Friday, 24 March 2017

Spring is Sprung

It's time for a smile and after popping in on Annie's Friday Smile over at astitchintime I realised that I needed one to cheer myself so I ventured out before my breakfast to wander around our garden on this sunny morning. 
It has been a bit pressured lately with a friend and a family member in hospitals at opposite sides of the city but seeing Annie's post made me think and realise that it shouldn't stop me smiling.
The magnolia above is magnificent. It NEVER ever flowered for 7 years after planting so I gave it a good talking to. A firm ultimatum that it was a waste of space and would be dug out if it didn't flower the next year. Wow! it has amazed me for over 30 years since my threat......
There are two pink camellias heaving with blossom at either side of the garden.
The squirrels are visiting frequently and they seems to be attracted to the centres of the flowers so I think there must be a tasty kernel to be nibbled.
I cannot bare to clear up these wonderful pink treasures and, at the moment, I have no time so that's my excuse!
I bought this amaryllis bulb for a £ in M&S sales and planted it 4th January.
 It was so slow until 2 weeks ago when it blessed us with two heads of flowers. 
Fabulous value for £1.
I had to cut off the first head and put on in a glass of water as it was top heavy
Here's the gift that keeps on giving!!
Thanks again to my DD2 for this beauty which was bought when she was a student over 20 years ago for £1.99 in Woolworth's as a Mother's Day gift. 
To cheer you if you need more smiles pop over to Annie's Blog... it's free and it's always happy.
I'll take these pics in to show my friend in the care home and hope it works Annie's Magic on her too.
So sorry that I haven't called in for a while but, Annie, you have worked your magic for me today!
My friend moved to respite care yesterday so I am off now to see if she is settling in and will pop in to all the other Friday Smiles later.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Patchwork Clocks, Apron & Cushions


With all the hospital visiting I have been doing lately, with family and friends in different hospitals, I haven't had time or patience to concentrate on a major quilting project so I've been making small items in preparation for my quilt group's Summer Show. 
It has been relaxing, stress free and rewarding for me to still produce some makes.

At our Summer Show all members will make and wear an apron as a means to identify them to the visitors and here is mine, full of appliquéd cotton reels and edged with patchwork from scrap fabric. 
Lots of precious bits of Kaffe Fassett fabric there that I cannot waste!
I managed to make several of these clocks as they are so simple to put together from scrap fabric, fused onto a backing with bondaweb, then machined with a satin stitch. 
This one is my favourite.



                                           Then again I love this colour palette....
Oh, but I also love the cotton reel fabric and swirls is so effective.
The clock movements are readily and cheaply available on the internet and are easily fixed to make the clock complete and active.

I found a few panels of hexagons I had hand stitched ages ago on my travels so I thought they would make up into cushions for the tombola. A quick fix from my stash of UFOs.
My lovely neighbour and friend has passed me so much treasure from clearing out the sewing stash of her sister, who recently died. I made two of her hand embroidered panels into these cushions and think that they turned out really effectively. Thanks and all credit to the handiwork of Evelyn.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Patchwork Nightmare Produces a Cushion

I am in the middle of so many makes but I still made the  mistake of taking on a group project last week.  Most of my quilt group have joined a "block of the week" project and asked me to participate. Just one block a week, I thought, OK, no problem, I'll be learning new things and the result will be a gorgeous quilt in a few months. Let's get started as I had 3 blocks to catch up as the others started whilst I was away in Devon. 
Nightmare!
Hours later my heart was pounding and the block was unfinished so I threw it and tried the next one. Impossible instructions and confusing information, so that one almost ended in the bin when I realised that I really don't need this. I enjoy my stitching too much and find it relaxing.... USUALLY. Sooooo, I made the bits and pieces, I was attempting to juggle, into a block of my own and turned it into a pleasant cushion towards the tombola at our forthcoming group exhibition. 
Not perfect  points but, hey ho, it's a cushion!!!
 I also made one of my practise feather blocks into a cushion..... 5 more to go for the show and I love making them so much I intend to use up lots of scrap fabric and make a "feather" quilt.
Finally for this week, I finished "Penelope Patchwork", adding lots of little details. 
Spot the tiny pencil and ruler in her pocket and she just had to have a bag stuffed full of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric. I actually parted with some of my collection of vintage buttons too. 
One of the members of my quilt group pleaded with me to sell Penelope to her but she is going to keep me company in my sewing room.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Patchwork Feathers, Liberty Random Quilt & Patchwork Penelope


