy folk.

So I now have a give away for all those people that didn't get to go. I'm putting together a little mini goody bag. It's got some randomly drawn items (by my Mum) from my own FQR goody bag plus some other bits and pieces I'll add to it over the course of the weekend. There will be scraps for sure.

sharing the love 
Mum was told to not look and pic 5 randomly shaped items from my FQR goody bag. 
The thread is Aurifil Floss

To enter you need to have NOT attended the retreat this year. Just mention in the comments you didn't go and would like to enter.  It doesn't matter where you live either as the FQR was open to anyone, anywhere and I know people attended from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America and all over Europe, as well as the UK. I do have to be able to contact you so if you're a no-reply blogger make sure you leave an email address or something in your comments.

Winners will be announced a week from today.  Now I need to go stitch. The Retreat completely rejuvenated my need to sew. In fact stuff that happened at FQR has totally made me re-evaluate what I want to be doing sewing wise in the future. Not least is seeing if I can create a proper sewing area.

Give  away now closed!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

FQR13: Part 3 - The Swag Post!

Chief got down on Monday night and Tuesday I tried to show him my FQR swag. To say he was not interested was a bit of an understatement. He actually asked: "But what are you going to do with all this sh**". To which I pulled a face and thought I'd best share it all with you who can appreciate a spot of sewing related shopping!

When we arrived in London on Friday and had dumped our bags at the hotel we headed off to Shaukat for a spot of Liberty shopping. Now I was familiar with Shaukat already because I'd perused their website on many an occasion and if you want to buy Liberty and are happy choosing online, the website is a few pounds cheaper than the shop. Not often getting the treat of being in a real live bricks and mortar fabric shop I wasn't prepared for the gorgeousness I was presented with. I wandered around stroking bolts of the various Liberty substrates not knowing what to buy. The others commented I looked close to having a melt down from the shear loveliness of it all. Thankfully they sell oddments and off cuts and I could indulge my Liberty love by buying a few pieces.  As an added incentive I'm going to crack on with the PJ shorts from Kerry's class and when I've perfected the pattern with old sheets, I'll be treating myself to some lawn to make some for real.

When I stopped having a melt down at Shaukats I did buy some Liberty
And before you ask I do have plans for this ;-)

On arrival at Baden Powell House we were all given bulging goody bags. The Sponsors were incredibly generous. Not only was their practical things like mini charm packs, fat quarters of fabric, a spool of Aurifil floss and various other bits and pieces. There were also assorted vouchers including £5 off at Oakshott and 20% off at the Fat Quarter Shop. I may have used both vouchers at time of typing...

FQR goody bag
The green bag at the bottom was full of Pat Bravo Scraps. There was a lot in there!

Over the course of the day various people passed me envelopes of fabric I'd pre-ordered.  From Fluffy Sheep Quilting I got some fabric destined for bag making. I picked the Aurifil up from her at the Saturday night Quilt Market too.

Goodies from Fluffy Sheep Quilting

Then Mary and I had been arranging for me to get the vintage sheeting materials from her so that I can finish the vintage sheet quilt I started when there was a vintage sheet quilt swap.

Vintage Sheet stuff to finish my Vintage Sheet Quilt
Oh I love the purple sheet for the backing!

I still can't believe how restrained I was at Quilt Market. One fat quarter, a chacopen, and a fat 8th bundle of Oakshott. I can see me ending up wanting to use Oakshott a lot in the future. I already have ideas for this bundle.
Quilt Market Purchases

The other thing I bought at Quilt Market was one of Krista's camera straps. I just got back from dinner in time to bag one.  I'd seen these on Flickr and when she mentioned she could bring some if there was any interest I was all over it!

A PoppyPrint Camera Strap
Even Chief liked this. Before adding 'for a girl'. 
Result!! (he won't be trying to pinch it!)

So that is the swag post. I think I may have forgotten something but all the pictures are in my FQR 2013 flickr set.

I know what I've forgotten! How could I? Sample Swap.

Sample Swap Goodies!

Catherine made the cushion cover, Reene the lovely FQR 2013 hoop and MochaWildChild, the lovely mini quilt. Below is MochaWildChild with her Sample Swap Goodies.

Mocha Wild Child and her Sample Swap Goodies

So that was FQR13 for me. I'll be back with one more FQR13 post and then I'll shut up about it!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

FQR13: Part 2 Saturday & Sunday

So I'm back with another Retreat instalment. Saturday morning I had Free Motion Quilting with Trudi. Other than some pretty bad stippling I've never done any FMQ. I really wanted to know some tips and tricks so I could go home and practice on my own machine and not spend ages scratching my head sort of knowing where I was going wrong, but not know how to put it right.  Trudi told us a lot about thread, needles and the need to practice, practice, practice. I shall certainly be doing the latter.  I also (and I wasn't the only one) didn't realise that it's ok and actually preferable if your stitches are not too big.

