Thursday, 30 May 2013

Paint Stopped Play...

Heart of Charnwood

Before I get rabbiting on, just a quick reminder, if you have any book based projects this month link up to win here, remember it can be heavily inspired by a book or magazine, and as long as it involves a creation, it's pretty much in.  Go here to link up (3 chances), and you have until about 9pm on Friday night as I will be out during the day :o)

I'll be honest, there will be a dearth of sewing based stuff in this post, so if you're not interested in hearing about my wrestle with ugly decor (understandable, I wont be offended), stop reading now.  As the title states, sewing has been put aside this past week or two for a rather large paint job in our open plan, lounge, dining, family area (which sounds a lot posher than it actually is).  We started off with this 
Rancid brown wood, pink ceiling and repulsive wallpaper meet Mr White Paint- who will be disguising your ugliness today!
Rancid brown painted plywood, swirly 80's wallpaper and pink ceiling!!!

which in a short time, converted to this blissful in white scene
How can anything so bland be so wonderful? Oh yes, because its not a rancid pink ceiling, patterned wallpaper or badly stained brown wood, bliss!
Pure clean white
 And this...
Whitney on the ipod and lets get the 2nd half of this room painted- seems a fitting way to say goodbye to this decor!
Aaaargh! this, don't worry, those rather special lights are not staying, we just need to find a replacement.
Pure white fresh, clean walls
Thankfully bland!
It really is amazing how cathartic it is to be rid of the ugly decor, and to have a clean, fresh space to live in, the house is instantly lighter, brighter and prettier, the ceilings actually feel high (which they are as it's a 1920's house) rather than low and claustrophobic, yay!
If anyone needs me I'll be in the worlds ugliest sewing room, actually sewing- woooohooo!
Look at that wallpaper- soon to be given the white paint treatment!!!

I also managed to get Mr HOC to put some shelves in the most important room in the house sewing room, which means I can start to tidy and organise this space (it wont stay tidy for long, but still, I can give it a go), and despite the rancid decor (again) my tiny room has at least seen a little sewing action, with my signature block for Stitch Tease Diane.  Any advice on what type of pen to use on a signature block so it doesn't run when the quilt gets washed.

Right, off to sand down the walls of the new bathroom, fitting starts Monday :o)

Ange x

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Grand Day Out.

Photo stolen from Susan, sorry! :o)
Yesterday, you may recall, I was on a (limited) day pass with the ladies of the Brit Bee over at Susans house.  It turns out, all of these lovely ladies will be at the Retreat, and what a great opportunity to get to meet a few more of them before the big weekend (just 8 weeks to go, wooohoo).  As Susan realised I am a bit shy (ha, ha as if) she kindly invited me over to eat cake (I pretty much didn't stop the entire time I was there) and chat with a very talented bunch of ladies.  

I know lovely Trudi and Di from the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild, and of course I met the incredibly talented Katy at the Uttoxeter Show a few weeks back, and Laura Jane briefly to hand over my Low Volume squares for the swap she did at the end of last year.  But Terri (hilarious), Judith (gorgeous, and really sweet), and Hadley (super talented, with a steely wit) were all new to me, and thoroughly lovely they all are too, they welcomed me in without even an eyelid batted!
Also stolen from Susan, shamelessly
I loved seeing all of the beautiful makes (handmade bags were everywhere, every single one was beautiful), I barely knew which one to stroke first! (just to clarify, i didn't stroke any ladies), chatting fabrics and eating some fabulous food.  The day was all too soon at an end, which is how I never made the photo, I did my best Cinderella impression, and skipped out of there before it was taken, back to my little one and her den making daddy.

If I didn't shame myself too much (and get invited back), maybe my ugly mug will make the photo next time! :o)
Ange x


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Fabric Collecting...

As I can hardly say I've been doing any real sewing, I guess the arrival of my winnings from the fabulous Tikki Patchwork monthly giveaway is currently an addition to the collection.  I had the choice of 2 metres of fabric, in any size mix (Skinny Quarters upwards), so I decided to just pick a few prints I liked (the black one is Michael Miller Ta Dot which doesn't show up on this picture).  I realised afterwards, these totally fit my fabric faves, Aneela Hoey novelty pritns, Polka Dots, Chevrons and Texty- it doesn't get any better than that for me!
Tikki Patchwork winnings

I have managed to do small snippets of sewing in the last week, the other main panel of the Weekender has been quilted (not the second pocket), the hanging pocket on Chevron Improv has been removed and binding re-attached, and a few more of these have been basted...

