Friday, 1 August 2014

Last Weekend

I realise we're on the cusp of this weekend and I haven't told you about last! It'll act as a little diversion from the sewing I've been doing and can't show you for a while longer. (Hopefully I can this weekend!)

I'd had a pretty horrible week last week due to a two day heat/stress/exhaustion induced migraine thingy. By the time I finished work on Friday I was feeling pretty stressed and wobbly. Chief was parked next to my car in the car park I use for work. I knew he was coming down, but hadn't expected that surprise. We headed off to the place in the Chiltern's we know feeds the kites and you're guaranteed to get some close up shots of them swooping down to feed. I haven't gone through my pics yet so can only show you this one:


Red Kites

You get about 30 kites circling, before they swoop down one after an other in little groups to pick up the left over lunches and breakfasts. Chief really wanted to go back there as he'd not got any pictures since he bought a new big lens. (500mm)

The next day we went off to Blenheim Palace. We'd converted our tickets from the last visit into an annual pass so we can now go back whenever we want without having to pay entrance fees again. There is so much to see and do at Blenheim and everything seems so well organised and put together. I can see why this is a big tourist attraction and world heritage site.


Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace - well part of it. I need to practise not having my buildings look like they are wonky or falling over!


Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
There are several lakes you can walk around.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
We had lunch sat on this terrace. The food is really nice.
Although the queues not so good.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Me and an old bird. Chief bought me the hat because I said I wanted one to keep the sun off my head. We had to call in to a sports shop on our way as he needed trainer liners. He also bought me the lovely purple shoes, which I risked putting straight on. So comfy and no blisters at the end of the day. LOVE them! (not least because they are purple!)

Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire

There are quite a few water features. I really wanted to run through this by the end of the hot day!

Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire

Did I mention he has a big lens? The amount of looks and comments you get carrying this beast around!

Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire

On our way home Chief bought a BBQ. He'd used a disposable one the night before, but decided we really needed a proper one. He's really into BBQing.

Bbq is built and chief is trying it out

The next morning we had a quick trip to a nature reserve I'd come across in the middle of a local housing estate. It's called the C S Lewis nature reserve because the land used to belong to C S Lewis. His house is nearby and this land would have once been part of his garden. The nature reserve is small with large ponds and such a great space for families. In fact there were several pond dipping when we arrived.

CS Lewis Nature Reserve

I can easily see why it's thought this area inspired Narnia. Outside the house is the most gorgeous planted flower bed.

CS Lewis Nature Reserve

Then it was time for Chief to make the 2.5 hour journey back home. We're going through quite a stressy time at the moment as Chief has been served with 3 months notice and no redundancy. It was the worse possible scenario out of those on the table. It was so nice to have a weekend where we relaxed and chilled and didn't think about what the future might hold.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Winner!

Given Chief was coming down to meet me straight after work and spending the weekend it probably would have been more sensible if I'd chosen a different date for announcing the winner of my 4th Blogiversary Give Away!

So a little later than anticipated and after I'd deleted some duplicate and spam comments; the Winner is:


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And 50 happens to be the last qualifying comment! I'm off to contact the winner right now! Congratulations!


Blogger DeborahGun said...
Sadly I didn't go to FQR either - I was actually flying out of London on the Saturday!
21 July 2014 00:24
 Delete


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Poolside Tote

Well, get me finishing two things on my Finish-A-long Quarter 3 list!  (You can just picture me doing a silly little smug dance can't you?) I've actually had one of those crazy busy weeks. You know the kind when you book one appointment because the week is free, then turn around and find meetings to go to, more appointments and generally spend the week rushing around, with the feeling that none of it's been for anything fun. I just needed to get sewing by the time the weekend came around. A little thread shortage held me back from getting on too far, thankfully before I'd even got out of bed on Saturday an order from The Village Haberdashery had arrived to save the day.


Poolside Tote 80%

The Poolside Tote is Anna's latest pattern. I'm a huge fan of her bag patterns and have lost count of how many of her bags I've made. In fact I think I prefer her patterns to any others I've made. I reduced the Poolside Tote pattern pieces to 80%. This was for two reasons. It was going to take a lot of fabric to make a full sized one and this made me realise - along with pics of the bag next to people - that the full sized bag might be a bit big for a small person like me.

I reduced the pocket pieces by 20% too. They only thing I forgot to adjust was the straps. I didn't realise my mistake until the bag was finished and I thought - hmmm how comes the accent pieces are slightly smaller than the handles. But really I think the error is so minor that nobody will pay it much attention.

