Saturday, 31 December 2011

Open in 2012

Well, the Christmas holiday is over and 2011 has drawn to a must be time to look forward to 2012! Happy New Year folks.

So, what's planned for 2012? I think my main two projects this year are surely going to be the Crazy Quilt Journal Project and Take a Stitch Tuesday. But a Christmas gift of this book from my mum may well inspire a new craze:

apron book

I do love a nice apron! Or, as I prefer to call it, a "pinny"! I think I will probably start off with the basic waist apron:

basic waist apron

And then progress to a basic smock apron:

basic smock apron

2012- The Year of the Apron. Watch this space.

When I was having a bit of a clear out over the holidays, I came across a stack of HST units leftover from my scrappy Jacob's Ladder quilt, and having promised a quilt to a friend of mine, I think I will make this the start of a scrappy triangles quilt:


Waif helped with the layout for the photo, and was quite insistent that all the red triangles needed to go in the middle. I wasn't sure, but I think he's quite right! So perhaps scrappy but with red diamonds at the centre of all the blocks. I certainly have plenty of scraps of red after making Gman's quilt.

On a more general level, my aims for 2012 can be summed up in one word: OPEN. I am going to aim to be more OPEN to trying new challenges, OPEN to new ideas, OPEN to accepting change. This will be the year of no-holds barred.

What are your plans for 2012?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas Through the Year - December

Sorry about the terrible photo, but it's evidence, right?

I whipped up this little drawstring lingerie bag for a certain person, who shall remain nameless in case she reads this! There's some pretty undies to go inside of course...

lingerie bag

Hop on over to Allie's blog to see what other folks have made this month.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Turn Out the Lights

It's been a while since I did any art journalling, but I was inspired by something I read this week to put together this spread:

turn out the lights

The page was one I had already prepped with black gesso and I cut the "Turn Out The Lights" from a magazine a while back, knowing that it would come in useful one day!  The reading that inspired it was from a book about Zen koans called Bring Me the Rhinoceros.  I have to concede that a lot of this book is way beyond my level of understanding but there are odd bits that sink in and get me thinking.  This particular koan was about being open to the idea that everything is inconceivable when it comes down to it, so that rather than trying to know the unknown we should "make friends with the inconceivable" and "start an exploration into the unlit realms".  Fascinating stuff and an excuse to break out the metallic pens and silver star stickers :-)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Fickle, me?

I've been thinking and rethinking my idea for 2012's Crazy Quilt Journal Project. In this post, I talked about my idea of each month representing a birth flower. But after giving this some thought, I think this will end up being a very tasteful and feminine quilt. And although there is nothing wrong with tasteful and feminine, it's just not me!!

So, I'm thinking I'm going to go for something a bit more vibrant and colourful, and have started pulling together fabrics in hot pinks, oranges and reds, with silks and sparkly bits and ethnic prints:

indian summer fabric choices
indian summer fabric choices (2)

And with regards to the embellishment and embroidery I'm thinking BEADS and SHISHA MIRRORS and SPARKLY THINGS and SHINY THINGS and SEQUINS and RIBBONS - just generally no holds barred!

Now, doesn't that sound a lot more me??!!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Fenced In is Finally Finished

Ooh, I do like a nice bit of alliteration.

Yes, Waif's quilt "Fenced In" is finally complete and on his bed. He is chuffed to bits with it, and so am I. It has to be my favourite quilt so far (sssh, don't tell his brother). A bit tricky to get a photo that shows it off in all its glory so here are three:

Fenced Infenced in 2fenced in full flat shot

After months of laboriously and lovingly hand quilting with pearl cottons, I passed it on to the Binding Fairy (aka my mum, aka Spidergran) to sew the binding on. Didn't she do a great job?

This is the first time I have used a pieced backing on a quilt and I quite like that too:

fenced in back

although sometimes the multiple seams did make it a bit tricky to get the quilting thread through.

In other news, I knocked up a little penguin Christmas ornament:

round penguin

We have all been enjoying watching the BBC's Frozen Planet and Waif in particular has formed quite a love for penguins. I thought it only fitting that we should have some penguin ornaments to hang on the tree. I stumbled across A Creative Dream blog and June is sharing 15 days of 15 ornaments, including two penguin ornaments amongst others (santas, snowmen, moons, an angel...they are all gorgeous). The tutorial for this particular penguin can be found here although you may notice I have made a couple of lazy stitcher amendments...French knots instead of beads for eyes, and my penguin has a plain scarf...

Waif likes it anyway:

waif models penguin

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas Through the Year - November

Yay, I finally got round to finishing my last Chrismtas name panel! I procrastinate terribly when it comes to finishing off projects - I hate binding - but then find it never takes as long as I think it's going to take.

Anyway, here it is, just in time for November's Christmas Through the Year challenge:

Harry Complete

Check out what other folks have been making here. And a big thanks to Allie for hosting the Christmas Through the Year challenge! I never would have managed to get all these presents made without the encouragement and support of being part of this challenge.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Excitement Mounts

As if I wasn't excited enough about the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012, I have another reason to be even more excited! The reason is that my wonderfully talented and creative mum is also going to be participating in the challenge! And she has started a blog - check out her first blog post here, and see the beautiful crazy quilt wallhanging she made last year.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

What's Your Flower?

So, to the snowdrops...if you guessed it was something to do with the Crazy Quilt Journal Project, you were right!

It started when I came across this in one of our homeschool books:

shakespeare flowers

(Shakespeare for Kids)

Aha! I thought, I can use this list to give me a starting point for each of my crazy quilt journal blocks! And yay! The first month is snowdrop, one of my favourite flowers. So, I started gathering pictures from Flickr for inspiration, and this helped me to pull together this little bundle of scraps to work with for my first block:

fabrics for snowdrop theme

The colours are much nicer in real life, but sadly the light in a British November does not do it justice :-(.