#widrn Basting hexies on the sofa, watching old episodes of Lewis. Tagged by @rosedahlia tagging @ylmommyx4 @lemonshark @plumandjune

Today I will be playing out with the abridged version of the Brit Bee ladies at Susans house, wish me luck! ;o)
Ange x

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Judges Have Spoken and The Bloggers Quilt Festival. 
Completed a few days ago, but I had a couple of things on. X

With the return of my beautiful (I love it, so I'm going to say that, sorry if it sounds arrogant) Chevron quilt this week, came the grading from the judges.  I had thought before it arrived that I might be a little sensitive to any perceived negative comments. Surprisingly enough, I've taken the comments all rather well (they went easy on me), I can even go as far as to say, I had a little chuckle at one or two of them.  

Overall I received all "Good" and "Very Good" across the categories, and the 3 judges, except one which was "Satisfactory" from one of the judges, in the category of Visual Impact, Interpretation of the Theme.  Now whilst for Visual Impact I might disagree, I think it is a very eye catching quilt, but in relation to the category, Special Themes, New Beginnings, I'm not sure I had actually entered it in the most appropriate category, so i'll give them that. ;o). The same judge described it as "A dynamic piece with appealing colours" which I think is a really positive overall comment, and made me pretty happy- especially considering this wasn't supposed to be a "show" quilt, it started out as me off on a sewing tangent!  
 Judges comments
Another of the judges commented that "A bit more quilting would have added a bit more to this, especially the background", and I can see their point, but I didn't want an over quilted piece on the actual chevrons. In retrospect, some quilting on the background white would have accentuated the chevrons, so also good feedback.

And the 3rd set of comments were overall positive, "Lovely colours and quilting to complement it" why thank you, but at this point, we head off on separate paths "Might have been better on a white on white print", nope, sorry, I prefer the solids, but ok, "or batik as background".  Sorry, what was that, I didn't quite hear you, did you mention the B word?  Yep, you read that correctly, batik, BATIK, are you serious, haha, no chance. I'll be honest, I hate batik, I cannot think of anything less suitable for a quilt like that I wanted to feel fresh, than a murky background, never, not going to happen, ever, EVER! I laughed out loud, I admit it. :o)
Judges comments 2 Overall, I was pretty pleased with the feedback, some good, constructive, well thought out (on the whole) comments, and considering this was thrown together Improv style with no pretensions to being a show quilt, and that the actual quilting etc was thrown together at the last minute (in a total panic, and on 3 different sewing machines), not getting torn a new one about the quality of my work is a positive.  I have a feeling the Festival Of Quilts judges wont go so easy on me, but hopefully my project for that one will be up another level, we'll see, maybe not! 

This quilt will have it's hanging sleeve removed in the next few days, and then it is off to its other home, not far, on the "other sofa" in our lounge.  Yep, this one is going to be Mr H.O.C's sofa quilt, but in typical man style, he actually prefers this side, the back
And the backside, with a sleeve and the label.

Men! ;o)

So with all of that loving in mind, I have decided to enter this one in the Bloggers Quilt Festival, there are some amazing quilts in the competition, and this is my first time emtering that too, go and take a look, I'm in the throw quilt category.

Quilt Stats:
 48 x 69 inches 
Machine Quilted across the chevrons by me!
Improv pieced from solids into squares, then cross cut and pieced to create a chevron effect.  
Ange x 
AmysCreativeSide.comLink here

Friday, 17 May 2013

Back In The Groove...

After a few months of  very occasional sewing, this week has been a welcome return to sewing normality. Like most quilters I have so many projects that I want to work on, but I have some that need to get made first, so it's been rather slow progress.  After finishing my Boston flags earlier in the week, I managed to get a bit of focus on some of the Bee blocks I needed to get done for May.

Simply Solids Bee block, May. Just need to make mine now!
I started off making this block for Kerry for the Simply Solids Bee over on Flickr.  I really love working with solids, there is something about the lack of pattern distracting me, and so the focus is all on the colour and design and getting them to work together- and that's actually quite a liberating way (for me) to sew.  

It is one of those blocks that tests the patience if you are having a bad seam allowance kind of day (just ask poor Lucy!!), but somehow my new "foot" rose to the challenge, and it came together surprisingly well- however I do need to make an additional block for myself, bet that's not so straightforward!!  

 If you want to make one of these blocks, you can head over to Little Miss Shabby's blog which has the original tutorial, and like it says, it's a great scrapbuster. :o)

Im thinking at least some of these will be appearing in Di's Stitch Tease blocks. @ylmommyx4
And so Wednesday, I pulled a few fabrics for my Stitch Tease block for the lovely Di, she had been quite specific about her colour choices, teal, aqua and turquoise, and no colours other than those plus white, but she was incredibly kind to us, and gave us a simple block.

Stitch Tease block 2. @ylmommyx4
After a little chopping and sewing, I came up with these 2 blocks (whilst Mr H.O.C gave Virgin Broadband a rollicking for our t'internet being down again- about the 5th time in the 4 weeks since we moved in!)

