Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rainbows End...

12 blocks from grp 11 & 13 of 3x6 Bee  

Although I have a pouchy (shudder) finish to show you, it's too dark to get a decent photo so I will wait until tomorrow, but what I needed to show was the final picture of my 12 blocks from groups 11 and 13 of the 3x6 Sampler Bee.  There are some fantastic blocks in here, some great inspiration for future projects (have you seen those beautiful little, teeny tiny stars in the top right, I love them!!), and a decision to make on how to get the best out of these fantastic blocks, a little thought required.

On a separate note, just a few hours left to enter this months Book Challenge.  I will close the competition in the morning when I get up and online, so you probably have until about half 7 or 8am UK time if you're hoping to sneak in an entry.

I can hardly believe tomorrow is February, before you know it we'll be planning for Christmas again! ; )

Ange x

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Double Liebster Madness

Well, it appears I have Liebster awards coming at me from all angles, what is it you might ask?  Well it's an opportunity to promote other small blogs and to tell a little about yourself. I have been nominated by 2 lovely ladies, first up was Erin at Sew At Home Mummy, I "met" Erin when she set up the Simply Solids Modern Bee and secondly by Nina at Dieting On one Leg

So, to qualify, you need to have under 200 hundred followers or be under 6 months old in blogging terms, and then do the following:

1.List 11 random things about yourself
2. Answer 11 random questions (22 this time, 11 from each)
3. Choose 11 blogs to pass it on to
4. Create 11 questions for those 11 people

So here goes, 11 random things:

1.  I don't like nuts in chocolate (no sniggering Susan).
2.  My favourite singer/songwriter is Prince.
3. My favourite city in the UK is Manchester.
4. I don't like sea food.
5. My daughter is named after a character in a Phillipa Gregory novel.
6. I have one foot a bit bigger than the other.
7. I don't like London.
8. My craftiness started out with cross stitch (a long, long time ago).
9. I used to be an office manager in Electronics (snore).
10. In the days of dial up, I never thought the internet could possibly catch on- it was just toooo slow.
11. I named my first dog Polly, as my friend had a dog and I really wanted one too, and obviously couldn't think of a new name!

From Nina
  1. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Tea
  2. Name one quilt or pattern that is on your "some day" list. Something Low Volume
  3. Do you live in the city or the country? Country
  4. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of blogging? The funny comments and uploading pictures
  5. Where (sewing room, dining room, etc.) do you sew? Dining room
  6. When you are not sewing or working, what activity do you do?  Run around after my 3 and a half year old
  7. Do you sew in the quiet or is a radio or TV playing?  What is it playing?  All of those, sometimes music, sometimes quiet, sometimes TV
  8. Have you ever been to a quilt convention or retreat and if so, what did you like most about it? Not yet, but going this year to the Fat Quarterly Retreat, yay!
  9. Name a historical figure that you admire. Thomas Hardy- I love his books
  10. Would you rather spend a day at a spa or a day at a fabric store?  A good fabric store, definitely
  11. Do you like to ride roller coasters?  I used to love them, I'm not so bothered any more : )
From Erin
  1. What's your favorite movie? I'm not such a movie fan, more great TV series e.g The Wire
  2. Tell me something about the town you grew up in.  I grew up in an agricultural village in Norfolk, very sleepy place
  3. Where do you think you got your "quilty" or "crafty" gene? My Mum, she was always making things when I was a kid, but more out of necessity I think.
  4. If you had to pick a movie star who's most similar to you (in any way), who would it be (and post a picture, please!)  I can't think of one, I don't do movie stars, unless Cruella Deville counts (and not in looks)!! ; )
  5. What is your most favorite quilt block you've ever made?  The Dresden Plate was pretty fun and effective
  6. Do you have a name for your sewing machine?  No, not for either of my 2 machines
  7. How many sewing machines do you own (and what brand(s) are they)? (and if you have a picture of "Betty" or "Violet", please, post!)  A 60 year old Singer and a newer(!) Pfaff.
  8. What kind of space do you create in (i.e. a spare room, the dining room, the basement, a closet) do tell!  Dining room (at the moment)
  9. What does your significant other think about your crafty ways?  He supports me, but can't exactly understand it
  10. Have you ever participated in an online/virtual Bee? Which one(s)?  Yes, i've done a few, my current ones are the Pretty Little Pouch Swap on Flickr, and the Simply Solids Bee, some amazing talent and inspiration.
  11. If you had to pick one word to describe you, what would it be? Crafty!!
Well, that's enough of that, so here are my nominations, i'll try my hardest to get to 11, can't promise it though!

