Wednesday 28 May 2014

Strip-easy Challenge

Grab button for Pieced Brain

Denise over at Pieced Brain is running a linky party today with the challenge of making something from left over strips. Now I don't know about you but I have a lot of scraps and recently I set about cutting them into usable pieces.

By the time I had finished I had 3 plastic boxes of strips in widths from 1 inch to 3 inches. I also had a range of squares from 11/2 inch to 5 inches. Now all I needed to do was get my sewing machine fired up to get my project made.

My charm squares are going to be used by my Brownie pack to make some quilts for sick children. They want to make the quilts for girls so I decided to make a baby quilt for a boy. I decided to use some charm squares I had cut but also a lot of the strips..

Unfortunately I had to take the photo in doors as it was raining (again). The quilt is 33 by 40 inches. All the charms squares and strips have been cut from my scrap fabric. I had some strips of the sashing fabric but had to buy some more as I wanted to use the same fabric for the back and binding The batting is 80:20 and it is quilted with an all over large meander. This is a really quick baby quilt to make. The slowest part was cutting my scraps into strips.

I have made a strip baby quilt before but that was made from a jelly roll. Those pre-
cuts do cut down the preparation time. For this quilt I used the off cuts of the strips to make a rainbow binding.

I have a lot more strips to use up. I shall be making a couple more baby quilts to go to Project Linus.

Thank you Denise for running this challenge as it has made me sort out my scraps and make something useful from them. The next quilts will be much quicker to make as all the cutting has been done.

Why not visit Pieced Brain to see what other people have made with their strips. As I still have a lot of strips I'm interested in getting more ideas.


Monday 26 May 2014

A weekend away

This weekend John and I headed out of London for a little relaxation, 'me time' and walking in Kent. We had booked an hotel in Folkestone which is a coastal town on the English Channel. You can see the french coast quite clearly as this point is the the narrowest part of the channel. The town is an odd mix and is trying to reinvent itself. It used to have a busy ferry terminal but with the channel tunnel this has stopped. The town was due to start redevelopment  but the economic recession has put this back. However having said all that we enjoyed our weekend and everyone was so friendly . 

Saturday was our explore Folkestone day. John had already checked the internet to see if there was a quilt shop so the first thing we decided to do was find the shop. We managed to misread the map at first but eventually found it. Kathy's Patch had a great range of fabric. 

I wanted some fat quarters for use in a couple of projects. John bought me the FQ bundle which has English florals. These will be used in my Austen Family Album quilt.

The pansy and tulip fabric is for use in Lucy's grandmother's garden quilt. The remaining 4 are for projects not yet started.

I also got this lovely bunny fabric. Hannah our young leader at Guides is going to university in September and I want to make her a quilt. I love the sentiments on this fabric, 'cherish the moments' and 'follow your dreams'. I haven't finalised the design yet but this fabric will be somewhere in the quilt. An odd group of fabrics for me as the colours are quite muted but I like them all.

As we walked back in the town center along the Leas we watched a man with a beautiful German Shepard. The dog was so well trained and we stood and watch. I wish Scamp was half as well trained! We got talking to the man and had a fascinating conversation with him about his life and how his first job when he was 14 was as an apprentice poacher. Not something you see on many CV's

The Leas are the town's promenade but rather than along the shoreline it is on the cliff above. It is a pleasant walk with gardens and band stand and great views across the sea. We spent several hours walking around obviously stopping for coffee and lunch. We spent some time down by the harbour. I took this photo of the back part of the harbour but the tide was out.

Oophs I had to trim some of the photo off as I had my finger over part of the lens. I forgot to take my camera with me so was using my phone.

We just had to have a ride on the lift. The cliff lift is a water balanced funicular which opened in 1885. It is still the original lift that is in daily use. The lift has two cars connected by a rope over a wheel at the top. When the brake is released the top car's water tank is filled with water that makes it heavier than the bottom car so it descends and pulls the other car to the top Once at the bottom the water is released from the reservoir and pumped back to the top reservoir ready to be reused. It was a fun ride.

