Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow it's been a while, life just got silly, hopefully it will calm down a little now.

I have done virtually no quilting just a little quilt and pillow for my niece's doll's cot. It was for Christmas and as usual I did it at the last minute, then consequently forgot to take photos, oops!

Deciding that I had to do something creative I dug out a black work cushion I have been wanting to make for several years and am doing a little of that each day. Have put the camera batteries on charge so I can take a picture later.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

English Rose

Here is my finished piece for the Good Ol’ Summertime quilt swap.


It has been sitting in my wip pile for some time, I didn’t know what to do with it and was half thinking of making it into a cushion.

When I went through the ufo/wips last week it hit me it would be perfect for the swap, and I suddenly knew exactly how I wanted to finish it. Its amazing how quickly one can finish something when inspiration strikes.

It will be winging its way overseas early next week I hope my partner likes it.

Size: 16” square

Techniques: Patchwork, appliqué with satin stitch edging, quilting all done by machine.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plum Jam

We’ve had a bumper crop of Victoria plums on the tree in the garden.plums jam

 plum jam

So I’ve been busy making yummy plum jam….

Recipe: Victoria Plum Jam

3lb plums

2 3/4lb sugar

knob of butter

Put the sugar in an oven proof dish and put in the oven on a low heat.

Halve and stone the plums. Put in a jam/large pan with approximately 1 pint of cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer gently until the plums are cooked and squashy -approx 15 minutes.

Add the warmed sugar and stir to dissolve. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for approx 10 minutes then test for set. When setting point is reached take off the heat and stir in the butter to disperse any scum. Ladle into warmed jam jars put on lids and leave to cool. Enjoy! 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Ol’ Summertime Mini Quilt Swap

Bank Holidays are always a good time to play catch up, so I’ve been busy with my camera. I finally got around to taking pictures of the cute mini quilt I received, a few weeks ago from Kristine, for the ‘Good Ol’ Summertime’ Mini Quilt swap.


Kristine was hot off the starting block and had it made and mailed out to me before I had even begun to think about about what to make. She also sent me this cute pack of notelet cards. 


Thanks Kris the quilt and the cards are great.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

UFO’s or should that be WIP’s?

Today I have also been sorting through all my UFO’s (unfinished objects) or WIP’s (works in progress). I thought there were about six but horrifically there are 20, you can see them listed in the side bar. humm….


This is just one of them I blogged about it here last year when I started it! The attic windows play mat, the child I was making it for is now walking, so I guess she won’t be needing it!

So my challenge is to try to finish at least three of them before the end of the year. Or should I finish one before I am allowed to begin a new project, a tactic I have used successfully in the past. Maybe I should do both……. decisions decisions…..!!

Finally a Design Wall!

Today I finally made myself a design wall, using about 2 ½ metres of fabric in the process.

About a month ago (after some nagging from me) Tony, my lovely partner, put up hanging brackets and found a long length of wood to use as a baton for a design wall, all it needed was for me to add the fabric.

I took down the temporary design wall, part of an old bed sheet to which everything needed to be pinned. It was also rather narrow, being just about wide enough for a cot quilt!

Since then I have been procrastinating about making a new one, because I thought the flannel fabric, which had been hanging around my studio for at least a year, would need piecing. However, when it was unwrapped I discovered it was over 100" wide, and just needed cutting to size and a hanging sleeve added!
As the new one is made of flannel fabric, blocks and fabrics should cling to it without the need for pins, and as it is a much better size it should be able to take a double bed quilt.

Time taken to measure cut, sew and hang – approximately 30minutes.
Time taken to think/procrastinate about it - approximately 4 weeks........ho hum is there a lesson here?!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Receipe for Fairy cakes

Oven temp: 190
2 x bun tins lined with paper cases

Makes 24
6oz butter
6oz castor sugar
6oz SR flour
3 lrg eggs

Throw everything in the food processor and zap until all smooth and unlumpy
spoon into paper cases
bake in oven for 20 - 25 mins until risen and golden

When cool decorate with icing and sprinkles
Eat and enjoy

Banana Cake Recipe

Oven temp: 170
7 inch cake tin, line base with waxed paper

4oz butter
4oz castor sugar
6oz SR flour
1 lrg egg
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps milk

Lightly mash the bananas
Dissolve the bicarb in the milk
Throw everything in the food processor, zap until everything is mixed all smooth and unlumpy
Pour into cake tin and bake in oven until risen and golden, approx 1 hour

When cool cover with icing and decorate with walnut halves (if liked!)

