Tuesday, 27 July 2010

the monkeys left the circus

I got totally distracted today. My copy of Fat Quarterly issue 2 arrived this morning and I got anxious to start on a new quilt. Funnily enough the same person that distracted me so much I had to make the kaleidoscope quilt top in record time is the lady behind this pattern too. Hmm. I think she works some voodoo magic on me like a quilty Pied Piper. Jen's pattern is called Circus Monkey but there are no monkeys in my quilt. My monkey's left the circus.

Earlier I was chatting to Jennie about starting this quilt some time after the weekend but once I started pulling fabrics out of my stash I thought 'oh, I'll just cut some squares to get me started' and then once I'd cut out enough squares to make a start I figured I may as well sew those blocks just to see how they looked. Well, before I knew it I had 6 blocks finished and another 6 half way done. Pretty good going considering I wasn't really thinking too much about it.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of the quilt (which Jennifer has made using Lecien fabrics and I am making with Alexander Henry Willow and some random dots from my stash) head over to the FQ blog and get your copy now!
We've had an awesomely busy day today, and are still sending out copies to subscribers. If you haven't had your copy by tomorrow then give us a shout. All the subs are sent out manually and there are a LOT of you, which is amazing and wonderful and makes us all burst with pride.
This issue is a biggie - about twice the size of file than issue 1 and with a whole variety of different patterns for you to try.

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone that commented on the kaleidoscope quilt. Your help was so appreciated. I really was in a pickle over what to do! I've added another row to square it up and make that half circle looking row nice and finished. I think I like it as it is now, it is just big enough to lay on the top of a double/queen sized bed which is exactly what my mum wanted and I like how it doesn't end properly, a bit like the spiderweb from before. Those half blocks at the edges kind of make me smile. I've made the backing and I will try and get it quilted next week and come back with more pics.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

what would you do?

I've finished the kaleidoscope quilt top (excuse the pics - I hadn't pressed it when I took these...was too excited). But now I have a dilemma, it needs to be a bit bigger so it can sit at the foot of my parents' bed for decoration. Another row or two would do the trick , making it 8 rows of 7 blocks but instead of more blocks should I do borders? One in bone like the background fabric, then a border of 2 inch scrappy squares and another solid border. A bit like this quilt. Maybe I should channel my inner Amanda Jean and try and think what she'd do because she does the modern enough without being too way out look just right. I like both ideas, but I can't decide. Or should I do something completely different?


(and I promise I'll press it next time I get pics)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

the week as it is so far

I'm tired this week. It's almost the end of the school year, and Ginger will soon be home all summer. He's tired, I'm tired. I can't wait for the late mornings and lazy breakfasts. I've bought some Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup in preparation. Even I can eat them if I use soya milk instead of regular milk. Although I must admit I'm pretty partial to corn bread and some eggs. Miss G broke up from school at the start of July and has already been in Spain for a week with her best friend. She's coming home tomorrow (yay!) and then in another week she's off again on a second little jaunt with a school friend and her family. I'm trying not to be jealous of my almost 11 year old daughter. I will be incredibly jealous of her tan, but she always tans better than me anyway. She was blessed with skin that tans even through the highest factor sun screen I slather all over her.

In just one week, less, (Crikey - only 6 days!) Fat Quarterly Issue 2 will be 'on the shelves' albeit the virtual shelf and ready for you to purchase (please!). My pattern is for the scrappy pinwheel play mat at the top of the post. Lots and lots (and lots!) of scraps were used to make that, and I love how it turned out. Despite looking a little on the scary clown vomit side for a while until I put the sashing in and getting the raised eyebrow look from my husband every time I worked on more blocks, it's blossomed into a beautiful swan. Can I say that without sounding like I'm really full of myself? I'm not - I swear - I just love love love how all those scraps got used up and made into something pretty. Let me tell you, there are some really ugly fabrics from the depths of the scrap bin included; I wanted to prove the theory that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and every piece of fabric can be beautiful, not just the trendy cool kids. (You know who you are, trendy cool fabrics - don't stand there all aloof acting like you don't know I'm talking about you).
It's got me thinking about more scrap projects for future issues of FQ. Or maybe a quilt along over here on the blog. Even a scraps swap would be a good idea - mix up our stuff a bit.

