Saturday, 30 June 2012

Super Squishy

I just came in from the garden to find a squishy envelope hanging through the letter box . . .
and this was inside

which opened up to be this

Which opens up to show this
Lucky lucky me

Thank you Teje and Nero :-) I love it.  It is *even* better in real life than in the photos!!!!

(Is blogger spell check working for anyone else?)

Friday, 29 June 2012


I have been very negligent, and I will try and remedy lots of overdue thanks in this post!  

The lovely Jackie made me the most useful pressie when she came over a few weeks ago, and I haven't properly thanked her for it - as you can see it is already in good use:
It holds pins and needles, my glasses (sigh) and I've attached the scissors that Jackie previously gave me to it too - now there are no threads on the arms of the chair - yippee!

She also brought Lisa a lovely crochet hook case as a thank you for the loan of the bed

but given that Lisa wasn't home anyway, and I had to clear the room (admittedly of my stuff) to even *find* the bed, I think I deserve it more - luckily for Lisa I cant crochet, so it's no good to me!!!! 

I also need to thank Teje in advance - I commented on a post on her blog . . .  well actually I commented on a guest post, posted by her handsome Alsatian, Nero.  Nero was very kindly offering one of Teje's lovely 2-in-1 makeup bags to celebrate summer (they live in sunny Crete, not cloudy England).  Nero very kindly picked my name from the basket (well he ate the others and didn't eat mine, that's as good as being picked isn't it?),

Nero's give away
Teje is sending me this super bag   Do visit her ETSY shop and look at the others she has made too

I also, in the last few months have been awarded this award from Annabelle Serendipity who says "Benta at SLIK stitches really does do some amazing stuff and I like to see her photos and hear about her exploits - but - get that kitchen sorted Benta!"

(and I was really chuffed to be awarded it in the same keystroke as Hadley at Flying Blind!!!)


and I have been awarded this award by Rebecca who said "Benta at Slik Stitches is absolutely lovely! I've followed this blog for ages now and she creates some absolutely beautiful quilts among other things!", and also by Amo who said "Always making things and does so much in her community to encourage stitching."

I have to tell you 5 things that you may not know about me:

  • I love instant coffee, but not real coffee, 
  • I was so bad at sewing at school I had to take Home Economics (yes Annabelle, cooking!) for my practical subject
  • For all the sewing and other crafting I have tried over the years, my two very best creations are my daughters
  • Next spring I'll have been married 25 years (!)
  • My favourite colour is yellow, but I don't have any yellow clothes

So THANK YOU to all of you, and I am so sorry it has taken me so long!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Norwegian Knowledge (and a quilt question)

An ongoing project that saw light this week is currently known as Norwegian Red.  The main fabric is red, and it did come from Norway, and the quilt top may become a birthday present for a cousin I will see in Norway this  summer, but its name is also a pun - the traditional red paint used for a vast number of homes in Norway is called "English Red"!

These two cottages are owned by family members: the top one is on the West coast, and it was my grandmother's when I was a child, now my cousin's, and the bottom photo is of the boat house at mum's cousin's cottage just off Oslo - this was taken by a cousin at 11:45pm on Mid Summer's Night

Anyway, enough of the lesson, back to 'Norwegian Red'.  This has been stitched into strips, but now I'm not sure where to go next.  I originally planned to arrange the blocks so they were staggered slightly both vertically and horizontally (pic one) but then I quite like the brick effect in pic two (or are the vertical 'morter' sections going to be too fat?)

 Any thoughts much appreciated

Monday, 25 June 2012

Slugs and Snails, or Sugar and Spice

Sometime in the next month or so, I am going to be a great auntie for the second time, and we are very lucky in that we can claim a relationship with the new baby through both parents:  Daddy is husband's nephew, and Mummy is (was) our Au Pair in the mid 1990s, and has always felt like at least a niece to us.

We THINK we know what they are having, but if they know they are not telling, so this weekend I've started to prepare two I-Spy quilts just in case.  I usually have a mix of boyish and girly fabrics in an I-Spy quilt, but having just bought a *cough* few picture fabrics recently I had enough choice to make a very boyish one and a very girly one.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice
That's what Little Girls are made of

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dogs' Tails
That's what Little Boys are made of

So far they are only strip pieced, I will use my very lazy QAYG method to attach them to a fleece blanket soon, then I only need to bind them

I know which one I am going to finish first!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A to Z Update

As mentioned earlier today . . . I didn't get a picture, but the lovely Claire who has been helping every step of the way DID get a photo :-)

Doesn't it look fab!  I cant believe how different each block is

Fete, Flannels, and Fancy That!

We had our school fete yesterday, and I pinned all the finished-so-far A to Z blocks on a big notice board, and they looked FAB!  But you'll have to take my word for it as I forgot to take a photo :-(

I can show you a mosaic but even that's not complete as A, R and W all arrived at school yesterday, but you can see it's getting there (shame mosaic maker cuts off part of the image, they are all complete, honest!)