Trudi's FMQ in the main room.
The Main Hall where everyone was learning to FMQ

Trudi suggested if we didn't like to use gloves, then sections of the stuff to make shelves non slip (you know for glasses) was ideal as you got the grip without hot sweaty hands. Or in Thrifty's case below: sweaty paws.

Thrifty was better at FMQ than me!
Thrifty was better at FMQ than me!

Some simple shapes were a bit easier than others. I couldn't do the 'c' shapes for some reason. I'll be doing lots of practice though.
I need a lot of practice. These are my squiggly hearts 

I was quite pleased with my hearts.

I was meant to be doing Trapunto in the afternoon. I arrived at 1.30pm only to find since looking at the board before lunch, they'd split the class into two sections and I wasn't required until 3pm. Other people had already left by that stage to go shopping or do other stuff and I felt a bit like a spare part on my own. I had a walk around Kensington and contemplated a trip to the V&A. But it was a bit to hot and stuffy. So I ended up going back to my hotel room. I think it's really good they have a feed back thread on flickr because through the course of the weekend I did wonder about people that had come alone, not knowing anyone and how easy it would have been for them to mix in. Especially if they were shy.  I never did make it back for Trapunto...

Baden Powell House where FQR 2013 was held
Baden Powell House where FQR 2013 was held!

I had sample swap at 4.30pm so headed back to BP house and the roof terrace - where most of the socialising went on for the whole weekend. I can't show you my sample swap items yet because I've not photographed them. 

Quilt Market was taking place and a quiz. I missed the quiz as I went along to dinner early, so I could be back in time for the raffle. I met some lovely people to have dinner with.  We went to a Moroccan restaurant. I'd never been to a Moroccan restaurant before and I really enjoyed the food.  I wasn't very hungry by this stage because the exhaustion of the weekend and the feeling of general unwellness had been kicking in since lunch time. It was still fun though.

Dinner on Saturday Night

One thing I loved about the retreat was meeting different people. These were just such a lovely bunch and they let me tag along, even though only Katy knew me before. 

I had been looking forward to quilt market all day.  However, when I finally got there just before the raffle I was so tired I struggled to buy anything. I know! I will show you in another post what I did get. I'm still kicking myself I missed out on getting Lu Summers Improv book. Still it's on my wish list on Amazon. I only have to wait until September for it to be released!

The Raffle was cool - even though I didn't win anything. The sponsors had been incredibly generous especially Aurifil and Liberty.

A lucky winner in the Raffle
John handing out a prize. See the blue bag. Full of raffle prizes. 
Seriously good stuff!

After the Raffle Katy and I headed back to our room so Katy could bind one of two quilts she needed to finish before the next day, as she was handing over the quilts to someone else.  I admire her staying power - machine binding until the early hours of Sunday morning!!!!

Katy at stupid O'clock in our hotel room binding one of two quilts that needed to be finished before Sunday!
Katy burning the midnight oil

It was a great chance to see her Strip Tease Stitch Tease quilt. It has so many great details to it. 

Katy with her stitch tease bee quilt

Katy showed me all the fabulous details

"Hey" said Jack. "It's me on the back of the bike...
Jack was pretty impressed some of the most important 
details had been included in the quilt

Whilst chatting I checked my mobile and discovered a message to say my cousins husband had died. It wasn't totally unexpected, but it was sad news and all the more stressy as it was too late for me to ring and get more details or offer any support to my cousin, who I am very close to. 

I still wasn't asleep at 3.15 am. There had been a party in the mews by the hotel which had stopped by then, but had left me feeling over tired and exhausted and reflective because of more sad news. When I woke up...early... I felt really ill and there was no way I was going to make it into my last table top session with Lu Summers. I was bummed about that as I'd spoken to Lu several times on Friday in the upstairs corridor and really took to her - SOOOOO funny. I knew her table top session was going to be a lot of fun and I couldn't believe I missed out on her book and her class!

I had breakfast alone, which I struggled to eat, checked out of the Grange and sat for the morning in the Grange lounge and made like a zombie. I remember feeling bored, but too tired to do anything. I think other guests came in stared briefly then went on with their business.  It's all a bit of a blur now.

So if you wondered why I didn't come say good bye or looked for me on Sunday morning, I didn't make it to Baden Powell House at all. It was a bit of a flat way to end the weekend, but really at the time I could barely function so I had little choice.

I hope if you went it was good for you. I am only sorry there wasn't more time for me to chat to more people.

My next post will be about the stuff I bought or was given. Yes, there really is enough to fill a whole post and I was being restrained!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

FQR13: Part 1 Thursday and Friday

This is probably going to be a long, rambling photo heavy post. Look away now if you want!