1. The Cheshire Quilter
2 Doris Batting
3 The Running Hare
4. Just Sew Sue 
5. Espritpatch
6 Lia's Handmade
7. Quilting For England
8. Foster Reviews It
9. Quilts in The Queue
10. Indianna Dreams
11. Red Raspberry

And my questions:
1. What was the nicest dream you've ever had?
2. Where is your favourite place in the world?
3  What is your favourite name?
4. Red or white wine?
5. Favourite gadget (not sewing related)
6. Favourite quilter/blogger
7. Which fruit or vegetable best describes you?
8.  Most exciting thing you've ever done?
9. Most hated word?
10. How did you choose your blog name?
11. What is your worst habit?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Ssssh, Its A Secret....

I have my Pretty Little Pouch Swap Partner (round 6, but first for me), and although I can't say who it is, I have to say I'm pleased to be making for someone that has great taste.  The colour and style choices are a little out of my comfort zone, being earthy tones in the vein of Orla Kiely, but I have managed to find a few things in my stash that are suitable (hopefully).
Pretty Little Pouch Swap
Not necessarily all of these, but some might
It's a quick turnaround swap (less than 2 weeks until I need to post), so as I don't have weeks to agonise over what to make, I decided to get started today.  
I was thinking I might do some more paper piecing and then I remembered how grumpy I was at the end of my Bee swap, so I decided to avoid it for now, and figured one of the lovely Anna Maria Horner's Feathers might be in order.  It's reduced in size (by about 50% I think), but is still a little larger than I intended, oh well, my lucky partner gets a larger pouch than planned, if it comes together ok.

So, this is what I have so far, what do you think?  It will actually be horizontal on the pouch, I think with some hand stitching, and there will be some other detail on the back of it.
Feathery Fun- Pretty Little Pouch Swap

Ange x

Plum and June

Friday, 25 January 2013

A Challenge And A Finish...

Don't forget this months Book Challenge to win a copy of this lovely book I reviewed a few weeks back, to enter, remember you just need to make a crafty project from a book you have, and you get extra entries for being a follower, and telling me your favourite crafty book.

And so in that vein, I have completed my project for the month, and I was super crafty, I managed to combine this with my plans to make a quilted playmat for my friends new baby, so that's 2 things off of my list for this month!

It's been handed over to it's new owner today, little baby Amelia (I can neither confirm nor deny that her Mum had a little cry and that started me off!). She is just 10 days old, and absolutely adorable ( I even managed to sneak in a few little cuddles), although she slept nearly the whole way through my visit.
I did some FMQ on the centre square, which gave it a slightly snowy look, and it was lightly quilted round the edges, for puffiness.  I added a little label to the back with her name and date of birth (in case she forgets), and in white underneath my name- you can't see it in the picture, but that's how i like it, a little understated.  

It is a really lovely little playmat, and I am delighted it was so well received, and actually it's my first proper finish of the year, so double hooray!
Lets not forget that we already have some fabtastic (there I go inventing new words again) entries to this months competition, well worth a look around these ladies blogs,:
Lia's Handmade
Gertie Quilts For England- Book Bag
Foster Reviews It

Liz at Dandelion Daydreams
Heather at Quilts In The Queue
Amy at Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
The Zakka book has been getting a bashing, well done ladies
And if you want to join the Flickr group, we are here, it's always great to see the entries posted over there all together.