I took my Baby Brother embroidery machine along, and mum and I sat in the sometime sunshine, me embroidering names on flannels and her tying off the loose ends on the Ladders Quilt that . . .  wait for it . . . someone bought! Fancy That!

(Thanks mum, terrific job done there!)

After a few hours of occasional threats, it did actually start to rain, so mum and I packed the embroidery machine away with a few unfinished orders, so I thought I'd show them here.  And for all who are (quite justly) concerned about my ability to put the right name on the right item, I *think* I have then right this time!

 I just need to trim the jump stitches, and then these flannels can go into school tomorrow

 Do look at all the lovely coloured flannels mum and I got

Rainbow heaven :-)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Flipping Fonts

Thanks to all who commented on the font change - that wasn't what I chose!    My original font started loading on my ipad as a fancy script, so I changed it all to an ordinary font, but it looks as if Google then changed it to impact - which IS difficult to read.

So now it's just Arial, boring, but very readable!

After showing pictures of the first half of the A to Z sashing I also changed my mind about the layout, so I've now redone them so that each text block is the same width: makes it a bit tidier

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Friends and Fabric

Jackie, my quilting twin, came over from Ireland for a 48 hour flying visit at the weekend.  I put her to work at the village fair on Saturday (we were an ace Gazebo erecting team, although not such a hot chasing-a-flying-gazebo-across-the-cricket-green team!) and then went on a fabric shop trawl on Sunday.

I was obviously traumatised by not having enough red to finish my Somerset Star, and then I was lead astray by Jackie (it's all her fault) and the circumstances weren't helped by us finding ourselves at Creative Quilting in Hampton Court

So I, um, cough, sheepish look, bought even more fabric!!!!!!

However - it is kind of justified as I have just had another request for an I Spy quilt, and these are all I Spy fabrics

This evening I have been working on the sashing for the Windsor A to Z project: Designing the text on the computer, and then stitching in onto the sashing fabric . . .

And more . . .

Who can guess what I need to be doing tomorrow night!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Somerset Star

Last Friday I taught a class how to do a Somerset Star at the request of one of the Chertsey Museum ladies:  all very well but I had to find out how to make it!   I Googled it, and a few 'recipes' came up, but they seems to all use different methods, so I took the simplest bits from each one, and thought I'd share it with you here.

It seems to be called Somerset Block, and Folder Star, but as fan of alliteration, I have gone for Somerset Star!

I'm pleased to report it's not as hard as it looks:

I started with background fabric about 10x10 (or cushion size plus a few emergency inches)  pressed in half in all 4 directions making an 8 line star in the centre (like making a fortune teller thingy at primary school, or I think Americans call it a coutie catcher)

I then carefully cut four 5x5 squares, and pressed them first in half, then into triangles by folding the fold into the middle (did you ever make a hat or a boat from a sheet of newspaper?).

I arranged these in the middle using the horizontal and vertical folds (+) in the background fabric to help align them, and I stitched them down along the outer edge.

 Then I cut eight squares in a new fabric, again 5x5 inches, again the folding and pressing.  Next I carefully measured 1/2 inch from the centre, and place 4 triangles on the + lines, and the other 4 using the diagonal (x) lines, and stitched down near to the raw edge.

Round 3 was the same as round 2, but using a different fabric (either in a third fabric, or back to number 1) but now placed 1 inch from the centre (keep using the fold lines in the background to keep straight)

Round 4: same again

For the 5th round, some internet examples arrange 16 folded triangles - the normal 8 and then the others in between them - try placing them and see if you like them.

Now you have pretty much finished this bit.  If you want to make a cushion cover, use the stitch and flip method to cover the seams and bulk out to the size you need.  If you want to make a pot mat, add a layer of wadding, and a layer of insulbrite (?), then backing fabric, and bind.

I haven't included stitching down the points.  I really like the 'monsters mouth' effect of leaving them free, but don't think it would go well in the washing machine, so the recommended method is to stitch each point down at each stage.  Just telling you!

Confession: The two blue Stars aren't even mine - two students did these - good eh?  and they had enough squares cut to complete each round. LOL

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ooops and Double Ooops

Not quite sure how it happened, but Mr Postman brought me TWO packs of fabrics I seem to have ordered

However, I still don't have enough - no, don't laugh, I seriously don't have enough - I started to make this Somerset Star as a sample for a class I'm teaching on Friday,

And I'm one red triangle short!!!

Can anyone think of a good reason why one should be a different colour to the rest, or do I have to use it as a this-is-what-can-happen-if-you-don't-prepare-properly example?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Oh. My. Gosh.

You may have, at some point, popped over the The Rainbow Hare blog where the lovely Janine blogs.  She recently posted this pic of an awesome pentagon,

which she made, having received two books about spiral quilts:

Simply Amazing  Spiral Quilts  (Book with CD  plus bonus materials)Magnificent Spiral  Mandala Quilts  (Book with CD  plus bonus materials)

(Since I have shamelessly copied her photos, do look at this shot of the centre of the pentagon under construction, isn't it fab)

Where was I?  Oh yes, having wiped the drool from the keyboard, and being sat next to this collection of yummy fabrics sitting on my shelf . . .