I used half a yard of Navy Essex Linen for the exterior, half a yard of the lining fabric and half a yard for the handles, facings and accent pieces. I hadn't actually got enough of the Navy Essex Linen left over to do pockets without joining some together. So I did this for the lining of the zipped pocket and used a fat quarter of the pretty potent Echinacea fabric to make two pockets. One a slip pocket and one a zip pocket.


Poolside Tote at 80%

I created the slip pocket by cutting it twice as tall as needed and folding it over and top stitching.  This means I get an extra pop of those lovely flowers inside and out.

Poolside Tote at 80% 
I didn't faff around making the facing as the pattern suggested. I'm not keen on using the machine for temporary basting. It has never been very successful for me. So I interfaced and made the facing into a loop as told and then after using a scant seam to join the lining to outer I then stitched the facing in place and when I flipped it over I hand sewed the facing down inside, as you would a quilt binding. I then did one layer of top stitching around the outside to finish everything off.

I also left the handles straight. I was not confident my machine could cope with so many stiff layers of handle. If my machine struggles with bag making it's the multiple layers often found in handles. 

Poolside Tote at 80%

The bag stands up by itself because I chose to use some car scrim which people often use instead of soft and stable. I had some left over from making an Aeroplane bag. It means the bag has a nice foamy softness to it.

Now I just need the poolside in which to model it. Although as this is a reduced version maybe a paddling pool would be more the order of the day?

Finish Along 2014

If you're looking for my blogiversary giveaway pop along here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

So four years ago June I started blogging. I'm a bit behind with the give away because I had a bit of a tummy bug and got too distracted to sew up the lining of the bag (I've still not sewn it up, but I promise I will by the time I post it out with your other goodies). If you looked in the blog archive though you'd see my first ever blog post was in July 2007 so I figure I'm still in the rough area of my blogiversary...give or take a year.

As is customary with blogiversaries I've decided to do a little give away. So what can you win? Well, how about this bag and the other goodies in the picture; which as luck would have it, all fit inside the bag.


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The bag was whipped up using the super quick and simple tutorial by Svetlana. I do like making bags and see more of these in my future.


Jack and Jenny tote Bag

What do you need to do to win? Well, just leave me a comment. Tell me anything you like or if the thought of that has made your mind go blank. How about you tell me what is your all time favourite fabric and if you ever got your hands on some?

You can have a second comment if you're NOT going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat. It seems we all need some extra consolation if we're not going.

This give away is open to anyone anywhere and will remain open until Friday 25 July 2014 2pm GMT time.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

My "Not Going to The Retreat" Treats!

I am not going to the FQR this year. I am kind of sad as there looks to be some fab classes and it's always nice to get the opportunity to meet up with online friends out in the real world. Although lots of people I know well can't go this year too. Instead I decided I could buy a few things as a little treat. The latest arrived in the post today.

This was two bundles that I bought from Kaelin's huge studio sale. It was a great destash it was hard not to buy more. I'm surprised if she has any fabric left now.
Fabric pretties

I bought these beauties from M is for Make.
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And then this lovely lot arrived from Pink Castle Fabrics

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All that looks yummy stacked up into a big pile.

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And whilst I'm not normally a quilt mag sort of person I did subscribe for to Quilt Now with the great three issues for £5 deal. So from the end of August I have that to look forward to. I just missed getting my subscription from the first issue.

Making the bag the other day I realised how short on polyester thread I am, so I may have to go shopping for thread next. I won't rule out the odd fq falling into my basket and then I'd best get stitching up a storm. 









Monday, 14 July 2014

My first Finish-A-Long Q3 Finish

Nothing like a bit of pressure is there?

Mum asked me a while ago if I'd make a Go Anywhere Bag for a really good friend of hers. She sort of mentioned which of her day trips she'd need it by and then didn't say any more about it. Until last week when she reminded me she'd need the bag by the following Wednesday.

That's when the panic sort of set in because I had arrangements Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week and was out all day Saturday. I managed to cut some of the pieces out Thurs and Friday in between other stuff. But I really didn't hold out much hope of getting the bag done. It didn't help that I had half a yard of the perfect fabric for the pockets and then went and cut the same pocket piece out twice. Meaning I didn't have enough fabric to correct my mistake and nothing in my stash that would co-ordinate and not look like the bag had a Jekyll and Hyde personality. I decided I'd have to work with what I had instead of the lovely external three part pocket I turned one into a two part pocket.

