Sunday 30 June 2013

Normal service has now been resumed!

It seems ages since I was last able to post. At first it was due to vast quantities of work needing marking prior to the end of the University year. Then my computer decided to play up by stopping working. To make it even worse it was just before I was due to take part in the 'Stamp on it' blog hop. A couple of emails saw my day altered to tomorrow. Yesterday my son worked his magic on my computer and once again I'm up and running. It is so great to have my own computer support techie.

As it is now the end of June I need to consider how I've done on my June goals.

There is still no movement on my main goal, to complete the top of the swoon quilt. Although the blocks go together easily they are time consuming and I find I get confused if I have to put the work away before the block is finished. I think I will leave this until August when I will be on holiday.

I set out to make a Schnibbles quilt using the Dulcinea pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.
Image of Dulcinea PDF ~ No. 404
This was one of my two NewFO projects for the month. I have finished the top and will quilt this during July I made a few alterations to the outer border as I was using up scraps and ran out of some of the fabric.

I love the pin wheels in this design, as you look at it your attention shifts from the big colourful  ones to the black and grey and finally the light ones. 

My second NewFO was also a small project. I wanted to make a tote bag using some retro 'flower power' fabric I found and fell in love with. 

The pattern was designed by Emma Corbett and Lisa Harper for Buttonberry. The two of them were based in Suffolk in the UK but unfortunately they gave up running Buttonberry a couple of years ago when they both had their first child.

So far I have the front and back made.

The appliqué has been done by hand. The back is just squares. The tote is going to be very quick to finish. I love the fact that with the NewFO challenge you don't have to finish it during the month just start a new project.

Another goal was to quilt my bird quilt. Sadly this hasn't moved at all.

Finally I wanted to work on my cross stitch. This I have been able to do and as I have alternated the two pieces both have moved forward. However I haven't done any cross stitch in the last week.

The Catitudes piece was started as a NewFO in May

I have progressed this far this month.

The millennium sampler has moved forward as well. Here's how it looked at the beginning of June.

I've finished the Santa Maria and almost finished two more squares.

Here's a close up of the area I've been working on.

St Paul's isn't quite finished and there's a lot of outline stitching to do on it.

I am linking this post up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her NewFO linky party and since I have a finish with  Richard's Link a Finish Friday

I hope you had time for some sewing in June. I'm going to plan my projects for July whilst trying to work out exactly where the first half of the year has gone.


Monday 17 June 2013

Pin wheel fun

Although yesterday was Saturday I still had work to do so no sewing time at all but today was different. First I had a lot of cleaning to do as this week was very busy with limited time for housework. Once that was out of the way I set about stitching the pinwheel blocks together for the June schnibbles quilt. I still have the borders to add but I'm pleased with the quilt top so far.

Opps where did Picasso come from? As quickly as he appeared he was gone again. I must try to get some photos of him soon. Here's the quilt top minus the fur baby.

I love that the pattern creates different patterns depending on where you look. I kept worrying that I would sew the blocks together the wrong way but I managed it without any mistakes.

After that it was time to cook dinner and while I did that I took some time out to make a favourite treat of ours The Great Vanishing Malteaser Cake. You can serve this as an after dinner dessert but we tend to eat it as a snack and it vanishes very fast!

You are supposed to wait for it to set but we always end up eating the first slice whilst it is still sticky. Here is the recipe to make this cake.

225 g digestive biscuits, crushed
125 g margarine or butter
225 g Malteasers
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
Chocolate to cover

1. Melt the butter or margarine and syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.

2.  Remove from the heat and add crushed digestive biscuits and whole malteasers and mix well.

3.  Press the mixture into a well-oiled baking tray and cover with melted chocolate.

4. Cut into small pieces and watch as it magically disappears.

This recipe is from a cookbook called Bread and Justice which is a book of favourite recipes from the Iona Community Centres. The Iona Community is an ecumenical Christian community of women and men who seek to live out the Gospel in a way that is radical, inclusive and relevant to life in the 21st century. You can find out more about the community here Two or three years ago members of our church went on a week retreat there including my husband John. Unfortunately I couldn't go as I had work commitments. Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland renown for its tranquillity and natural beauty. 