Competition closes on the 31st of January, and there will be another one next month.
Ange x 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bee Ahead Of The Game

For once I am not actually getting to my deadlines and finishing just in time, I am a full month ahead, now how about that!
Sues Blocks Plus My Just For Fun
Yellow centre is my tester, and the 3 reds are winging their way to Sue.

These are for Sue over in Jersey, as part of the Simply Solids: A Modern Bee, rather cute + and x blocks, they're cute blocks, and they come together rather quickly, I definitely see some more of these in my future, maybe super sized ones!

Ange x

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

It's A Virtue.....

Lucky Penny anyone? Lucky Angela more like! (FQ Bundle)
I was a very good girl, (ish), so Father Christmas bought me some vouchers for a well known US fabric shop.
Dear Stella (FQ Bundle)
 I was patient (ish) and waited a whopping 24 days for my beautiful parcel to arrive from over the pond, and today, that patience was finally rewarded, and oh what a beautiful parcel.  
3 metres of  both Jellybeans and Sunday Paper for backings
So now I have to figure out what I am going to do with all of this lovely fabric, but whilst i do, I can always stroke it a little!
Beautiful Type by Julia Rothman
Ange x

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Dirty Word.....(or 3)

Works In Progress, or are they Unfinished Objects, either way, they're hanging around messing with my head, and at some point soon, they need to progress, and get finished. So it's not a finish along as such, more a confession, with the hope that if I put it out there, in full view, that some more will get finished, and I can try and clear the decks! :)

And so here is what we have:

1. My beloved Chevron Top, I need to piece a back, in the same coloured fabrics, get it basted and quilted, simple really (or so you'd think)

Pile of crocheted granny squares, these need to be added to and sewn into a plus blanket, as originally planned, or I suppose a straight alternate block, either way there need to be more blocks done, and then some different layouts tried.

My Christmas stars, lovely, didn't make it up for Christmas, are there enough, I count 30 so far.  Maybe make something from them for next Christmas? 
 These spare, random blocks, cushions perhaps, need to look at them and give it a think.


 Craftsy blocks from last year already have 16 done, 4 to make, and then piece them into a top.  I'm thinking pieced back with the remaining fabrics too, there are loads, something scrappy/improv perhaps- which quilt style have I been wanting to try, must have a look through my Pinterest board for inspiration.
This will be my sofa quilt, and it needs finishing, soon.

6. That Hexy Quilt- I've got to get it done, my little one needs her own full sized quilt, and it's been 2 years since I started it, and it's doing my head in!

That's all I can find for now, but I am sure there are more- I'll have another look through and see, and if there are, I'll add them on!

Ange x 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Can You Hear That Buzzing??

The great thing about Bees is that after you have finished stressing and running around like a maniac, you forget that you have blocks to receive, until they start dropping through your letterbox. I now have 7 of my 12 (I only had 6 when I had light and took this picture, so more to come), and look how lovely and different they all are. Thank you ladies for the time and care put into these blocks, I can't wait to get my remaining 5, so I can get them all put together into a sunshiny quilt- and I might even make both of the blocks I've been sweating over for everyone else, for myself, maybe!

Ange x

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed......

(That is a quote from the greatest ever comedy, anyone guess which one?
That's kind of how I feel after the last few days, knackered, but I have been victorious, just! 

So, after LARGE piles of these
and these

I now have 6 of these.
3x6 Star Blocks, Grp 11

Mr Technology tried his very hardest to defeat me though no I haven't lost the plot, quite as Hotmail had carked it this afternoon for MOST of the afternoon. I couldn't get the addresses until ten past 5, so after a quick scribble out of the labels, I pretty much ran (I don't do running, anymore) to the Post Office, and got there 3 minutes before closing.  So I am drained, but I have slayed my sewing dragon (so to speak!).
How is it possible when I say these crazy things, I google an image for them, and they really exist, weird. 
Now aside from a little quilt repair for my niece, the 5 year old vandal little darling, which needs to be done before Sunday, I am free to do some fun stuff. My friend has had her baby, and I am pleased to report it's a little girl, conveniently for me, and the present i started sewing 2 weeks ago.  So, that playmat top I have made up needs some basting, quilting and binding, all good fun!