The weekend was supposed to be very wet but the only time it rained we were in  the Lavendar Tea Rooms enjoying afternoon tea. I had scone with jam and cream and John enjoyed a slice of delicious carrot cake. They had an amazing range of teas and I chose Formosa Oolong Orange Blossom tea. It was really citrus tasting and very refreshing. I would have bought a pack of it but they had sold out. Never mind with the aid of the internet I will soon have some to enjoy at home.

Towards the end of the day we walked along Sunny Sand beach. Everyone had gone home and the wind was a little blowy but the sand was fun.

Towards the back of the beach were large stones that were covered in algae and seaweed. I just loved the brilliant green. The stones also created pools but we didn't find very much in them.

For dinner we got some take out fish and chips and sat overlooking the harbour to eat them. The fish was really fresh and delicious. Whenever we go away we like to have fish and chips, not sure why but it has become a bit of a tradition.

On Sunday we drove to Dungeness as there was a walk we wanted to do. Dungeness is a headland on the Kent coast formed mostly by a shingle beach. It is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe and is classified as Britain's only desert as it is very dry and lacks surface vegetation. It is also important as an international conservation area. 

As you can see it is very flat. The black tower in the middle of the picture is the old lighthouse and in the background is its other claim to fame, the nuclear power station

This was taken standing in the same place but facing the other way and is looking out towards the sea. If you can work out where the sea meets the sky you are doing better than I did.

The first two miles of the walk was along the shingle beach which left my legs feeling shaky. The walk then went through the RSPB nature reserve where we were lucky enough to see 9 hobbys.


The last part of the walk was again over shingle again very tiring and not what you want at the end. Still it had been a good walk of 8 miles. In total over the weekend we clocked up 22 miles of walking.

I didn't take any sewing with me this weekend. Instead I took my sketchbook and had fun with that. This was a me (and John) weekend, no work, no children, no pets. Just time to relax and do what we wanted. It was a very successful weekend. We didn't manage any weekends away on our own when our children were younger as we had no one we could leave them with. Now they are grown up we can leave the pets with them and grab a little space for us. Thank you Richard for looking after Picasso and Scamp.

Finally I was recently lucky enough to win a give away run by Sharon at Vroomans Quilts. My prize is this lovely jelly roll.

I have a project in mind but it will have to wait until the summer holidays. Thank you Sharon.

I hope you have had a good holiday weekend and made a little 'me time'.


Friday 23 May 2014

Two finish Friday

This week has been a good week for finishes. A while ago I was asked to make a quilt for a baby boy, Thomas.  The suggestion was that I made it in Chelsea football club colours as his dad supports Chelsea. That sounded fine but I decided to make the front using some boy friendly prints. I just love the car patterns. However I used blue white and yellow. I took the quilt to the boathouse to take the photo but it was difficult to find a place to drape it. Unfortunately it was raining outside.

For the back I stuck with solid colours and managed to find a blue the same as the one used by Chelsea. 

The quilting is a large all over meander using a variegated blue thread. Because the meander is large the quilt feels really soft. It has now gone off to it's new owner and I'm told it is greatly appreciated.

Staying with the baby theme my second finish of the week is the knitted baby blanket. This is for Arthur who is due in August. The yarn is double knitting and really soft. This is the second time I have made this pattern. It knits up very quickly but looks really effective.

I took the photo out in our garden. The plants on the table are begonias which are waiting to be planted in our window boxes. Unfortunately we run out of time. The chair is going to the tip as we are getting a new table and chair set. As it was so messy the blanket is draped over a plastic sheet.

My third job for the week was to cut up my child friendly fabrics into 5 inch charms. The Brownies are going to stitch these into quilts for young girls who are either in hospital or living in a shelter for victims of abuse and domestic violence.

Cutting fabric sound a very light activity but I was really tired by the time I had finished. We are all ready to start our quilts after the school half term holiday.

This weekend is a long weekend with a bank holiday on Monday. We are having an away weekend staying in Folkstone. This is a seaside town in Kent and will gives us a base to explore the area a little more. We've left Richard at home looking after Scamp and Picasso. Scamp looked very miserable when we left him behind. Never mind we will be home again on Sunday.

I'm linking this post with Richard and Tanya Link a finish Friday and Crazy mom quilts finish it up Friday.