Finally today I did a little more work on my cattitude cross stitch. I have done a little work on this piece most nights this week but it is very slow going as there is no area of one particular colour.  The areas of white and very light grey fade into the background fabric in the photo. As I finished for the evening I put this away until next week and swapped in my millennium sampler. I was hoping to get some of my hand quilting done on my holiday quilt but unfortunately I ran out of thread and no where local stocks it. Oh dear I shall have to visit my favourite quilt and needle craft shop this week!

I'm linking this post with Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching. Although my stitching today wasn't all hand stitching it was a very relaxed experience. This was an extra sewing day as my older daughter had been planning to visit for Father's Day but was unfortunately unwell so I was able use the time for stitching. Unexpected sewing days are always most welcome.

I hope you had some time for the things you wanted to do this weekend.


Wednesday 12 June 2013

A slow stitching week.

I can't believe that it's been a whole week since I last posted. I'm going to blame it on the weather. When the weather is good what can you do but spend time outside?  I'm also trying to reorganise the house and sort out the storage which means less time for stitching.

I have done some of my sampler. I like to sit and stitch whilst watching TV. At the moment there are several good history documentaries that I recorded and so time for slow stitching. This was what it looked like last Sunday.

I was hoping to finish the Santa Maria including the back stitching. I managed to do that and got quite a way through the next square.

I'm very pleased with my progress. This week I am reverting to the Cattitude cross stitch.

One of my goals for June was to make the June Schnibbles quilt. This is the pattern.

I'm continuing to use up all my scraps to make these schnibbles and for this one I'm using colours that are suitable for a boy. I've got all the individual blocks pieced and now need to sew them into the  pin wheels. There are 16 pin wheels and in the pattern each pin wheel is different as it is made with charm squares. I'm using scrap and had enough to make four pin wheels from each fabric. I love the grey jigsaw fabric.

I have the fabric to start my June NewFO and I have decided what I am making for the 'Stamp on it' hop that starts on June 26th. 

This last weekend we went to visit my uncle Terry and his wife Yvonne. They live further north in the country near Crewe which is approximately 190 to 200 miles away. We had a really lovely weekend which included visiting Tatton Park and finding out about my family history as Yvonne has been researching it for some time. Terry is my father's youngest brother and not only does he look a lot like my father did but he also has the same sense of humour. I'm hoping some of the photos I took on my phone are in focus when I upload them to the computer.

I'm linking this post with Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.

I hope you've had some time for stitching recently


Monday 3 June 2013

Slow stitching Sunday and a little cutting

Yesterday was a lovely lazy day. It started late and the first activity was to take Scamp for a walk. He loves his walks and although he is a small dog would love to do a three or four mile walk every day. He also loves longer walks but I have to watch he doesn't over tire himself or stretch any ligaments or over use joints especially in his hips. Today we went to Wandsworth Common, one of two commons in walking distance from our house. The circuit from our house, round the common and back is about four and a half miles. As we were walking back we realised that Scamp was eager for more but both John and I were tired having not done much walking recently because of all the rain.

After a couple of small jobs the day was mine so I started by cutting some of my scraps into useful sized pieces. This was some of my fabric for child related projects. I have a pattern in mind but there is still lots of cutting involved. I love the pirate and the 'wild thing' fabric. Oh dear I must take some time out to give my cutting mat a little tender loving care.

I must admit to spending lots of time stroking my fabric stash and trying to reach a decision as to which new project to start. So many choices!

After dinner it was time to settled down to some hand stitching and this week I have been working on my Catitude cross stitch.  I managed to finish up the cat's tail and add the back stitching. I'm pleased with the way it is coming. The fabric is all creased as I had just removed it from the embroidery hoop. The tail is all stitched so the white parts are actually white cross stitches

I decided that I was going to alternate my stitching pieces so I am putting this one away until next week and it it's place I will work on my millennium cross stitch sampler. This was a Christmas present from my husband in 1999 and is my oldest UFO.

At least I have done over half of it. I'm hoping I really will finish it this year. I'm going to try and finish the section in the centre at the bottom, Discovery of the New World. There isn't much left to do on this except the back stitching so I should be able to start on the next square or do some more of the back stitching on the scrolls.

Alternating the pieces should mean that I continue to enjoy working on the pieces and so I will get them finished more quickly.

I'm linking this post with Slow Sunday Stitching over at  Kathy's Quilts.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy some stitching time today.