Ange x

Monday, 14 January 2013

I Forgot My Old Work Motto.....

.......always under promise and over-achieve!  

When I joined this Bee I thought, 6 blocks in 3 months, no problem, so I joined another one, 12 blocks in 3 months with Christmas in the middle, what kind of idiot am I???  Please don't answer that as I am absolutely frazzled, and with my deadline for posting fast approaching (tomorrow), I am inching closer to being done.  Fortunately I have another 2 completed blocks on the board, yay!
Cille, 3x6 bee, group 11

Sabrina, 3x6 Bee, Group 11

And so that means, just 1 to go, plus, as I chose to paper piece, what is it I forgot I would also have to do?  You guessed it, the tweezers are out and I am carefully trying to remove all of those annoying, paper pieces.  Ok, lesson learned, I will be back tomorrow, and I will have made the last block and posted them all, because this will not defeat me, no no, I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED!

Ange x

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Buzz Buzz....

I am getting closer to finishing these Bee blocks, but oh my it's hard going, 3 down, and 3 to go. I have to say, the colour choices are waaaay more appealing for these blocks (but I still can't wait until they're all done!).
Jyllybean, 3x6 bee, grp 11

Sue, 3x6 bee, grp 11

Onwards and upwards as I will bee sewing until the early hours.....

Ange x

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tag That......

My Red Sea Diving Friend
The lovely Gill at Red Raspberry has blog tagged me, to find out at little bit more from me with the following probing questions, so here goes *blinks eyes at the big shiny light in my face, interrogation style*

What is your second favourite craft after quilting/sewing(if you have one)?
Current second favourite would be crochet I think, I only started lessons in September, but it's quite versatile and fun, and I think with a bit more practise I could do even more interesting things (maybe)
If you had the chance to change one thing you have done in your life what would it be?

I generally work on the principle of don't regret the things you do, regret the things you don't, and all of those mistakes are why I'm here, now and who I am.
Western Australia
 If you were an animal, what would you be?
Oooh, that's a tricky one, my lovely man tells me I'm crafty (and i don't think he means it in a nice way!), so maybe a fox, and it is the symbol of Leicestershire, our home county.  
What is your all time favourite movie?

I'm not really a film buff, I prefer tv series', good ones, in the vein of The Wire, something gritty that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

What is your favourite book/author?

My favourite book of all time is Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, it's an absolutely stunning classic.
Stunning NZ coast
 What is next on your to-do list of things to learn? 
In terms of crafts, and something new, I would like to do some screen printing at home (like the course I did last year), but I have LOADS of sewing/quilting projects I need to get out of my head and made first! : )
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? 
That's a hard one, I try not to over think these things, but some planning really makes a difference and helps you achieve your dreams- I think I will see where the next 12 months takes me, and if you keep reading the blog, I'm guessing you'll find out....
Why did you start blogging? 
I mentioned last week about friends thinking my love of sewing/quilting/creating is mad, they just don't get it. Blogging gives me a way of connecting with like minded people, and engaging in conversation, it's an amazing community full of really fun and generous people, and I wanted to be part of that.  It's only been about 5 months but I already feel it's a key part of my creative outlet- a bit of a release valve on all of the crazy ideas in my head!
What is your favourite item you have ever made and why?

My favourite so far is probably the hexy quilt I am hand sewing for my little one (2 years and counting, and not quite finished yet).  Without getting all emotional and soppy, it's been an absolute labour of love, and I really want her to love and cherish it, and hopefully she'll want to pass it on to her child one day.
Who do you admire most in quilting blog land and why? 