A typical Friday night
After the cutting mess up I had to crack open the crisps! The geometric fabric lines the big
external pocket and I used some more for the internal pocket. Near enough colour wise to 
co-ordinate

Sunday Stitching

We will not look too closely at the top-stitching. I ran out of polyester thread and had to resort to some heavy duty thread I'd acquired from somewhere and it was a beast to sew and sticks out like a sore thumb. I have to buy more polyester thread when I can get to the LQS. Mum loves the bag though and is pleased and really feels her friend will love it too! Lets hope so.

Go Anywhere Bag

It does mean I've completed my first item from the Finish-A-Long Q3 list. Lets hope I haven't peaked too soon as I've only made one item each of the previous quarters!

Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Handing over Sugared Almonds Quilt

So I finally handed over the Sugared Almonds Quilt (my only finish last quarter on my finish-a-long list.) My friend Becky had a milestone birthday back in April. We thought we'd get to meet up then, but it didn't work out. Then more recently I think I had to cancel about three weekends running because of the funny not-quite-a-proper-stomach-bug. Becky drove down yesterday so we could go and have lunch at the local Thai place. Which do a lovely Thai Tapas and rumour has it they'll be closing soon. In fact there has been lots of rumours about that and we didn't want to risk missing on Becky having her much planned and talked about Thai lunch. I'd been on Wednesday with Chief and arranged to do the same with Becky yesterday. (Good job I like the food!)

Anyway, I met Becky at Oxford Services (I meet all the best people there as Katy will tell you.) and she followed me to my house where I handed over her birthday gift and had my camera on hand to catch the reaction.


Meeting up with Becky

It's fair to say she was just a little bit surprised.

Meeting up with Becky

Although pleased with it.
Meeting up with Becky

We then headed off for a very long and leisurely lunch at The Railway.  Every time I go I post a pic of what I'm about to eat for Becky to have a drool over on Facebook. Now she finally got to try some.

Meeting up with Becky

This was lunch for both not just Becky I should add! Becky took a post lunch Selfie of us. Selfies are one photographic format I fail at miserably.  After lunch we headed back to mine. I bored Becky silly showing her my fabric stash and explaining about Out of Print fabrics, Fat Quarters etc. entertained Becky with my fabric stash and knowledge. Then it was time for Becky to head home. 

Becky and me at The Railway


Friday, 11 July 2014

Finish-A-Long Quarter 3 - Best Intentions

I actually did a fair bit of sewing in quarter two...just not much from my quarter two list. I finished something from Quarter 1 list that I hadn't put on the Quarter 2 list because I was fairly sure I'd never be making it! So I've decided to put in a huge list for Q3 on the assumption fickle old me will at least get a couple of items finished!

So in no particular order:

My Big Stitch Swap Item. I have to get this finished as my partner will be expecting it on time which means it'll have to be finished this quarter!

#thebigstitchswap liking how this is shaping up

I've put these on both previous quarters lists so I probably should just get on and make the camera cushions for the hide Chief organised at his work place. Chiefs project has sort of fallen by the wayside due to all the personnel that have moved on. I asked if the hide is used much. Apparently not because it only looks out on a field and phase two of the plan to build a scrape never happened. I'm told that the scrape will be built next weekend so I really should finish these:

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These hexies were on my Q2 list too. The plan is to turn them into a cushion cover. I haven't actually touched them!

Just a few bits to sew. But should I go bigger or sash what I've done so far?

My Hipbee blocks were on Q2 list too. I managed to get them sewn together into a quilt top and also basted. In fact I've started quilting. But sat with a quilt on my lap to hand sewn in warm weather isn't motivating me to get this beauty. We may get a cold summer so I'll keep it on the list.

Quilting is hard on the fingers as klona seams are quite stiff. Loving how it looks #hipbees

This bag was made for my blogiversary give away (In June!). No you didn't miss the give away I haven't actually finished the bag. If you could see inside you'd see I've not sewn up the turn through hole. If I can get my act into gear and fill it with a few goodies I can do the give away. (I'm putting this on the list but prob won't link up as a finish seeing as it needs such a small amount of work to finish it!)

Jack and Jenny tote Bag

Another thing I made ages ago and could have finished if I'd just done a little bit more work is these pj's. I thought they were coming up a bit short (well actually I was aiming for long shorts, but they were a bit too long for long shorts.) so I added a contrasting bit. Now they are too long and need hemming. 