Sunday 2 June 2013

June Goals

 Never Too Hot to Stitch!

May was a good month for getting things done even though I thought I wouldn't finish any of my goals. It seems the only one that didn't get done was my swoon quilt, all other goals were  completed. I've spent a little time deciding what to do this month and also planning ahead as I will be busy with other things during August so I'm trying not to plan any stitching in then.

My swoon blocks must be my main priority. This is for a wedding anniversary present in July and I still only have three blocks done.

All the fabric is cut, with each block in its own zip lock bag so I haven't got to sort things to get started. I've even sewn the flying geese for some of the blocks but I just didn't fancy working on it last month.

Goal 2 will be to have my stamp mini quilts or mug rugs ready for the Stamp on it blog hop at the end of June. 

Goal 3 is to quilt my bird quilt that I made last month. The quilt sandwich is all made and so it's ready for quilting.

Goal 4 is to continue working on the quilting of my Holiday quilt. I've so far quilted 2 of the 49 blocks so a little way to go.

Goal 5 is my NewFO project for the month. I can't make up my mind which to start so this will be a surprise even for me!

Goal 6 is to make the schnibbles quilt for the month which is Dulcinea.

This looks a really cute pattern and finishes at 32 x 32 inches. 

Goal 7 is my final goal and that is to work on my embroidery each week. This week I've been working on this pattern.

I'm going to try alternating the pieces. So I will work on this one tonight and show you my progress to date in my next post . I'll then work on a different piece for the next week. That will stop me getting bored. Although I love embroidery of all types I get bored because it never seems to grow very fast. 

I'm linking this post with the goal setting post at Melissa's blog Sew Bittersweet Designs. I'm also linking with 2013 The year of the finished project but that link doesn't open until Thursday so I'll add the link then. 

I've already taken Scamp for a four mile walk this morning (Scamp is the Yorkie in my header) and I don't need to think about dinner yet so I'm going to spend a little time with my fabric stash deciding what to use for that Schnibble. The last two I've made from my scrap basket but now I'm running low on scraps.

I hope you have some sewing time today.


Saturday 1 June 2013

Art and cake.

Last Sunday we visited the Lichtenstein retrospective at the Tate Modern in London. This was a huge exhibition of 125 pieces of his work. The art work was great but by the end I was exhausted.

This is the Tate Modern's banner for the exhibition. The exhibition covered his work from the early 1960's until his death. Many of the works on view were extremely well known but some, particularly those painted in the years before his death were new to me. The works had been drawn from galleries around the world and private collections

 Lichtenstein exhbition banner, Tate Modern

Some of the pieces seemed a little worse for wear but this was because of the materials he used. Being different and trying new approaches means you don't know how long things will last. The exhibition also included some of his sculptures and I had never seen any of these before. I was fascinated by his nude paintings and even more so when I read how he made them. Most artists would have a nude model to draw from life but he started with the comic strip pictures and drew how he thought they would look undressed.

As always with art it is about what you like and I like his work. I read some of the reviews in the press. The more up market press felt his work is over rated and should have stayed part of the pop art era whilst the rest thought it a great exhibition. The public visiting seemed to really enjoy it and left a lot of very positive feedback. I loved the exhibition and I'm really pleased we got to see it. As always we left it rather late, going on Sunday when it was finishing the following day.

Unfortunately for copyright reasons I'm not posting any art work but if you want to view his work there are lots of images available you just need to go to Google. Meanwhile I have the huge exhibition catalogue which contains photos of all the work on display. There is also a lot of reading in it but I think that will have to wait until I have more time.

So where did the cake come into this. Well I had decided to make a cake when I got home from the exhibition but it was so crowded and took such a long time to see it all that by the time we got home I was worn out. Therefore I put the cake on hold until today. Barbara from Cat Patches made this cake - Baileys Chocolate Chip Cheesecake  at the beginning of May and I have been meaning to try the recipe since then. I halved all the quantities since there are currently only three of us at home and the cake is for 12. I can report it is very good. Sorry no photos, only remembered after we had eaten quite a bit of it. To see the recipe and Barbara's cake click on Cat Patches earlier in this paragraph. You'll need to scroll down the page a little to find it.

So now I'm feeling very full and need to sit down and decide my goals for June. I have an urge to start a new large project!

I hope you've had a good Saturday.