I hope you all have a great weekend


Saturday 17 May 2014

At last it's Saturday

I haven't had a chance to write a post all week as it's been too busy with work. I've managed to snatch some time to make a couple of blocks and to continue my knitting but it has mainly been late at night when I really don't want to start using the computer.

I have managed to make the 9 nine blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge. The colour for May is green. I was surprised to find that I haven't got a lot of green scraps but I found enough. Each month I am making 4 blocks.

I haven't had time to complete the hexie block yet but here are my fabrics.

I'm hoping to get this stitched whilst chilling out in front of a film tonight.

In my May goals I planned to start the corset quilt by Bobbie G Designs. I purchased this pattern before Christmas and have collected the fabrics  ready to start. 

Corset Quilt

I still may start this quilt but I decided to start the Austen Family Album quilt. The blocks are appearing weekly on Sundays at Austen Family Album which is run by Barbara Brackman. I loved making the Votes for Women quilt that she run and since Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors I decided I wanted to make this quilt.

I asked my husband for his choice of colours and he has chosen blue, greens and pinks but the pattern must be appropriate for the period. I didn't want to use specific vintage style fabrics as I love mixing and matching. I managed to get the first two blocks made but I am still behind.

Both blocks are square but the lower one sure looks like the right hand side is wonky. The blocks finish at 12 inches and they will run for 36 weeks.

I want to make a cover for my machine so that I can leave it set up without it collecting cat hairs from Picasso when he decides to investigate. I have a case / carry bag but this is heavy so I only use it when I am putting the machine away for a while when we go on holiday or if I'm taking the machine somewhere else. Ages ago I bought this fabric because I loved the sewing machine on it. I also have another sewing fabric in my stash which I must hunt out this weekend.

That's pretty much what I've managed this week. I'm going to walk Scamp and then I have the rest of the day to get on with my various projects. The walk should be fun as it is very warm out although it is quite dull. I hope you all have a great weekend.


Sunday 11 May 2014

Scraps and a present

The weather here in London has been very good all week but as soon as the weekend arrived the rain started and along with the rain the wind  got up. I had a few errands I needed to do and of course Scamp needed a walk but then  it was time to forget the rain and prepare the fabric I need for a new project. I want to make a scrappy quilt as I have a ridiculous amount of scraps.

I spent what seems like hours cutting my scraps into useful pieces. The plastic pot is overflowing with strips that I want to use to make the quilt. The strips are all 5 inches long but a variety of widths from 1 inch to 2 and a half inches. I also cut several different sized squares. I've still got a lot of scraps to deal with as the pile here is just some of my scraps. It's quite therapeutic getting the scraps sorted out.

If you regularly read this blog you'll know that I drink a lot of tea. I like to drink it from a large mug and tea always tastes better if the mug is made of bone china. I had a beautiful mug that John had bought for me some time ago. Unfortunately  earlier in the week it got smashed. Our cat Picasso knocked it onto the floor.  He loves to knock things off the table, I think he likes the noise they make when they hit the floor, but this time it was an accident.

Here he is looking rather pleased with himself as today i received a parcel  and inside was this beautiful new mug. The decoration on the mug is a William Morris design. William Morris was an English artist, textile designer, writer and socialist who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts movement. who lived from 1834 to 1896. I just love his textile designs.

In the parcel was a card which said 'Sorry for smashing your mug. I felt so bad so sat on Richards computer until I finally found you a new one. Love Casso'  Such a sweet and thoughtful cat.

I've been knitting this week rather than doing much sewing. I am about two thirds of the way through the baby blanket.  I have also nearly stitched the back of the binding on the baby quilt. I must finish that tomorrow. 

I hope you've had some sewing time this week. 


Tuesday 6 May 2014

May goals and a little me time

Never too hot to Stitch!2014 NewFO Challenge

I'm running a little late setting goals for May because I've been putting a lot of effort into thinking what 'I' really want to do. Often the goals are about completing projects that are for other people. Whilst I want to get these projects done I also have things I want to do for me. As this month is May, Marcia over at Marcia's crafty sewing is hosting her May for Me celebrations. This has been running for 4 years and is about making time for me during the month, so I thought I would be more careful when choosing my goals and put me in a little more. 