Cooking up a storm

I've been Little Miss domesticity again!

Banana Cake waiting to be iced, its supposed to be banana and walnut but we don't like wallnuts so I miss them out!

Fairy cakes iced and ready to eat!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spring Blooms Mini-Quilt Swap II

Look what arrived in the post 2 weeks ago.

Toni made and sent me this fabulous wall hanging, for the Spring Bloom mini quilt swap.
She also included this fantastic beaded keychain made by her as well.

Thanks Toni I love them both.

The quilt is hanging on my design wall at the moment; I just need to decide where its permanent home will be. My keys are hanging off the key chain and have been for two weeks now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spring Blooms Mini-Quilt Swap

This is the quilt I made for the Spring Blooms Mini-Quilt Swap which I joined earlier in the year.

This picture does not do the quilt justice, the orange square in the middle of the flower does not show a dark colour behind it, there isn't a dark colour behind it. I couldn't get a really good picture of it and as time was running out I have to be satisfied with this!

The quilt is machine pieced and quilted from an adapted version of this pattern 'Ladybug Playground' from Seattle Bay Fabrics, scroll down the page it is at the bottom.

It measures about 12" x 20" I cannot remember the exact measurements, I didn't write them down...

It was touch and go whether it would get finished in time, but a little burning of the 'midnight oil' and it was finished packed and mailed on Monday afternoon. Monday being the deadline for posting. Phew! I hope the recipient will like it, I cannot put a link to her blog yet as it is a mystery swap, but as soon as she receives the quilt I will.

I haven't taken part in a quilt swap before so this was a little scary, isn't anything new?! But it was good fun, so.... flushed with my success I have just joined the In the Good Ol’ Summertime Mini Quilt Swap also organised by Michele. Details for joining here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday - My Day!

On Sundays I try, whenever possible, to spend as much time as I can stitching or doing stitching related things. Today I decided to tackle the fabric waiting to be washed. Later, I will put up an embarrassing roll call, of just what I had stuffed it into 2 carrier bags.
Here's the coloured stuff, the white is already in the washer.
Now I have a confession to make..... after banging on about being frugal in an earlier post, last weekend I caved and bought more fabric! Obviously with very good reason!! :D

To cut a long story short, and having designed a quilt which I want to make in hand dyed silk. Back in April, the lovely Pat and Peter of Just Sew in Penrith gave me a bag of silk fabric to look through to decide if it was suitable. It was well past time I returned what I didn't want so I went to the shop! No point in wasting a journey, so I bought 8 metres of fabric for dyeing, I'd run out! I'd also run out of white on white fabric so I bought some of that too, 5 metres in fact! Oh yes and the 6.5 metres silk! eek!!
See, I need to stay out of fabric shops..... I've recently seen some fabulous fabrics on the web........

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Panda Fun

I have had very little time to sew this last week! But I have been sneaking to my machine in the odd 15 minutes I have managed to 'steal' and have been busy making the turnstile blocks for the Panda quilt. This is where I was at lunchtime today........

And finally this evening I have finished the turnstile border yee haa!

I have used a slightly different layout to AJ that's because I am using fabric from my stash, and didn't have enough of either the green or the turquoise fabrics! Now I just need to add the final borders and quilt it Yah!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scrap and stash busting

I am in a very frugal mode at present, and am trying to use only fabric from my stash and/or scrap box.

This is partly because of the credit crunch, the wish to be greener, and also because I can barely move in my studio for the amount of fabric I have, this last is what I am convinced is stifling my creativity. My frugal self is objecting strongly to me buying yet more when I cannot accommodate or have yet to use what I already have, and is drowning out my creative spontaneous and spendthrift self.

