Sunday, 29 September 2013

So Near So Spa

The final part of my very extended birthday celebration was a spa visit with girlfriends.  I'm not very high maintenance, but some treatments were included so I had a salt massage and a pedicure, but the best bits were being with friends, and having 24 hours without deadlines, responsibilities, or questions (where is my ..? Can you just .. Did you ..? Etc)

We chatted and laughed, and caught up on each others' parents and siblings and husbands and children (and grand children), we drank and ate yummy food that isn't on the diet list, and we had meals cooked for us, and we didn't have to make beds, tidy up or wash up!!!!

The others also swam, and did aqua aerobics,  but as I'm still full of lurgy I sat and stitched and watched
And finished the binding on the ispy bricks (pistachio pictures)


Tomorrow? Back to work, and the boring business of being Fifty, sigh !

However, I do have a flotation experience, Lion King on stage, afternoon tea, and a trip up the Shard to look forward to!!!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Mystery Make

Do you know my friend Jen, "Quilter in the Closet"?  We met through the Star of Africa bee - she refers to herself as a quilting beginner, but I think she's made some amazing quilts and bag

(Just have a look at these pics I've taken from her blog)

And this one shows she is an amazing photographer as well as an awesome patchworker

Jen recently showed a machine mat she had made

which I thought was fantastic.  A bit of a conversation went back and forth over the Atlantic, and the end result was me making an iPad case for Jen, and her making a sewing machine mat for me

We haven't discussed whether we are showing our makes, but I took a few teaser photos today as I started, so I figured it was safe to show them,  Jen suggested aqua, and I know she has a little bit of a grey thing going on, so here are some fabrics I used

She also has three little girls, so I have made it reversible: it's lined with some lovely Japanese I-Spy charm squares from a swap I took part in last year

There is some machine embroidery

And a few hexies

And I hope it is turning into something that she will be happy with

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Benta's Birthday

Thanks for all the birthday wishes: I had a great day, ending in a meal out with the family, a boyfriend, the girls' God parents and their daughter, and both mothers.  I completely forgot to take any photos at the meal, but I got some pics of the lovely pressies people were kind enough to give me

A floatation experience - I've wanted to do this for years - Carol and I are going to go together

I got some gorgeous troll beads for my bracelet: poppies from the girls, and buttons from friends

Knowing I am not a natural baker, I had yummy yummy cupcakes baked for me (thank you Sally), and, my all time favourite: Apple Crumble, which arrived still warm from the oven (thank you Carol & Alice)

I had bunches of flowers from lots of lovely people

Sewing goodies from family and friends (Thank you Plum and A&A)

Balloons, *just* in case I forgot how old I am

Honey flavoured smellies from the girls, and a gorgeous hand made glass dish from mum

Also wine (thank you Sally and Lizzie) and chocolates (thank you Sam), and Amazon and Hobbycraft vouchers (thank you S&S and Lindsey & Frances, I'm going to have a lovely time spending those), and most exciting of all - two more experiences - Lion King with the girls and the God parents, and Segway with the family (Niki and Brian went this summer and loved it!)

(Hope I've remembered everything!  Thank you all)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bricks and Blocks

I've come down with the "i work with children" lurgy!  The little darlings have breathed on me and now, less than three weeks into the new term I'm full of snuffles!  I have a hundred or so Bloglovin posts to read but I marked them all as read and did done sewing instead!  An hour or so turned this pile of 8 x 4 inch picture fabrics and 1.5 x 4 inch strips

into this

But unfortunately I've run out of the light green (pistachio?) so I need to find something else to bind it.  It's not a colour I would usually choose, but it's lovely and fresh: certainly something I would use again

Now? I'm off to bed, night night x

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Virtual Birthday Cake

No, I'm not teasing you with virtual cake again, this time I am being teased - my 'adopted' Irish nieces and nephews sent me this cake photo and greeting

But looking at the forks in the boys' hands I suspect it's all gone by now!