The FQR weekend for me started on Thursday when Katy my roomy for the Retreat came to stay.  She turned up needing to bake cookies as her Mum had stolen the ones she'd made to take along to the Retreat. I tell you putting the fan oven on in my tiny kitchen in the heat of Thursday nearly cooked me, but how could I refuse when she said I could lick one of the bowls out?

365-199 20 July 2013
A batch of white choc, cranberry and macadamia cookies

Friday we made good time into London. Dropped off our luggage and decided to head off for some shopping which deserves a post of it's own, along with other FQR swag. I got to meet my first 'new person' as Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting was there just at the right time for us all to go. Cindy had brought fabric for me I'd pre ordered and it was so cool to finally meet her.

The retreat reception was a little overwhelming. So many people, machines, suitcases bundled into one room with lots of excited chatter. It was a great time to meet bloggy friends in person and other people too.

Trudi completely delighted with Thrifty
Katy makes the most wonderful bears and here is a bear 
she made as it got handed over to a delighted Trudi

My first class was learning to make PJ pants. I've been nervous of dressmaking having made a skirt years ago which went really well, giving me the false impression you could just take a pattern and fabric and voilà you'd have an item a clothing that fitted perfectly every time. After a lot of further attempts resulting in wasted fabric and effort I was nervous of attempting to make clothes.  Kerry was brilliant at restoring confidence. Explaining stuff that was often actually obvious, but I'd not thought of it by myself.  I didn't have any expectation of finishing an item in the time. Which was as well because somewhere in that class I hit a wall of fatigue and I wasn't the only one!

PJ Class at the end
I only took the photo at the end, as previously there were 
a lot of ladies in their knickers trying on pj bottoms!

It was also in this class as I sat at the back of the room looking at people in front of me it suddenly hit me that all my friends: The ones that up until then, only lived inside my computer, were actually there in the flesh. It was a little surreal and perfectly wonderful at the same time.

Show and tell was next. So much talent up on the terrace.  A chance to meet up with so many people who either follow my blog or I follow theirs or I know through flickr.  My camera was out the whole time there was just so much to see and I'm sure I still missed stuff. A little overwhelming. I can't believe some of the beautiful quilts being handed over for the charity Siblings Together. It was heart warming to know these children are going to be able to own such a special treasure.

Susan, Jo and Katy hurry to finish a Siblings Together Quilt
Susan, Jo and Katy bind a quilt super fast to hand it over to Siblings Together

Everyone admiring Susan's Brit Bee Birthday Present
Susan's Brit Bee buddies surprised her with the most fab birthday gift of a hand made quilt. Having met quite a few of the Brit Bee ladies this weekend I can doubly see why everyone wants into that Bee. They're all so lovely and friendly.

Some of my Fellow Bee a Brit Stingy with the quilt they helped me make
This is my first ever completed Bee Quilt made from blocks made by 
the Bee a Brit Stingy Bee. It's my new favourite quilt and I'm so glad I got to meet some of the Bee ladies and show them the quilt.

Sarah's Gorgeous Hip Bee's Quilt Top
Sarah's HipBee Quilt.
I am still to finish my hipbee quilt but I now have a plan for the lovely blocks I got.

Catherine's Hip Bee Quilt
Catherine's HipBee Quilt

What does this say?
I loved this quilt. All those pretty letters!

This was gorgeous!
I'd admired this quilt on Flickr. It's even more gorgeous in the flesh.

I took so many more pictures but I will leave you to find them on flickr and not bore you too much here.  

Friday night I'd been invited along to the dinner that Susan put together. It was noisy and fun with a great menu.  So nice to be included - thank you Susan.

Friday night dinner at The Med Kitchen
Nearly 40 attendees having dinner and fun at The Med Kitchen.

Tomorrow I am back to work. I've had a couple of day's leave booked off to recover from the inevitable fatigue. It may be some time before I'm back to normal though!

Monday, 22 July 2013

And Flop

I'm back from FQR 2013. I am still knackered, mushy in the head and trying to process the weekend. 

  And flop
My living room floor at bed time when I'd started to unpack
 before I decided sleep was preferable

So here is a brief recap in case I don't manage to blog about it any further.  The good stuff: meeting up with bloggy friends, making new friends, shopping excursions, sample swap and the two classes I attended. The bad stuff: getting ill, finding a message on my phone Saturday night about a family bereavement and the complete lack of sleep from Thursday night through the whole weekend.