At last my Christmas post will not be the top page of my blog. I haven't sewn for ages but I am making up for lost time. 
Well again after the ravages of a nasty virus I'm back in action.
I have been inspired by several blogs to make some feather blocks for cushions to donate to my quilt group tombola stall at our July exhibition. I looked on pinterest and Youtube for patterns and there were so many different versions that I decided to play around and make them up in my own way. I might make them a bit longer but thinner for my quilt. We'll see!
I've made six "experiments" which will go to make cushions and I love them so much that I have now decided to make a quilt. I also want to make some arrow. Such a great way to use up scraps of fabric.
I have finished another of my favourite makes... a Liberty Fabric Quilt top. Random 4 inch squares, easy peasy and so relaxing to sew whilst listenening to the radio. So stress free, calming and therapeutic for me to make.
This style of quilt looks so old fashioned and I love it. It is just manageable to machine quilt and finish all be myself as the Liberty Tana Lawn is light to handle and moves readily through the machine neck.
I
Recently, my fabric shelves had a good clear out and in doing so I discovered the beginnings of "Patchwork Penelope" hiding under several fat quarters. I enjoyed finishing off the appliqué and now I will back it, bind it, quilt it, then add some buttons, beads and other bits of interest to make her into a hanging.
Penelope was inspired by much larger hangings and drawings of humorous, cartoon style, quilters I had seen on the internet and a few years ago I drew my own smaller version but never finished her and she became a UFO.

I visited the craft show at Event City in Manchester last week. It was a pleasant day out but with not much to interest me. Lots of card making stands, (particularly for lacy die cutting) but very little fabric stands so I didn't manage to buy anything on my little list.
I really enjoyed the Japanese exhibition, linked to a company running tours, and here are a few highlights.
 .



There was a knitted project by people in Cardigan, Wales, of this gigantic cardigan telling the story of the place and it's history.

This clever little piece made excellent use of the fabric print 






Friday, 16 December 2016

Snowmen Candy Wraps for a 200th Friday Smile




I am getting things together for Christmas and I've managed to put up two Christmas trees, an easy fibre optic one in the living room and a bigger one in the dining room. I've decorated the living room windows with a swag of greenery with some lights and also fastened a wreath of lights to our front door so in the grand scheme of things I am doing OK with my festive plans.
Next week I will enjoy a Christmas dinner with my quilt group so I made all the 20 members one of these little chocolate bars with snowmen wraps instead of a card. They are so easy to make and there are plenty of free printable templates on pinterest if anyone wants to make some. I have made these little characters for many years now and I use scraps of fleece for the hats and scarves, which only need a few stitches to seam the hats, as it doesn't fray. 
If I am in need of more fabric I buy a red felt sack or a Santa suit from a £1 shop to cut up, as it is far cheaper than buying felt from a fabric store.

 I also made the table cloth above right for the Christmas dinner table from a fabric remnant. It doesn't look much crumpled up there but it only needs pressing before I use it.
I can't believe how time has flown since last week when I was in Germany visiting part of my family.
We enjoyed the Christmas markets especially the mediaeval market in the old town where all the stall holders dressed in period costume and they only sold traditional crafts which would have been made for that time.
We couldn't pass this stalwart mediaeval mob through to the stalls, until we had dropped money into their coffers, which I presume and hoped was for charity.
CELEBRATIONS!!
I am popping over to Annie's blog to join in her weekly Friday Smile but this week is a very special day as it is the 200th time she has brought her smiles to us and invited us to share our own smiles too. Annie is such a lovely lovely person and we got to know each other through blog land and we have subsequently met up in real life too. She really is a ray of sunshine, the kindest person who is always willing to help and it makes me smile just to think about her.
Huge Happy Friday Smile 200th Anniversary
 and thank you so much for giving so many of us hundreds of smiles. 
It makes us all realise how lucky we are even when we are feeling down.











Friday, 9 December 2016

Visit to Germany as Advent began.




 Back home after my trip to Germany and what a lovely way to start Advent. 
The mini hats, that I knitted quite some years ago, made another appearance along with the fabric boots which are only a couple of years old.

My daughter started off her decorations with this swag of greenery, lights and bows, up the staircase.
We ventured out on a very cold and frosty Sunday morning (-5C) to visit the local animal park for the children to join in a Christmas event.
First the children chopped fruit and vegetables (with really sharp knives) which would never have been allowed in England with all our "health and safety" attitude. No fingers were cut even though some of the children were only 3 years old. Great experience!
They then ground seeds before mixing into the bowls of veg and fruit.


Burning logs in a brazier warmed us and smelled amazing.

We all visited the animals so the children could feed them the food they had prepared.
I really loved this white alpaca and he looked like he was wearing a bad toupee.
I had so much fun with the German half of my family but he is going to be my 
Friday Smile for Annie.... who reckons that this fellow is a "Trump" lookalike!!!
Join in for a bit of fun or just pop over to see some more of Annie's weekly happy post.
The only one we had to beware of was this fine buck
Back into the barn and time for making some decorations from straw, wire and beads.....


 then we sat around the tree, decorated with the children's rustic baubles and stars, for hot chocolate and carols.
It was a wonderful visit and it only cost 1 euro each! Simple fun for all and what a memory for all the little ones.