So, I'm thinking I will use each of the flowers as a starting point for each block, to help inform colour themes and embellishment ideas for each month. I may use actual pictoral representations of some of the flowers, but mainly it will be just to give me a starting place for choosing the colours. And as all the flowers will have at least some green for the foliage, this will give a commonality running through all the blocks.

Having had a gander about the interwebs at different lists of birth flowers, there is some variation in what are the "official" birth flowers, so I have chosen my favourites from a variety of sources and these are the ones I will choose:

January - Snowdrop
February - Violet
March - Daffodil
April - Daisy
May - Hawthorn
June - Rose
July - Delphinium
August - Poppy
September - Forget-me-not
October - Calendula
November - Chrysanthemum
December - Holly

I think this will give a nice mix of different colours and variations.

So, if you are doing the CQJP2012, what will you be doing for each of your different month's blocks?. I would love to hear other's ideas :-)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


SnowdropsSnowdropssnowdropsSnowdrop, Clissold ParkSnowdropSnowdrops in Epping Forest
snowdrops, ghiocei - GalanthusSnowdropsSnowdropsSnowdropsSnowdrops_3Snowdrops

Snowdrops, a gallery on Flickr.

Why all the snowdrops? Wait and see :-)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Going Crazy in 2012!

I'm signing up for two challenges in 2012.

The first one will be Sharon of Pintangle's Take a Stitch Tuesday. Check out the details here. Basically, it will involve learning a new embroidery stitch a week.

And so I have somewhere to put all these lovely new embroidery stitches, I am going to join in with the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012. This past year, I've been increasingly realising that it's hand stitching that really lights my fire and I'd like to do more of it. Crazy quilting seems to fit the bill perfectly.

So, the challenge will be to create a crazy patchwork block each month (minimum size 6 x 6 inches) and the idea is that "Blocks should challenge your individual skills. Work to expand your artistic views and improve your technical skills." As I have never done any crazy quilting before, then this will definitely be expanding my skills! I have a bit of a planned theme for the blocks...but more of that in a later post...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A New Love Affair

Other than fabric, threads and art supplies, one other thing I cannot resist is books. I have been a bookworm all my life, and until recently I thought e-readers were a horrible idea. I love the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands, the beauty of a bookshelf stacked with books...why on earth would I want to read books on a gadget?

But then I saw my friend's Kindle and I started to warm to the idea. Like me, she reads fantasy novels and some of them are ridiculously long and heavy enough to cause an injury. And the writing on the Kindle screen looks just like the writing in a book; and you can make it bigger for when your eyes get tired; and you can look words up in the dictionary as soon as you come across them without even leaving your seat! I was convinced.

So when the taxman sent me a refund for £90, about the same as the cost of a Kindle, I figured this must be a sign and I treated myself...just in time for a few days' holiday. Yep, I could go away for a few days and take a stack of books with me, and still hold them all in one hand :-).

So here I am in the hotel, reading in bed with my Kindle:

kindle at bedtime

As you can see, Gman has gone for the more conventional book approach!

And here's my new love on the table in the hotel room:

kindle in the hotel

Shamefaced at carrying my new love round in a jiffy bag, as soon as I got back home I whipped up this case for it:

kindle next to cover
kindle on the inside
kindle on top of cover

I used the tute on 100 Billion Stars' blog, adjusting for the smaller size of the new Kindle. But the totally off centre button fastening is my own special take lol, and not part of the original instructions!

Friday, 11 November 2011


hexies progress nov 2011

So, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 2011, I finished sewing the eleventh ring of hexies to my charm quilt. Cool, huh?

As well as the technicolour photo above, I took one in black and white to check out how the values were working out:

hexies progress nov 2011 b&w

I think it's working out ;-)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Books, Books, Glorious Books!

This weekend I went to the Autumn Quilt Festival. I was remarkably restrained when it came to buying fabric and threads...but then I hit the bookstands:

For some mixed media inspiration:

cps & alchemy

For some art quiltiness:

color & composition

And for some liberated loveliness:

log cabins & folk art

And I'm feeling newly inspired and raring to go!

Meanwhile, I have been beavering away at Fenced In, trying to get the quilting finished by the end of November. I have done most of the houses and trees now, but then there is the perimeter fence to do. Here's a few little tasters:

lighthouseorange stardotty house

The more I work on this quilt, the more I love it!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hand Sewing WIPS

The trouble with hand sewing is that it's slooooow, which doesn't make for lots of photo opps. So you see, I haven't been slacking off the last few weeks, it's just that most of my sewing has been by hand. I'm working like mad to get Waif's "Fenced In" quilt finished before the cold nights set in. Plus adding the odd few hexagons to my charm quilt here and there. I tend not to make much progress on EPP in the darker months, because I find I need natural daylight to be able to see well enough to sew them together and there's not enough of that to be had :-(

Anyway, here's some work-in-progress shots of Fenced In (apologies for the scruffy basting threads that I haven't yet removed!):

quilted house
quilted church
quilted tree

And a little one of my charm quilt. I am about two-thirds of the way round the next "ring":

hexagons wip october 2011

And I have added borders to Harry's name banner. Next job to get this quilted, which I will probably do by machine:

harry with borders

And yes, I have been continuing with the ICAD Challenge. I have even been following prompts from Tammy. Here's "scissors":

icad october #15

And this one's "zebra" (although it does look somewhat like a stripy cow I know!):

icad october #16

I think I may tackle "pineapple" next :-)