Thursday, 9 April 2015

Block of the Month & Friday Smile for Donna's Doo

I have been here there and everywhere, including two trips away from home) but haven't had time to post anything here for quite a while. 
Each month I am having fun swapping a Block of the Month with Diane the Cheshire Quilter and when I received this lovely blue heart from her I realised that it must be April. Hang on! Where did March go? My snail trail block still hasn't arrived so I guess I'll have to have another bash at it soon.
 I braved an attempt, or two or three at the Basket Block. It was a struggle for me to produce anything near perfect enough to send Diane. No 1 went in the scraps, this is No 2 below and I posted No 3 (the best of the three) to Diane. 
I forgot to take a photo of it, in my haste to get to the post office, so No 2 will stay here. 
If you'd really like to scrutinise and compare it with No 3, pop over in a day or two to Diane's blog, when it has arrived. 
Thanks so much to Diane for bearing with me and helping me on my learning curve and I did post to the correct house number this time so we don't have any more snail mail!!!

Now I'm joining in with Annie's Friday Smile
Why not share your smile and make the weekend brighter?
I got together last week with my lovely friend, Dolores, to join our mutual friend Donna in Derby for quite an unusual doo. It was a multi celebration as Donna had her 50th birthday, she is moving to live in France, she was married last year and her Dad was 80. Wow! 
The celebration was a ceilidh and we were all invited to dress as French Onion sellers. So we did!!!
Here's the birthday girl, Donna and we wish her and her husband, good luck and  every happiness in their new lives in France. What an adventure for them.
 I'm sure lots of regulars to my blog will remember Donna (Doone) and join us in wishing her well.
Bonjour from Dolores and her DBF (great 'tash!)
and "Allo, Allo" from Me and DH
I had spent ages stringing together dozens of heads of garlic to take with me and Dolores, wisely, bought a string of plastic onions but we both forgot to take them to the party! I came back home after our few days away and my house still reeked of garlic! As went to the party we had to stop at traffic lights and I can tell you, a few heads turned and smiled as they spotted us in our outfits.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Prairie Queen Block and the Snail That Got Away

My block of the month swap for Diane (the Cheshire Quilter) is still sliding it's way from Liverpool to Crewe after being posted on 2nd March so I'm sending her this one in it's place, the Prairie Queen Block. 
Who knows, my original  Snail Trail Block might eventually arrive by snail mail.
I participated in the challenge set by Diane's group last month and this is my super return swap. I am really thrilled to receive this cute Japanese style bag in return. I love it and I'll certainly be having a go at making some for myself, one day, as it's such a great design.
 I do hope that Diane will pass on my sincere thanks to whoever made it,  on my behalf.
This camelia was a Mother's Day gift from one of my DDs and it was planted over 20 years ago. I love it so much and add a pic of it each year on my blog.
She was a student at the time and her lovely little gift only cost £1.99 in Woolworths. Situated in sight of our living room window, it flowers beautifully each year and has certainly given us all such  lasting pleasure.  The blackbirds and the squirrels peck away at the centre of the fallen flowerheads so I think there must be a kernel or something tasty for them at the heart. I chased the squirrels from planting them in the middle of the lawn the other day.
Here it is today, just in perfect time for Mother's Day and almost a month earlier than usual.
Last year it flowered early April ........and in 2013 it didn't flower until late April

Friday, 13 March 2015

Applique & Friday Smile

I've been happily enjoying making appliqué by machine. I made one block for a swap and then decided I would make more for a quilt and now I've completed at least a half dozen. 
It's good to at last put some of the decorative stitches on my super duper sewing machine to good use.
These will be squares with patchwork sashes in between.
I must mention this wonderful pen just incase some of you haven't discovered them.
I can scribble my designs (as in next pic) or mark positions to see if they are suitable, then quick as a wink, the marks will disappear at the touch of a light iron. 
FriXion Pens by Pilot are just magic and a quilter or sewer's dream.
They also work by friction, (as the name implies),like an eraser, on paper or card, if the base tip is rubbed over the marks. 

I advise trying them on a spare piece of the same fabric or paper to ensure they work on the surface you will use. 
They don't work on newspaper, so no good to erase those crossword errors! 
They are available in a range of basic colours and highlighter shades.
It's Friday and time for a smile, courtesy of Annie
On a visit to Chester we noticed the Oddfellows Hall in Bridge Street which is now a hotel and restaurant. A very quirky one at that.
This room is themed and inspired by Alice in Wonderland with a huge table set in the centre for afternoon teas Mad Hatter Style but look at that ceiling!!
The traditional wood panelled walls have fabulous images on them. So unusual but so effective.