So whilst Ms Frugal reigns supreme I am working with what I already have. When I ran out of cream fabric this afternoon (see earlier post) Ms Spendthrift was all for running off the the local fabric shop to buy more, and to be honest at one time that is exactly what I would have done. But Ms Frugal said 'No, lets have a look and see if there is something else we can use', and sure enough I found a different but similar fabric to complete my project. So I saved some money, now lets be honest here too, a lot of money was saved coz once inside the fabric shop it would have been more that the 'needed' amount that would have been bought!! I also saved on a car journey helping to keep my carbon footprint down too!

The fight with the Panda continues!

Week 5 (in my case day 2) Turnstile Borders
The saga of cutting out pieces the wrong size continues! Last night I foolishly decided to cut out the fabric for the turnstile border, even though I was tired.

Consequently I cut the first set of cream/white triangles too big and have to trim them all, cut out only half the required number of the second set of cream/white triangles, and have now run out of that fabric. A bit of jiggery pokery was called for and fortunately I found I have a very similar fabric which I am adding.
On a more positive note I have successfully sewn 5 of the turnstile blocks here are two of them!
And here's pic of week 4 adding the top and bottom border, this was one area I managed to do successfully without any foul ups!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Panda quilt along

Am now up to week 3, AJ has just posted the 6th and final week here so I'm half way there!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Panda quilt along - head and body together

He still needs his back legs and his ears finishing off, will do that tomorrow, its now time for bed!

Panda quilt along - progress

Happily everything went much better after supper. I managed to cut the pieces out without mishap, so he now has a body!

Panda quilt along

I saw a really cute Panda quilt along on AJ's Blog and have been tempted to join in... Thought it would be fun to spend the afternoon playing catchup..... I'm only 5 weeks behind!

Have learnt that I can't follow clear precise instructions even if they come with very good diagrams/pictures?!

I cut out the face, cutting several pieces the wrong size in the process!

When I began to piece it and realised I had no back ground fabric, and was consequently 2 pieces short. The only fabric I liked and had enough of needed washing.
(Note to self wash all the fabric recently bought... eeek there's yards of it!)
Then the picture went horribly wrong, I managed to lose the ears in the background, had to place it on a white background so you could see it.

Not sure this panda likes me :0)

However, here's my progress so far.

Will now have a break, go make some supper, then back to the attack this evening perhaps.....?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Gem/Twilt

Why as someone who doesn't 'do' flowers am I drawn to flowers of late?
Its half term my youngest son is at my brother's, I had an entire day to sew so I made another stash busting twilt for the Little Gem tombola.

Size: A4 (approx 11 3/4" x 8 1/4")
Techniques: piecing, machine quilting with a multi-coloured thread
Fabrics: all from my scrap box so perhaps that's not stash busting, the greens are hand dyed the rest commercial prints.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twilt Tuesday

Ooops I put the link in but forgot to say Twilt Tuesday is an idea of Shelley Swanland for more info pop over to Shelly's blog, then why not join in? :)

Finished it!

Twilt Tuesday. Must confess I didn't finish it today finished it at the weekend but only just got round to taking a picture, does it still count?! :)

'Curves Conquered' is now all finished the quilting is done, the label made and attached along with the binding and hanging sleeve. This one is going on my wall.

Size 15.5" x 19"
Techniques: curved piecing, machine quilting with glittery metallic threads, my first really successful attempt using these threads
Fabrics: Commercial and hand dyed fabrics all from my stash, which makes it a stash buster quilt too, woo hoo!