I've been slaving away on my kaleidoscope quilt for Jennifer's quilt along. There was some carrot dangling involved on Jen's side. She held a giveaway for the 'kaleidoscope crew' and asked us for progress reports. I am not ashamed to admit that I wanted to win so badly that I stayed up late a few nights to make sure I was well ahead of everyone else. It paid off. I won {insert slightly evil cackle}. There's a few more blocks since this pic was taken yesterday and I hope to get a fair few more done tonight when the husband goes out for his open mic night. I can't decide whether to go for more blocks or some kind of border/s to make it a bit bigger than the 48 x 63 inches it will end up as. We shall see....

fabric info :: 'dream on' by Urban Chiks for moda - due this fall but pre-cuts are available now
:: kona cotton 'bone' for the background

The lovely Mr Postman collared me whilst I was at the post office today with a parcel he'd just tried to deliver. Love that postman.
Look what it was.......

Yes, GASP, I know. Isn't it big? And beautiful? And just downright perfect? It was from the wonderful Tami and I got it for the scrappy pincushion swap on flickr. I did a little squeal when I opened the package. 7 inches across. I do love big pincushions.

Just peeking out at the bottom of the pic you can see a little glimpse of my new tattoo so far. It's a bit scabby at the minute so I don't want to take a pic but you can see it over on flickr just as I'd finished the session. Lots of colour to come. Lots. I am sick with excitement. It's true to say I am a die hard Tula Pink stalker. See what I did for you, Ms Pink? That's LOVE.

Now please excuse me, I have to go sew up some more kaleidoscope blocks just in case someone manages to sneakily undertake me and beat me to the finish line.

Monday, 19 July 2010

a date

I can count the times I've spent a weekend away with my husband since Ginger was born on one hand. We don't do date night, we all go out together. Him, me, Miss G and Ginge. We used to spend more time without Miss G when there was only her because she was more difficult as a small child, I was more fragile, I needed time to myself, I didn't juggle well back then.
I was a young newly-wed and mother in the same year. It was much harder than I thought it would be. I was full of the arrogance of youth and knew best. And crashed and burned more times than I care to remember.
But then I felt strong enough to try again and bring another little person into the world - I had learned from mistakes made first time round.
Pregnancy with Ginger was different. It was hellish. It was heaven. My life was turned upside down. I was 30. Older and wiser and a better parent but obviously once you think you have things nailed something else goes wrong and you find yourself spiralling down a different rabbit hole. I surprised myself, I surprised most people around me, I coped with disaster in a way that I didn't think I was capable of.
Long and short of it, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Life is too short to regret things or fill yourself with despair. Children don't stay small long enough for you to fully appreciate those times. So we spend our free time together and if we want to try new restaurants or experiences we all try them.
But this past weekend Miss G was in Spain with her best friend and her family and we took the chance to spend a little time alone and left Ginger with Granny.

Alone, but with friends and staying up 'til the wee hours. Sleeping in until 10.30am. Sleeping next to my husband without someone poky and starfish shaped in the middle of the bed.

I'd forgotten how much I missed it.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

a new old chair

Because the tatty old sofa turned out so well I decided to get our hallway chair reupholstered as well. I was a little braver with the fabric this time and I absolutely love how it turned out. So much so that I'm a little disappointed I didn't use this fabric for the sofa. I like how bold and bright and a teeny bit over the top it is (garish, says the husband. Phooey to him).

Unfortunately I can't tell you I did it myself. I used a local re-upholsterer whose kids go to the same school as Ginger. Our main sofa could do with a new look as well, but that requires 15 metres of fabric, plus the cost of upholstering. It might be a cheaper option to buy a new one. Or a new to me one at least (I'm dreaming of battered leather chesterfields in deep brown or British racing green maybe). The upholsterer man says he can't fit it in until October/November anyway, and I'll be off to Houston for Quilt Market then so that might be the decider - if I see some exciting new home dec fabrics there I might be able to hold off until they come out.

Fabric used is Anna Maria Horner's Noveau Bouquet in Rose from the Drawing Room line, I bought it from here.

I've been catching up with the quilt along I joined over on Jennifer's blog. Using the precious Dream On stack of FQs I snared a little while ago.

This is the waste from each block......