Thank you Jackie - I love your family :-)

Birthday Bash

After the lovely surprise cake at Chertsey Museum on Friday I met up with friends for a bit of a birthday bash.  I'd arranged a room at the local village club, and booked some nibbles: Jules and Fiona did a great job!

A friend, Jane, who is just 48 hours younger than me, had graffiti-ed one of the walls,

 and another, Nicky, had created this board with lots of photos of me!!!

None of which I'd had any ideas about.  The biggest surprise was this cake:

In Norway we call it Kransekake (it translates as wreath cake), and it is made from ground almond, egg whites and sugar.  It is a celebration cake rather than an every day cake, and it's my favourite. 

Jane and I took both our daughters plus two other 16 year olds to Norway 3 years ago, and I introduced Jane to the cake then, and I did vaguely know that she had one of the special baking trays, but I never expected that she'd make me one!

Thank you Jane

The birthday plans continue - the day itself is later on in the week.  A friend's daughter is making cupcakes for me to take to work and to have at home, and ten or eleven of us are going out for a meal in the evening.  On Friday Jane's husband has invited half the village to a surprise party for Jane, and then on Saturday I am off to a  spa weekend with girlfriends  Is it a bit over the top to celebrate over ten days?  Yes probably, but d'you know what?  I don't care!!!!!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Plum Perfect Poultry Pin Cushions

OK, first off, I apologise for the awful alliteration! But my ladies at this afternoon's class did make some perfect pincushions, and they are mostly chickens, and the instructions did originate from Plum, so I feel I am justified!!!!  (Thank you Plum)
The plan was that we would all make chickens, but there are always some who play up, so two made mice instead!

The ladies also brought their 'homework' from last month - we always hold a show and tell session!

And the lovely ladies at the museum started my birthday celebrations with a lovely surprise cake - ginger cake, I'm trying not to eat cake, but when your birthday is one of those 'oh' ones, and you manage to celebrate over a week, that's clearly not going to work very well!  I took one photo, but then I felt the urge to, urm, tidy up the cake!!!!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Museum Making

This time I have been making something FOR the museum, rather than AT the museum.

The curator asked me if I could embroider some t-shirts for the staff to wear when they go out to do school talks: perhaps the Museum logo on polo shirts.  I very cautiously said I would look at it, as the logo is a tad complicated:

Its based on a clay tile in the museum, so cant be simplified too much before it looses its relationship with the museum.  I started OK on the outer section, but the two characters in the middle were just too detailed.  Then Emma said it could just have "Chertsey Museum" if it was too difficult.  As I'd already designed the outer section, and I was looking forward to doing the gargoyle  . . . I worked on a compromise:

Not too shabby for a first stitch out!  I need to tidy up Mr Gargoyle's teeth, and the jumps in the writing annoy me, but I think it's recognisable!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Windsor Wednesday

There are a lot of Open Studio schemes around the country, and Windsor is no exception. I haven't joined in as such for various reasons: it's promoted as a walking route and I'm 5 miles away, you can't get more than one person in my "studio",  and there is a certain expectation that I am at work rather than at home in my studio!

However the team at the Baptist Church host the Windsor Fringe, and I have been invited to exhibit there over the last week of September.

I've known about it for ages, and knew which patchworks I was going to enter, and knew I had to do some work on them, but I've suddenly realised just how close 'end of September' really is!

So I've tidied up I Spy Bricks (it's being exhibited as a work in progress: it's been hand pieced, and I wanted to hand quilt it too, I have started, but it will take a while to finish)

And I've finished I Spy Hexi Stars - into a pillow for my mother-in-law for her birthday - yes, she asked for the picture hexies!

Doesn't take long when I get down to it!  Now just need to get them to the church on time ( for Gawd's sake get them to the church on time!) (sorry if that song is now stuck in your head) 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tidy Up Tuesday

I actually left work on time today, and that gave me an afternoon of empty house, and therefore sewing.