Thinking of having another go at some more pieced curves now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Curves Conquered - update

Have spent the weekend quilting the sample I began at the Anja Townrow workshop last weekend and have sewn the binding on this morning, it just needs hand stitching in place. Now I know this will come as a shock to people as(I constantly tell your) I am no hand sewer but I do like to hand finish my bindings. I find it is the only way I can get everything stitched down and kept in place without any flappy bits! I am saving this last bit to do next weekend when I have the delightful pleasure of watching lots of sweaty 13 yr old boys run round a field after a bag of wind... yes my son has a football (soccer to our friends from across the pond) tournament on, I can hardly wait, just hope the weather bucks up a bit. Spring and summer appear to be over and now we are back to autumn, its cold, windy,and raining in buckets, out there!

I digress... Anja is a great one for quilting with more unusual threads not just run of the mill invisible or cottons. I have lots of metallics in my stash (who doesn't?) but have never used them for quilting before (they invariably shred, get tangled, break needles etc.). So following Anja's advice I was able to use them successfully, and I now have a quilt with bling or should that be a bling quilt?!

I managed to quilt it with only one broken needle caused by the one thread that wouldn't behave itself, but I refused to give in and forced it to become part of the quilt, it was of course the one I wanted to, and did, do most of the quilting in!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Busy Weekend

Saturday we had a great Regional day at Braithwaite Near Keswick, with speakers Eileen Blood, and Anja Townrow. Lots of people there plenty of things to enable us to indulge in a bit of retail therapy including a visit from the Guild President Margaret Hughes. Who happened to be having a couple of days off in the 'Lakes' so she popped in to say hello, which was really nice of her.

All this excitement was followed by, on Sunday, an excellent workshop with Anja on curved piecing . You can see my pieced but yet to be quilted sample above. As someone who doesn't do curves (I applique drunkards path) this workshop was a revelation. I finished the piecing at home yesterday, which is unlike many pieces I begin in workshops that never see the light of day again!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beaded Necklace

This is what I have been making since Sunday in any spare minutes available.

Unfortunately my pix do not do it justice. You can see it at the Bead Merchant its the deep purples.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This is what I have been doing creatively today.

Yes 2 x 9-patch blocks I didn't have a lot of time, they measure 6" when finished.
Not sure what I will do with them yet, I may even make some more, today I just wanted a little playtime:0)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yet another little gem

This is the latest little gem.
Size: A4 (approx 11 3/4" x 8 1/4")
Techniques: Fabric weaving, machine quilting embellishment.
These are great for experimenting and playing with new ideas and techniques without too much commitment. I think am getting a little addicted:-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Little Gem

Here is my latest Little Gem 'Pink & Pretty'.

Size: A4 (approx 11 3/4" x 8 1/4").
Techniques used: machine embroidery, applique and quilting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Delights of dog walking

I remembered to take my camera when I took the dogs out today. We take them down to a long ago abandoned quarry, now reverted back to nature, and around the fields, hence the pics of the flowering hawthorn and gorse. It all looks very beautiful, the hawthorn is incredibly pretty and delicate unlike its thorns!

I took the camera with the intention of taking a pic of a flowering tree, wouldn't you know it that is the only thing I didn't manage to get a half way decent pic of, will have to take the camera again tomorrow and try again, hope it is still looking as magnificent.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finished Little Gem

Here it is in all its glory my own Little Gem - 'Sunflower'

My Little Gem

As promised I sarted a little gem, I cut it out, and using bondaweb, I glued it down, then life, stuff and small boys though perhaps I should call them teenagers at 12 and 13, required feeding. On a side note just how did my baby get to be 13 so fast, it was only yesterday he was a toddler... wasn't it?!

Then my nephew needed taking home, relatives had to be visited with as I was in the area, and before you know it its Saturday already and my little gem sits all alone and lonely on the ironing board!
Now to cheer it up I'd best go find some wadding, backing fabric, do some quilting!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Littel Gems

I really need to begin making a Little Gem I have been procrastinating about doing this for weeks now. How hard can it be to make an A4 journal type quilt?
I have been procrastinating about a lot of things lately come to that, but my 'Get up and Go' seems to have got up and gone!
Click on the link to find out about the CQ Little Gems fundraiser.
In the meantime I really must go and start one.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eye Candy

I know I know I don't 'do' pink, but they just go so well with the green

I've went shopping only went for a look and maybe get a new stamp, but I couldn't resist these fabulous buttons. Couldn't you just eat them?!
Buttons are soooo tactile I remember as a child routing in both my mother and my grandmother's button tins they had a unique smell which mine doesn't. Maybe I should put them in a tin, at present they are in a plastic container.
Now to think of a use for them other than drooling over them of course!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Austrailian bush fires - what we quilters can do

I have just read Jenny Bowker's blog about what we as quilters can do to help quilters in Australia after the devastating fires in Victoria. Please read Jenny's post and see if there is something you could send.