Too pretty to waste. I think I'll make little hexies with it.

The blocks look complicated but are actually really easy to put together and fast too, once you get into the groove.

I'm halfway through the A blocks and have cut out all the B blocks. Really I should be finishing up some half finished things, but after feeling like cow poo for the past week or so with a nasty virus I need some cheering up and this fabric does just that.

Miss G has finished school now. In fact she has finished junior school altogether and starts seniors in September. *gulp*. Another reason for the cheering up blocks. Little baby Ginger isn't so little either - he starts full time school in September. *another gulp*. I'm feeling a little fragile if truth be told. I remember starting seniors like it was just a couple of years ago (and not the 24 it really was - yikes!).
I think I'll get back to my cheering up blocks and try to push the thought of September to the back of my mind.....

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

open wide

Have you heard of Spoonfed Suppers? No, it's not a meals service for the elderly or infirm but a free daily recipe sent to your email.
This excites me in 2 ways - firstly I like to cook and secondly I like to sew. What's sewing got to do with it? Well, simple...if the nice Spoonfed Suppers lady sends me a recipe each day I don't have to go on a hunt for new and exciting recipes to keep the hungry brood happy (they get fed up with the same old same old stuff I try to palm off onto them) therefore giving me more time to sew. Hoorah. It's a win-win, isn't it?

It's free, you just fill in the form over on the website and that's it. (And another thing, no-one asked me to mention Spoonfed Suppers I just think it's a fab idea so I'm sharing it with you)

The photo up there is of the pincushions I sent to Anita as part of the scrappy pincushion swap. It's food related, kind of. (I just wanted to have a picture to make things look prettier).

Monday, 12 July 2010

and the winners are....

First to be picked by the random number generator was number 123 that's Barb who chose Dream On
...and the second number was 247 who is Hollie. She also liked Dream On best but as she was picked 2nd gets Bliss. I do hope that's ok with you, Hollie!

So keep an eye on your in-boxes for an email from me so I can get your charm packs mailed out.

Thank you so much to all of you for entering. I wish I could spread the love around and send you all one. When I win the lottery I promise I will, OK?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

not all addictions are bad ones

(Dream On by Urban Chiks from Thistle Hill Fabrics)

(Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner from Thistle Hill fabrics)

(Bliss by Bonnie and Camille from Thistle Hill Fabrics)

happy tower of charms

(flower sugar and old new by Lecien bought from fresh squeezed fabrics)

Fabric addictions are not bad, surely? They don't make you ill or fat or require a stint in rehab. They just clutter up the house a little and cause the bank balance to look less than healthy.
My children are not ashamed of their addict mother, they just think I'm a little daft. My husband won't leave me - fabric is much cheaper than designer shoes and handbags. Plus, if it keeps me happy that has to be a good thing. Right?

Anyway - I'm a sharing type so I'm going to giveaway one charm pack of Bliss and one charm pack of Dream On to you. Mr Random Generator will pick 2 names on Sunday evening (UK time) and first name out gets the the first choice. Bliss or Dream On - which would you choose?

Get an extra chance for being a follower of me/subscribe to my blog updates (leave another comment if you are) and yet another extra chance for following Fat Quarterly (again, leave another comment to say so).

Comment away and good luck!

Small Print...international entries welcome, Mr Random Generator's decision is final, make sure I have some way to contact you - if your name is picked and there's no email addy linked to your comment I'll pick another name. Sorry!

Edit - Giveaway is now closed, I'll announce the winners tomorrow!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

coming soon...

Time certainly flies by. It only seems like yesterday that we launched Fat Quarterly and issue 2 is almost ready for release (July 27th). Issue 1 was such a great success, the response absolutely blew us all away. Thank you to every one of you that bought an issue (some bought several to give to friends!) or subscriptions. We've been working hard to give you a second issue that is even better than the first, with lots of surprises in store.

Above is a sneaky peek of one of the items I've been working on. It's a really satisfying project, using up a heap of tiny scraps that would otherwise languish forever in my scrap bin.

I can't wait to show you more!!!