Saturday

I started to sew these together to make a plus quilt. They're now in my WIP basket neglected. They'd look much better as a cushion cover and I really REALLY need more cushion covers!

Happy Go Lucky - cut up and ready one day to become a cushion cover!

I had no sooner printed out the Poolside tote pattern and started to ponder fabrics, when Mum reminded me I had agreed to make a bag for her friend's birthday. And it would be needed by next Wednesday. I'm going to fore go sleep obviously, but I have at least pulled the fabric, found the pattern out and cut some pieces. Including cutting one piece wrong so it'll be a slightly improvised Go Anywhere Bag!

A typical Friday night

Pool Side Bag

I may get both bags finished this quarter. I may not. Wish me luck!

Finish Along 2014







Friday, 4 July 2014

The Big Stitch Swap

I've felt like joining in with a swap for a while now. When flickr changed it seemed a lot of swaps stopped, or I didn't find out about them until sign ups had closed. I had got off the whole swap/bee merry-go-round and whilst I don't want the commitment of a bee again, I do like the idea of a swap now and again. Whether that's a one-on-one private swap or a group swap like The Big Stitch Swap.

The Big Stitch Swap

The Big Stitch Swap is the brainchild of Sarah and Cindy. We've just got our partners. In this swap the emphasis is on hand sewing. Whether that's embroidery, English Paper Piecing, hand quilting or anything else involving sewing by hand. We've all created inspiration mosaics like this one I made:

The Big Stitch Swap

It was so hard choosing which lovelies to put into it. As for items we can make whatever we think our partner would like. That might be an embroidered hoop, a framed purse, tote bag, cushion, gadget cover, mini quilt...the list of possibilities is endless. I don't mind what item my partner makes. But I do like the idea of a hoop, cushion cover or pouch for stashing stitching on the go.

I've done my first fabric pull after stalking my partner diligently. I think she would like a spot of aqua/red/pink. 

Red and Aqua

I'm also thinking she wouldn't mind if this pile of aqua and red loveliness turned into some hexies.

Red and Aqua Hexies

That's only part of the plan. There will also be some embroidery with a motif I'm going to design myself. (We'll see if that all ends in tears.) I'll keep the item I'm making under wraps a while longer. I've never made one of these before (That I remember!) so I want to see if it works out first!

Of course if I get the feeling my partner isn't liking wherever this is going I reserve the right to change plans completely!




Sugared Almonds - A St Louis 16 Patch Finish-A-long Q2

I've been bursting to show you this quilt for months. It's been so hard keeping it under wraps until it was safely in the hands of the friend I made it for. For various reasons I couldn't hand it over before my friends birthday. Doubly frustrating as I rushed to get it finished for when we thought we'd be meeting up a good few weeks before said ladies birthday. It was a super speedy make and as a result there are a few niggly puckers in the backing. They are a lot less noticeable (I hope) since the quilt has been washed. And as it was on my Finish-Along-List I have to blog it now...despite the fact it's still not been handed over!

A friend of mine had expressed an interest in my making her a quilt. (As quite a few friends do!)  I don't do custom orders. It's too much pressure and realistically  how many people truly appreciate the cost in materials let alone the cost of a persons time making something like a quilt? So as this friend had a big birthday this year I decided I'd make her a lap quilt. I had two challenges: 1) what quilt could I make and guarantee to finish in time 2) I was heavily into the fabric fast and determined to shop my stash and not buy fabric for this project.

I decided to try the St Louis 16 Patch which was one of last years trends that sort of passed me by when I wasn't sewing much.  I pulled these 12 fat quarters, ironed them and got cutting.


I'm thinking st louis 16 patch lap sized for a birthday gift?

If you'd have asked me if I had this fabric colour scheme in my stash I'd have doubted it, so it was refreshing to pull a combination that I'd not normally have thought of for this project. The recipient had already expressed a liking for one of the fabrics and she loves to read so the book fabric was a must.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I used some of the famous Ikea numbers fabric. It is the perfect quilt back. The binding is some Kona Camelia fabric I had in my stash.


St Louis 16 Patch Lap Quilt


St Louis 16 Patch Lap Quilt

My original finish along list for quarter two is here. As you can see I've only actually managed to get one item finished! To be fair I did finish something that was on Q1 list. The lesson I've learnt is that maybe I should be one of those people that do a huge list for Q3 in the hope that if I get distracted by the few items I want to get finished; I will in fact finish more than one project a quarter! 

Finish Along 2014