Thanks to Freida Oxenholme for posting the link on the cqgb yahoo group, I now feel I can help in a very small way, so I'm off to rummage through my stash!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Re-organising the house

Today we had the dining room chimney swept, and have had a fire going all day to warm the chimney and the room. Why am I telling you this? Well I finally bit the bullet and decided to rearrange the house. What was the dining room has now become the sitting room, the sitting room has become the dining room and (this is the best bit for me) I shall be able to use it as an extension of my sewing studio.

Some time ago I blogged about how my studio was too small or maybe my stash is too big, but lets not go there. After lots of thought, discussion, and procrastination we decided to have the chimney swept to see if the fire was viable, the house is old and cold the central heating does little other than take the chill off so a viable fire is a necessity.

As the fire seems to work just fine I have spent the day cleaning and moving furniture, the sitting room is now organised so I can go and flop later. The dining room is getting organised
and if I can rearrange the furniture some more tomorrow I will hopefully finally get a dedicated design wall. Ooooh I'm soo excited!

Why we have not done this before is a mystery as the new sitting room is much cosier and will be much easier to keep warm. Oh the wisdom of hind sight!

The dining room/studio is usually reasonably warm during the day as it gets plenty of sunshine but will be quite cool in the evenings, so I will have to organise my time accordingly.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two steps forward one step back

Look what my little piles have morphed into, long piles of fabric.

Oh how I have cursed my original P&Q teacher today as I sat unpicking yet another seam. When she taught me to quilt we weren't allowed to proceed until every point matched as it should, and so we learnt the delicate art of unpicking, something in which I now consider myself something of an expert! As I removed each piece from the machine I held my breath as I checked the points did they match? Well most did but some were not quite there. All I could hear was Babs saying "would you like me to help you unpick that bit" grrrr, of course then I had to unpick and redo the offending bits!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The progress of the quilt

As you can see I'm a messy worker (I thought I'd tidied up before taking these pix!) I just shuv things out of the way as I go. I am always impressed by the tidy way most people seem to work when I am doing workshops, unfortunately it seems I'm just not made that way!

The tree outside the gate.

Welcome Signs of Spring

There are lots of snowdrops flowering in the orchard and the hedge bottom.

The daffodils are pushing through too, does this mean spring is on the way? It doesn't feel like it!

There's snow on them there hills!

Snow on Caldbeck
We had a good covering of snow on Monday, which it is mostly gone now but as you can see its still covering Caldbeck.




The puppies are now 11 months old and still as excitable as ever especially when out for a walk. Cathcing them on camera is not easy, we have a lot of pictures of their bottoms!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cerise quilt - update

Tonight I've been playing 'cut a few, pin a few, sew a few, and press a few'! I find it takes the tedium out of cutting out my fabrics.
Apologies for the colour of the cerise it is much more palatable in the flesh as it were.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marmalade - update

Cooked and resting before bottling.

Toast and marmalade for tomorrow's breakfast me thinks yum yum!

A yield of almost 7lb of scrummy marmalade, I know its scrummy coz I cleaned out the pan!

As you can see I recycle any and every jam/honey jar that crosses the threshold! I know you are supposed to use those waxed disks and cellophane on the top but I don't, I used to until one year I made some jam then discovered I had non in so I just put the lids on, all was well so I haven't bought any since. I do discard any lids which are going rusty though.

I will freeze all bar a couple of jars, as I find it keeps longer and tastes like it was just made, I freeze my homemade jams too.