In the meantime keep an eye on the FQ blog for updates, more peeks, features and the ever regular 'more for me mondays' giveaway series. If you haven't been over before go and see what's going in the world of Fat Quarterly (to tempt you over right now there's a giveaway going on, we pick a winner on July 11th - you can find the post if you click here)

Monday, 5 July 2010

house warming

One of my absolute bestist friends in the whole world (and definitely my most beautiful and gorgeous to look at friend) has just moved in with her also gorgeous other half. I've made 2 quilts for Alex in the past, the last one had been partially claimed by her other half but now they live together officially rather than Alex just spending most of her time over there I thought it'd be nice if they could have a quilt each.
When I picked up the Fruit Pastilles quilt from my friend Beth's in Santa Cruz (after it had been beautifully quilted by Christina) I knew what I'd finish and gift to the love birds.
They haven't seen it yet, so just in case she's peeking in - Alex, I love you, I hope you like the new quilt and hope it matches the crazy decor you're bound to have. See you in a couple of weeks for pizza and beer? xxx
Actually if you click on the link to Alex's website here you can see the last quilt I made for her in the background. You can also see that she's bloody gorgeous *sigh*. When I saw her last she got asked her age. Yeh, sickening. She's 34 but still gets ID'ed.

I LOVE how the quilting has totally pulled this crazy quilt together, and the dark brown binding helps frame it all. I was thinking of doing a crazy pieced binding, but thought better of it. There's enough going on there without a scrappy binding as well.

In other crafting news, I have made another flying geese block for the quilt along over at Anita's. I'm a bit far behind, I have 4 blocks, I should have 9 and a heap of sashing and cornerstones. I'm hoping to get a bit more organised once this week is out. I've got a busy week of finishing off patterns for fat quarterly and a couple of articles as well as catching up on quilting bees. It's not long 'til the 27th when issue 2 is out and I am running a little behind my own schedule. The high pollen count isn't helping at all, it's taking me a couple of hours each morning to come round and get my eyes to stop puffing up and be able to focus properly. Once my prescription antihistimine kicks in the sneezing subsides a little, but I have honestly never felt quite so bad with my allergies as I have this summer. I can't decide whether I should go and get an inhaler from the doctor for the wheezing, or just soldier on. It's bound to pass soon, isn't it? This is the British summer and it never lasts long!

Check out Anita's quilt so far, it's looking fantastic - and a real kick up the bum for me to get back into action! I'll get there....eventually!!!!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

dreaming on

Ever since the folks lucky enough to go to quilt market in May started showing pics of this stuff I've been coveting it so very badly. I'd thought I could be patient and wait until October when it's released but that's not really in my nature. So scour the internets I did and came across this place. Hoorah. The early released FQ bundle shall be mine. Joy of joys.

Now, a FQ bundle like this little mama usually gets sent in a flat rate box - costing over $40. Not if Laura at Over The Rainbow has her way. That woman can cram a FQ bundle into a flat rate envelope - saving me a whopping $30. Obviously, that money saved can be put to good use buying more fabric, can't it? Everyone's a winner!

Look at that tower.....isn't it dreamy? I'm thinking half square triangles, value quilt stylee, maybe like this, or this, or this. If my Mum likes it then it'll be made for her. She's requesting a summery quilt - with that obvious summer colour French Blue, like Portugese Pottery. Ok Mum, yellows and pinks spring to my mind when I think of summer, but I get your drift. That Portugese Pottery that is French Blue isn't really in Dream On, but to me this stack says summer all the way.

I've been making some more blocks for the big X rainbow quilt as well. And a smaller one for a bee. I did promise you a tutorial, but I can do better than that. I managed to find you a free pattern, which looks like it's far more concise than anything I'd muster up.

Go on over to Sandi's blog and say thank you. She once sent me the most wonderful Secret Santa package, right after my not so baby girl had been told (by her Religious Studies teacher) that Santa didn't exist. I'm so glad I've re-found her blog (the pillowcases she sent me we still use all the time, and they're the softest things ever).
If you want to make blocks the same size as mine (which are 20 inches finished) use 6 inch squares. If you want 10 inch finished blocks like the little one, use 2.5 inch squares.

It's such a fab block, and so simple. I'm going king sized with this baby - 100 inches. But when the blocks are 20 inches it's hardly going to take me long, is it?!

NooNoo checks out the blocks so far. See how big they are? He's a big cat.
Well, not a BIG cat like a lion, but a big domestic one. You get me, right?

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