Di Stitch Tease Block one. @ylmommyx4

 Clearly they need a good iron, but that aside, actually they came out ok, and not wonky (despite appearances).  These will be winging there way to the US once I've made a signature block to go with them.

For my next post, I'll be telling you about the return of my Chevron quilt, and sharing the feedback, which had some very valid points, although one point did make me laugh out loud- not all bad then!

Ange x 


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Stitchy Time

Somehow in the last few days I have managed to fit in a little sewing time- in all fairness, Mr HOC was away for work last nightI took advantage and stayed up late, and completed these flags for the To Boston With Love campaign for the Modern Quilt Guild.
Boston flags, just need to add EMMQG tag and forward to @trudi_wood
and the back...
And the flag backs. 
There are some amazing flags in the Flickr pool, and they are going to look fantastic adorning the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
I really enjoyed just randomly cutting and sewing these, and I only wished I had more time, I might have done some hand quilting on them, it was calling to me to do it, maybe for the "next" project!

A little progress was also made on the first side and pocket of my Weekender Bag- which is good really as I want to have it done in time for the next meeting of the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild, on the 1st of June, just 2 weeks on Saturday- best get my skates on then!!!
One side of Weekender and pocket done, first piece laid for side 2.
Til next time...
Ange x 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Lucky, Lucky, Unlucky! And Book Challenge Prize Offering

I've had a good week for presents and winning competitions, well sort of.  It started off pretty well with the lovely Susan and my fabulous birthday present which she forgot to bring when we met up a couple of weeks ago for the show in Uttoxeter!
And this beauty now lives with me, thank you for my present @canadianabroad :-)
Isn't it absolutely fabulous.  I adore it, and have rewarded it with it's very own chair which no-one else is allowed to sit in, so I can admire it, which i do, regularly!  If you want to read about how she made it, click here, here and here for the info, and when she points out the faults, well let's just say, she's talking nonsense, it's perfect!

And then on Friday night I found out I had won this fantastic giveaway on the LMQG site, for a 2 day course with the fantastic Katy Jones at The Village Haberdashery in London, excited was I, delighted and doing a little dance? No, it put me in a right mood!   
Why I hear you shout, or maybe not, well because on Friday, only a few hours ago I had agreed to be elsewhere on the date of the first part of the course, and wriggle as I might I couldn't get out of it!  I'm not saying I cried, but i'll be honest I was close to it, and I was really p'd off into Saturday too.  Oh well, better luck next time, but there really is nothing worse than having such a fab prize being dangled in front of your face, to be snatched away, lady luck is a cruel, cruel, mistress!

My flash friends beautiful barn conversion. Her entrance hall is bigger than my whole house!
But the week ends of a happy, smiley note, I had a lovely night away at my friends very posh barn conversion in the rain lashed not so sunny Ribble Valley- how come her entrance hall is as big as my new house, and absolutely stunning to boot, where mine is most definitely not!  

This evening I received an email from the gorgeous Marit at Sew, Love, Live (my sister Stitch Teaser no less), that I was second in her draw for SewMamaSew giveaway day, and this bundle of lovelies will be winging their way to me this week
If you've never been to Marits blog, seriously get yourself over there, she makes some beautiful things, and is a genuinely lovely person too.  :o)

Fabric Manipulation:...
Right, well I promised I would tell you the book you can win for this months Book Challenge- 3 chances to win, one for the entry, 2 for being a follower, and for the 3rd chance, just tell me what your most "testing" project ever was.  
It's another good book which I will be reviewing next week, it isn't released yet, but is due out any day, I've already been checking it out, it's a great reference book by the fab Ruth Singer (a Leicesterhsire based local too) with her book Fabric Manipulation, generously being offered by Stitch Craft Create 

Incidentally, Ruth will also be teaching at the Fat Quarterly retreat, time will tell if I manage to get into her class. :o).

Ange x



Thursday, 9 May 2013

Divided Time...

Sewing time has been something of a scarcity around here in the last few weeks, which is a bit of a shame, but a necessity whilst we get a few of the major jobs sorted in our new home.  The beautiful weather over the bank holiday meant that we had a bit of time socialising and enjoying the garden (the only nice bit of our house so far!), but also some time finishing off a certain little girls bedroom.  Who knew stripping woodchip and ceiling paper, replacing coving that fell off with the paper, filling wall cracks and major cavities (no pun intended), removing mould and sanding and cleaning could take so much time!  We decided to do a thorough job though, so that it didn't need re-doing in a hurry, and the result of that is a transformation from this 
Caution: Man at work!
to this.  
Little ones bedroom all done and bunting up, nicest room in the house by a mile! :-)
A massive improvement (actually a much larger difference/improvement even than it looks on the photos), and there is at least one room I like in the house now, yay!