We promised ourselves and afternoon tea there one day, should be fun!
Have a good weekend and remember to smile! 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Basket Block of the Month & Friday Smile

I had a lovely surprise when this patchwork block popped through the letterbox from Diane, the Cheshire Quilter, for our monthly swap. I love it and look forward to making this one in return. Never tried it before and must admit it looks a bit tricky and I'm a bit daunted by it. 
I chose to make this Snail Trail block this month for my swap. 
It has been a real challenge to me to try out new blocks but I do hope that, one day, I end up as competent as Diane. Her blocks are so perfect in detail.
Friday Smile
I was browsing old photos and sorting them into files when I spotted this one that I took at a parade in Liverpool City Centre. Co-incidentally it matches the colour palette of the basket block! 
I must tell you, incase you don't look closely, that most of the "NUNS" were MEN in drag.
I thought I'd join in with Annie's Friday Smile with this close up of this chap having a quick smoke after the parade. 
Lots more smiles to be had over at Annie's blog so join in or pop over for a chuckle.
 Hope you have a good weekend..... the sun is shining and the flowers are pushing up so SMILE!
It's painless, it costs nothing and it makes you feel good!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Swap Blocks & Liberty Hexagons

I've been busy in many ways this week, and out and about, but still managed to get some sewing completed.
This is my "Block of the Month" for my quilting group Quilt Cornerstone (take a look for lots of stitched treasures.)
I decided to have a go at appliqué and I must admit that I really do enjoy it.
I also made a traditional patchwork block and chose this Fig Leaf, (below) one I had never before tried.
The colour palette was chosen by Mo in our group and usually we are given a set block to make each month but Mo gave us free rein to do as we wished. It will be interesting to see all the different designs members bring in and also to see what Mo makes of them all.
I am also swapping monthly with Diane of Crewe, the Cheshire Quilter, who has been a big help to me. Diane kindly led me in the right direction for learning new skills by giving me me patterns and instructions of several blocks to make month by month and this time I selected the "Snail Trail". 
First time I've made this too so I'm hoping it's OK.
Later in the month I am leaving DH to fend for himself (with a freezer full of home cooked food) whilst I visit our German branch of the family all on my own some. I always take something to stitch when I'm travelling and lately I've been making 1 inch hexagons from my stash of Liberty fabrics. 
I've already gifted several needle cases that I've made using these tiny Granny's Garden shapes but I love stitching them so I continued, totally undecided what I will make from the rest.
Last year I completed a full sized, handstitched, 1 1/2 inch hexagon quilt... all made in time that would otherwise have been wasted. 
It is amazing too how it is an icebreaker to conversation with fellow travellers, who are often interested in knowing more about what I'm doing.
Liberty Tana Lawn is so lovely to handle and stitch and the designs are fabulous.
Here's my little box of prepped 1 inch hexies and cut fabric shapes to pop in my bag to sew on the go!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Needle Cases & My Cornish Quilt

I have been busy enjoying a visit from my lovely Brighton grandees but last week I managed to make these needle cases as gifts for friends. 
Now they've arrived with their new owners I can show them here.
All completely hand stitched using my favourite Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics.
One in mixed colours for my special friend Dolores.......but the background had to be the bright pink that she loves so much.
One to help raise funds for a very worthwhile charity drive for Zoe.....
and one for another lovely friend, Lee in Cornwall.
Be sure to take a look at the new blog of my quilting group
Lots of ideas and quality makes from group members.
We'll have a followers button installed very soon!
A couple of weeks ago, Lee kindly sent me a pack of charm squares as a surprise gift and this is the little quilt I made with them. I love making it and I love the results and the colour palette.
Huge thanks to you Lee, it's a little treasure.
Super patterns on the fabric.
The backing.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Quilty Valentine, Swap & Challenge

I've started swapping blocks, thanks to Diane (the Cheshire Quilter) and I have also joined in with the challenge in her quilt group. One of the topics for Diane's blocks was this heart design so I thought it would be appropriate if this was my first choice to complete in time for Valentine's Day so it can serve as a greeting from me to you! 
Have a very special day and appreciate all the love you share.

The other day I showed this picture below of my start for the challenge. Diane sent me 12 charm squares and I could make anything I wished from them, for a swap. 
Before I continued I removed the few dark squares as I felt that they just didn't tone in and on this picture they stick out like a sore thumb.
Next stage I lined and edged the strips, sandwiching them with light batting.
Some super fabrics there and a lovely colour palette.
The four strips were joined at their bases like the spokes of a windmill.
Then when the sides were joined up, hey presto! it made a simplified version of the Windmill Bag.
I do hope that whoever gets it in the draw, likes it!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

How to Train Your Dragon Costume

I wonder if you can guess what I've made? The title of this post is a huge clue!
These little lumps are component parts for the latest fancy dress costume request from one of my grandees. I couldn't find my paper clay so, I made blobs of plaster filler and when they had dried I sprayed them gold, then painted them silver with a Krylon pen.
I expected the costume to be floaty, pretty, and like a princess but when I received her request this is who she would like to be.... the character is Astrid from the film "How to Train Your Dragon". 
There's attitude for you, and so different from Ella and Anna of "Frozen", Merida of "Brave" or the other pretty costumes I've made for the girlies.

It took a bit of thinking to figure out how to get it all together but those studs worked well on the armour shoulder pieces. I bought a piece of grey synthetic leather cloth and the Krylon pen gave it the metallic look it needed.

I made cuffs with fake lacings
The fake fur collar hood looks so effective and the strap with brad studs is for the headband.
I couldn't risk real metal, pointed studs for a 5 year old so I gave the impression by gluing silver flexible tags for safety. I think we'll give the axe a miss too!
I can't wait to make the finishing touches at the weekend and to see her dress rehearsal. Watch this space.........