I wanted to start a new quick project, so I made myself get a bit further along with two that needed a bit of tidying up:

I trimmed and machine stitched the binding to a basic I-Spy Quilt: a very good friend of Lisa's has just become an Auntie, so Lisa wanted to give the baby a quilt

And one of six Horrible Hexi tops has finally been hand quilted in front of the TV

And so was ready to be trimmed and have its binding stitched too

Having done those I gave myself permission to start something new.  There is an I Spy Brick top that I pieced by hand last summer.  The brick arrangement takes a bit more time and fabric than the one above, but is a lovely effect, so I decided to make one for a teacher at school who will be going on maternity leave soon: The bricks and the vertical 'mortar' have been pieced and pressed

I also had a go at blocking the Northern Lights Project, as the stitching had caused the bottom section to pull in and it was now about an inch narrower than the top.

I washed it and hung it out sideways to dry: I wanted to weight the bottom to stretch it:  It's a bit Heath Robinson, but with the aid of some curtain hooks, some mini bungee clips, a wooden stick and some mugs, I think it is being pulled!

Monday, 16 September 2013

A little bit of random

I'm not getting much sewing done, but thought I'd share this photo of my favourite niece wearing her new ski jacket (such a shame she lives in Australia!) - At least it's patchwork so it sort of belongs here

And this doesn't belong at all, but I warned you this was a random post!

This a photo I took when I popped in to see Niki at work - not often you get to see round the back of a bowling alley - this is where the pins end up either after you've knocked them down, (or in my case failed to knock them down) and they are getting ready to drop into place for the next go: it's much more fun watching the process from this side than being rubbish from the other side!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Simply Super Solids

I LOVE that Justine adds a sticker to each piece with the range and the colour name - ready for when I run out. Really helpful for me, and a really good marketing tool for her

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Northern Lights Project

Thank you Plum and Nicky for the applique suggestion, the missing blocks have now been sorted and anchored with the FMQ that has been added to all the northern lights

I'm quite pleased with the result (left grey is original, right grey is appliqued)

I wanted to add the railings of the boat, as we saw the lights from the deck.  I tried piecing using the dark grey and black, but couldn't get the railings dark enough, after all we saw them late at night.  Brian suggested using black stitches, and I think it has worked

I also wanted to show a couple viewing the lights: my FMQ is certainly not up to creating this, but I am capable of creating a machine embroidery design to represent them, and although it took 39 minutes to stitch (probably my longest design) I'm really please with how this has come out

So it's not finished yet, but its starting to look as if it may actually be finished by the deadline of Fiona's Mini Quilt competition

Grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

So there is Bargello, FMQ, machine satin stitch, and embroidery machine features!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Pretty Patti Post

After a few really busy days at work, and interrupted sleep at night, I came home tonight just wanting to collapse, but I soon perked up when I saw what was waiting on the mat for me. Patti sent me this gorgeous zipped case as a thank you for a few bits I sent her with her Star of Africa block

What a lovely gift, from a lovely lady: a really useful size, fab fabric and a sweet little sewing machine on the zipper! Thank you, Patti, a lovely surprise, and a much appreciated gift! Xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

To unsew? Or not to unsew?

At the end of last month the Northern Lights Project was unpicked and sent to the Thinking Step in disgrace.  It was to sit there and think about what it had done and not to comeback until it was sorry.

Well it did come back and apologise, and so I pressed and stitched and pressed and stitched, and I was happier about it this time, its still not as curved as it should be, but with quilting I think it will be OK

This is the original photo, the finished wallhanging will be much wider, but at the moment I'm just working on that curve

I was wondering whether to FMQ around the swoop, to enhance that, and that maybe would blur the harsh angles, or should I FMQ vertically to enhance that effect instead?

I thought I'd zap a photo to Jackie to see what she thought, the flash was on auto, and THIS is what I see


I'd been working on this in artificial light - you know, one of those light bulb that takes ages to glow bright, and it had looked fine, but under the flash see that I'd forgotten to continue with the very dark grey in the middle of the two sections of lights

Any suggestions appreciated