Practise winged star block for Simply Solids April, Patti. I'll be making proper one tomorrow.
I managed to make a bit of progress on my Simply Solids Bee sewing, and pulled together the practise block for Patti for April, who has been a complete doll about me finishing hers, and told me to take my time.  My quarter inch foot had a bit of a re-model a few months ago (when I forgot to return the needle to the centre position and crushed it, oops) and it's not been quite right since.  So all of those teeny tiny HST's tested me a bit, which is ok, but it gave me the kick to sort out a replacement, which arrived yesterday, fingers crossed it's accurate!   The real block is in progress and will be winging it's way to her really soon :o).
 Susan hand stitching- and no she isn't about to give me a back handed slap!
And then yesterday I had the most delightful visitor, the lovely Susan.  We had a lovely day, chatting, putting the world to rights (again),whilst she hand quilted her beautiful Stitch Tease quilt and I cut and made a few hexys
A few hexys whilst chatting to @canadianabroad
 Not a massive amount of progress for such a large amount of time, but then who cares, I had fun!

I'll be back in the next couple of days to launch this months Book Challenge, principles the same as before, just need to get details of the book and we're good to go, happy sewing :o)

Ange x

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Secret Tote Bag Swap.....

My bloggy friend Julia at Lias Handmades is hosting a Secret Tote Bag Swap over on her blog.  Sign-ups are open from now until the 29th of May, and then you will have 1 month to make your tote.  Sounds like fun right, so get yourself over there and get making!

And did I mention there are prizes to be won from Pink Castle Fabrics, Fat Quarter Shop and Fabricworm...

Ange x

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Book Challenge Winner April!

Alrighty lovely ladies, we had 26 entries (2 interlopers), so the winner of this months challenge is, drum roll please.....
Number 1, that's Wendy
Congratulations Wendy!  The book will be winging it's way to you shortly, and I know you love making bags after your phenomenal, made in a day, Weekender!

Ange x

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Show Stopping, Cogs Whirring and a Challenge- The British Quilt and Stitch Village

Now I am not one of those people who is often accused of too much thinking (quite the opposite), but the British Quilt and Stitch Village show I attended with my lovely sewing buds on Sunday, has got me thinking, about quilting stuff- but more about that on a later post.

I headed over to the lovely Kerry's house to "car pool" with her, Reene and Susan.  I've met all three before, and Kerry and Susan I know particularly well, they're hilarious, all three, and we wasted no time in putting the world to rights!  This was my first time to the show, I couldn't make last year, and it's a smaller, regional show than the Festival Of Quilts that I've been too, so I was interested to see how it compared. 

Now, I'm a vain creature, and the main reason I wanted to go was to see this:
My quilt at the show!

Yes, it's my quilt, I love it, and i wanted to see it on show, simple. As I was unsure of the categories, I decided to enter in the New Beginnings Category, as it was my first show, and these quilts were in a different building to the main core of quilts, which was ok, but it would have been nice if there had been a Contemporary Quilts group, I would have known where to put it! :o)
Stolen from

One of the other highlights of the show was getting to see Kerrys Fryed Pixels quilt, Stephen Fry looked fab, and according to the lady who was looking after them (I think she was some kind of magician, she had white gloves and everything!) he had received a lot of attention from the public- and quite right too!

We also met up with the lovely Katy at the show, who was visiting family nearby, and got to see her Madrona Corners creation, which was massive, and just fab, with her fantastic quilting.
Katy @the_littlest_thistle
We had a lovely day, there were many quilts and embroideries of different styles, and designs, and although there were many that don't necessarily appeal to me, the talent and skills couldn't be denied.

Some of my favourites are as follows:
Quilt and Stitch Village
Quilt And Stitch Village
Quilt And Stitch Village
Quilt And Stitch Village
Quilt And Stitch Village @imagingermonkey
Katy Jones- Hexy MF
Mimilove Forever. Quilt and Stitch Village
Mimilove Forever
Mimilove Forever. Quilt and Stitch Village
Mimilove Forever
Quilt and Stitch Village.
I will also be entering another competition, and I have my sights set on the Festival Of Quilts, where I will be helping out the fantastic ladies at Pin It And Stitch  That quilts a whole other project I need to get done, it's been whirring round my head for a while, but no time for a while.

The gauntlet has also been slapped around young Kerry's rosy cheeks, as she is a well known lover of brown, and after we scoffed at the idea of a Modern Brown Quilt, she has readily picked up that gauntlet and accepted the challenge- I look forward to seeing her response! :o)
Susan and Reene share a joke. Quilt and Stitch Village.
Susan and Reene laughing at the idea of a Modern Brown Quilt perhaps?
I know I should be picking a winner for this months Book Challenge but it involves thinking, so I'll be doing it tomorrow morning, so if you have any last minute entries, throw them in the list here, for your chance to win " A Bag For All Reasons" and we'll see how lucky you are :o)

Ange x