Thats a tough one, and I don't think I can answer it with just 1 person. I admire all of the wonderful (mostly) ladies, who create and craft, take care of their kids and produce some absolutely spectacular items that inspire me to improve my skills, and "up my game".  Too numerous to mention them all I'm afraid. : )
How we got around Oz (without breaking down amazingly!).
What is the most interesting place you have visited or would like to visit?
Last question, phew. There are so so many amazing places I want to visit, Asia, Canada and South America, but sticking to places I have visited, my absolute favourites have to be Australia and New Zealand, I had an amazing time travelling around them in my late 20's, and it really gave me the travel bug, which unfortunately I don't get to engage with at the moment.  I loved the big open spaces of Australia, the aquatic life (I learned to Scuba Dive and cage dived with Great White Sharks which was phenomenal) and the refreshing approach to life. In NZ, the most amazing scenery which reminded me so much of home after 12 months away, but all combined in a smaller set of islands, the simple charm of the place, and the amazing variety of landscapes.  
Tongariro Crossing, New Years Day 2008
Well, that's enough of boring you about me, maybe you could take these questions and  apply them to yourself, you might be surprised about your own answers, and it's a great chance to find out a little more about you.....

Ange x  
Red Sea

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

While The Sun Shines Bright...

Playmat Top

I decided to get a little photo of the Playmat top which I finished a couple of days back.  I chose to fill in the corner squares with some of the blocks from my Sew Stitchy panel, and I rather like them.  To add a little texture to the playmat/quilt I've also spent a little time embroidering some parts of those corner blocks, and its given them a rather nice feel, which some bits printed and others in thread.   So next I need to decide on a backing fabric, get it basted up and quilted, although I must get the other bee blocks finished first.
Embroidered Corner Panel

And on that note, I've finished my first paper pieced star for the bee, the colours are actually better in real life, and I rather like this one, but it's off to Heather in the US in the next few days, so I had better not get too attached!
Heather Group 11

And there is still plenty of time to join in with the Book Challenge, full details here, and sign up to win here (once you've completed your Book Challenge project).
Ange x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Fabricy Loveliness.........

 On Sunday, I had a little shopping "date" with the lovely Kerry @ PennyDog. We met at The Fabric Guild in Leicester, nice and early (about 9.30ish) and got to work relieving them of some of their excess stock.  For anyone who hasn't been to the Fabric Guild, it's a warehouse on the "not so pretty" does that mean there is a pretty side?  Don't ask silly questions Angela ; ) side of town, that import fabrics directly.  Their reputation can be for the more fugly/granny traditional style of fabrics, but in recent months they have definitely extended their range, and we found some Lizzie House, Constellations(!) (Kerry succumbed), some Creative Thursday, The Red Thread (i couldn't resist, there is just something about rabbits, ladybirds and mushrooms) a lot of Riley Blake, and some Alexander Henry (amongst others).       
And I got THE bargain of the day, £2 per yard, red and white stripe. I bought the final 4 yards they had, and it will be perfect for some bindings- probably with that Creative Thursday quilters pack I got, look how cute they look together in the photo (at the top)

It would seem I am also a sucker for a square-headed panda, so this little quilters pack also came home with me, what is it with kids prints?!?
 And, as a friend is having a baby, it seemed rude to leave without some of this £4.95 a yard supersoft flannel, it's lovely, and perfectly unisex (have you seen those racoons!), so if my friend has a boy or a girl, I'm covered (unlike the playmat quilt I started, which is soooo girly, it should never be foisted on a boy!!).

It's clear that Kerry is a bad influence on me, as I bought more than I intended, but we stayed in the coffee shop chatting for ages. It was lovely, all fabric and sewing related, which was great, and exactly why we need that East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild (yes Rob, I want to join the Guild for you, to save you from hours of boring quilting conversations, what a trooper I am!!).

Ange x