Now I'm going back to have another flop. Hope if you went it was good for you too!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sample Swap Stuff Completed

Those not going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat are probably sick of hearing about it already. I do understand. Last year I didn't get to go. I was one of 4 people in my little online stitchy circle that didn't get to go. Or at least that's what it felt like it. I loved hearing all about the Retreat, but there was a part of me that really wished I was part of it. Every day for the past week Chief has been asking me if I'm excited yet. Or more excited. I keep saying yes, tell him about the prep work so far (or lack of it) and always mention I'm sorry about all the people that can't go. All the people that I won't get to meet.

I have completed all my sample swap items. I chose to make two smaller items and despite starting these months ago it was only today in the garden I got them finished.

Fabric Brooches

In case any of you wonder what they are. They are fabric brooches. They have Liberty, felt, dyed scrim, organza and a few other bits thrown into the mix and they're meant to be sort of stylised flowers. They are now tucked inside the key chain clutches and wrapped in my suitcase. I had been making four so I could have one but that just wasn't going to happen in time for the retreat!

Sample Swap Stuff Good to Go

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not the lights of an oncoming train about to run me over!  

Monday, 15 July 2013

Snowy waits

I had these grand plans that the retreat prep would all be finished by the end of play yesterday. Needless to say I donned another bikini and then read two books instead. I did get this finished Friday night. It's a completely quick low volume improv block to quilt in Lu's table top quilting session. It's the suitable size for a small cushion and if it all works out ok I have a recipient in mind already.


I made the mistake of letting Snowy know we were having company.  He wanted to know why the linen in the spare bedroom was being changed.  Stupidly I told him Jack was coming to stay and he's been watching out for him ever since. Every time I pass by he asks if he's here yet. Being a polar bear he's finding the heat a bit much.  I haven't the heart to tell him Jack is much smaller, but altogether more the bear about town than he is. I have a feeling Snowy may never be the same again.

Snowy waits impatiently

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Remains of Today

So here I am sat on the sofa at 20:40 in my bikini savouring the warmth and wondering if we are at last going to have a decent summer. I've been out in the garden for most of the day.  I decided that I would intersperse outside time with getting some more retreat prep done. I actually did a fair bit on Friday but the pictures I took were rubbish so I need to re do before I share with you here.

The Remains of Today

So I took this pile of stuff out in the garden and decided to cut enough material for key chain clutches by Michelle Patterns.  I am doing two small items for the sample swap. The other items were started ages ago but not finished.  I said as I was making a small item I'd make a key fob too. As I've seen other people with they type of fobs I was going to make as 'extras' with their sample swap item and someone else is selling the same fob type at quilt market, I decided to have a rethink and have a go at this pattern for the first time.


As these are so small - key ring sized. (Just room for a lipstick and a hankie) they were quite fiddly to make and I could have made a bag in the time it took to make these.  Some may wonder why I didn't choose making a bag for my sample swap item.  Well when it came to sign ups a lot of people had already specified bags so I thought I should pick something different.

I went for guardsmen ribbon to hold the key ring bit as I thought that would be a nod to London where the FQ Retreat is being held.  

In between doing these I also managed to start and finish my book group choice. 

The Remains of the Day

I had read this years ago and as a notorious non-re-reader I had wondered how I'd fair trying to read it again. As it was it was devoured in a few hours. Definitely one to read if you've not already. 

Time for a cuppa now and maybe to put some clothes on!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Officially Excited.

It doesn't matter how far behind I am with Retreat preparation. It doesn't matter how far behind I am with housework. (I promise I'll try and do some before Thursday Katy!) Today my Fat Quarterly name badge arrived.  It's official. In a weeks time Katy will be here. We'll be nattering and only a few hours away from the retreat. I am now officially excited.  The badge has made it feel much more of a reality.

But enough waffle you want to see the lovely badge from Jennie at Jennie's Threads don't you?

My lovely new name badge

It even has a lanyard - squeeeeeee!

Fabulously mini hexies, gorgeous embroidery and my real name plus my alias. 

My lovely new name badge

And of course I had to wear it in the garden for a bit this afternoon.

Me with my lovely retreat badge!

You'll be pleased to know I put it safely away before I started the bbq I'd decided to do for my niece when she dropped by after school. I have decided to leave all bbq-ing to Chief in future. He does it so effortlessly. I on the other hand got through two disposable bbqs and wasted quite a few sausages in order to cremate a burger for my niece. I tell you it's more by good luck than good management that the garden wasn't ablaze! Still she seemed happy and it was sunny so all is good.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


I had a bit of a panic earlier when my brother mentioned how close it is to his family holiday in Cyprus as that is the same time as the retreat and I'm still no more organised than I was the other week when I blogged about this! This hot weather has drawn me outside, then Chief got down on Sunday and today I had a funeral.  I may be going radio silent until the retreat so I can er...get my stuff sorted. You know essentials like finishing my sample swap items, preparing for classes etc.

Everything's rosey

And as I don't like blogging without a picture here's one of a lovely rose that's just flowering in my garden.

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