Find Your ME Time

My main goal for this month and the one I'm working on for ALYOF is my Votes for Women quilt that I'm making for Kathryn. The blocks are all finished and almost all of the sashing has been sewn so I nearly have the center section complete. I need to add the borders and then make up the quilt sandwich. My goal is to have this done by the end of May. I might start on the quilting if the mood takes me  but I'm not in a rush.

My second goal is an old project. I've been working on this for years and it is my oldest UFO. I was given this as a Christmas present for 1999 and as you can see it still isn't finished. It is a little further on than the photo as I have completed the block with ST Paul's in it and I've started on the crown which goes on the top above the scrolls. I would like to complete two of these small embroideries in May. This will mean working on this in the morning when I'm not at work as I need a good light. Although I have an embroidery lamp with LED's and a magnifier by evening, especially after a day when I've been using the computer a lot, my eyes can't cope. This is my Something Old Challenge for the month.

My third goal relates to the NewFO challenge run by Barbara at Cat Patches. Barbara's challenge isn't about finishing something it is about starting something each month. This is my sort of challenge as I love starting new things. This month I want to start this corset quilt by Bobby G Designs. I bought the pattern some time ago and have been trying to find appropriate fabrics before I started work on it. My me time this month will involve working on this quilt.

Corset Quilt

As always I will be making my Rainbow scrap challenge blocks. This months colour is green. I need to get my scrap boxes out to see what I've got.

Finally I want to spend some of my me time making something slightly different. I have this book on my shelf . It's been there for some time and I haven't made anything from it but this month I want to spend some time to make some (more likely one) pretty storage boxes. This will be my something new for Lynne's Something Old Something new challenge at Never too hot to stitch

As for more me time I'm wanting to lose at least 7lbs this month. We are already up to the 6th of the month and it is going well but it requires extra time to think about what I want to eat and how it is cooked. The aim is to become more aware of what I'm eating over the month so I can change my eating habits rather than being on a diet as diets just make me feel deprived and grumpy.

I haven't mentioned it in ages but I'm still trying to walk 1000 miles in a year. I am a little behind on miles but the weather was very wet earlier in the year. April however was a great month and I completed more miles than I needed so that will offset the shortfall slightly. Now that the better weather is here I'm hoping to do even more miles this month.

I'm linking this post with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs for the May goal setting link party of ALYOF and with Lynne at Never too hot to Stitch for her 'Something Old, Something New Challenge for May.

I feel that May is going to be a great month. Have fun and make a little 'me' time for yourself.


Thursday 1 May 2014

Review of April Goals

A Lovely Year of Finishes2014 NewFO Challenge

It's that time of the month again when I look back to see how well I got on with my goals. Overall I feel that April has been a good sewing and creative month. 

Goal 1 Complete the quilt for Jennifer. Completed

Lucy was going to make this quilt as a birthday present for her best friend Jennifer. Unfortunately she run out of time so asked if I would be able to help. The quilt was completely finished last week. 

This was my finish for April for the 'A Lovely year of finishes' challenge.

Goal 2 Complete the 'Votes for women' quilt top. Not completed.

It is so nearly finished but I wanted to add a white border but I haven't got any in my stash and unfortunately my local quilt shop has run out. I will finish the top this weekend as the fabric will be in on Saturday.

This is the last photo I have but I have since stitched all the rows together.

Goal 3 Complete my 'Super Power' blog hop projects.  Done

My day was Friday 18th April and I made a cushion cover using scraps. 

Goal 4. Make the blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Done
The colour this month was purple. I am making 4 nine patch blocks

Also I'm making a hexie block each month.

Goal 5 Start my April NewFO Done

My NewFO for April is a knitting project rather than quilting. Kathryn has a friend who is having her first baby in August and I wanted to knit a baby blanket I am making a pattern that I used a couple of years ago. Here is the blanket I made then.

This is a lovely blanket to knit and the yarn is so beautifully soft. I started this a few days ago and it is growing quickly.

So April has been a good month for getting projects finished. I'm hoping May will be a good.

I'm linking this post with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs for the April finishes party and Barbara at Cat Patches for her NewFO linky party.

I hope April was a good Sewing month for you .