. . .  I emailed Janine to ask if the method would work for a hexagon, or an octagon?

You are going to have to accept what happened next, however much you don't believe me - The lovely LOVELY Janine simply packaged up the books, and the CD rom, and POSTED THEM TO ME, so that I can have a go, and then return the books to her, and they arrived today

(I know we have followed each others blog for a while, but we have never met - isn't that the kindest thing!)

Are patchworkers kind because they are patchworkers?, or do kind people patchwork because they are kind? - I don't know, but hand on heart, I have never met a selfish patchworker, HOWEVER - Janine is one of the best!!!!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Holiday Happenings (part 3)

 On Friday I taught Junk Weaving Wall Art at Chrtsey Holiday Activities to a dozen kids, and several mums!!!

We started with a show box lid (thanks mummy) and cut notches and wrapped string, then delved into a pile of junk, and got weaving.  Better instructions are on the Fun With Fabric blog, but here is one of the busier ones

And here is a mosaic of all of them

And some mums having a great time - just before I took this there were 4 of them weaving the junk treasures that their kids had found!!!!

As a group project we also wove some t-shirts: referred to as The Windmill, this will become a floor mat for the museum: I showed the first two kids how to do it, they taught the next few, and so on, until everyone had had a go!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunday School Special

Today's Sunday School . . . I started just with little miss R, a real poppet, and a smart cookie, aged "three and one third", then we were joined by R, A (brothers, aged 8 and 3) and F, another boy aged 8. We sat on our mezzanine floor above the main aisle

"I haven't planned anything in particular, so lets do some colouring. What's that, F? You've found some stickers? Ok, lets do a poster and we can all decided if each sticker belongs on the poster - a heart? yes little miss R, because God loves us. Flowers ?yes, R, because God made them. The world? That's good, F, yes God did create it. A rubber duck? Well A . . ,oh too late, you've stuck it now ! well yes, God did tell people how to make them.

Oh, A, do you have to go to the toilet now? And you as well, R? Well can you take your brother? No F, you wait please. Ok F they are back, you can go, oh, A, you didn't wash your hands? F will take you. What's that noise? Oh, A has pulled the emergency cord instead of the light cord, no I don't know how to switch the alarm off.

[By now, everyone in the service is looking in the direction of the toilet, the vicar is making his way through the congregation to sort the alarm, and F has got bored waiting so has pulled down his trousers and his pants and is starting to pee]

Ok, excitement over, let's go back up, try and talk with an inside voice, please A, not your outside voice, the grownups are trying to listen to the prayers.

Let's take our poster down stairs and we can tell the grownups why we chose each sticker.

[So the vicar does the notices and then observes that he knows Sunday school have been busy, would they like to share?].

"We have done a poster choosing stickers that are about God and Jesus and the church. Little miss R, can you start and tell everyone about one of the stickers you chose? The heart, that's a good one, now in a big voice, why did you choose a heart sticker?

[Little miss R in a big voice]
Because God made stickers

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Holiday Happenings (part 2)

I spent a lovely day with Jacqui and Sarah yesterday - with Jacqui teaching us the art of wet felting

We started with strands of wood laid in one direction

Then added strands at 90 degrees,

Then a third layer at 90 degrees to that.  Then it got pummelled back and forth with water and a bit of soap, using bubble wrap and a rolling pin - then plunged into boiling and freezing water, until I ended up with these two

And this candle / sausage item, which, when dry and sliced, will hopefully result in felted buttons like the ones below that I bought last September

Lovely day Jacqui, thank you :-)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Holiday Happenings (part 1)

We've had the May half term break in England this week, which is all very bizarre as it was in June, not May, and we longer have three school terms (where this break would be half way through term 3, hence its name of half term holidays) but we now have 6 terms, so this is just a break between terms 5 and 6 - go figure, answers on a postcard please!

Anyway, whatever we call it, and whenever it is, I have managed some sewing, in amongst everything else I've tried to squeeze in!

This I spy quilt has been made for baby Amelie, and I'm trying to get her name embroidered before I go and see Grandma this afternoon

These two 'Endless Ribbon' quilts have been finished for the Siblings Together Charity, and need a final 'haircut' before being sent off

This has been finished for Laura's 18th . . .

and I actually remembered to add a label too

Apart from that I have taught the final Windsor A to Z class (these are the blocks that have either been finished, or were snapped under construction)

Had a lovely (albeit wet) day with Lisa in London (!)

and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the pomp and ceremony that celebrated the Diamond Jubilee.

To follow: a felting day with Jacqui and Sarah, a kid's activity afternoon at Chertsey Museum, creating junk weaving wall art, Crafty Church afternoon, socialising with two groups of friends, and a day with mum . . . followed by going back to work for a rest!!!