Thursday, 28 June 2012

A glimpse of the sunshine in the rain!

There has been a lot of rain here lately - actual rain (good for the veg patch, I know, I'm not complaining), but also a lot of 'rainy/gloomy' mood too.

So, I am trying extra hard to spot the sunshine when it appears from behind a cloud.

A lovely thing did happen - how appropriate that I was awarded the sunshine award.

The lovely Di at Di @Willowbeck Designs nominated me, and I am thrilled to bits.

It's aim is to pass on a bit of happiness and to be a bit of fun where you answer a few questions and link to some blogs that you want to pass the sunshine onto. So here we go.

I have the following questions to answer:-

Favourite colour - Green - always has been and always will be - every shade, not picky.

Animal - Mmmm this is a toughy as animals are not really my thing, as I am allergic to cats and dogs, and most other furry animals.  I like discovering the hedgehog snuffling in our garden late in the evenings.  Does that count?

Number - Sorry - don't have one.

Drink - I like tea, occasionally coffee, as a treat elderflower fizzy water - and if I'm hitting the hard stuff then White wine or Gin and Tonic.

Passion - I think there are a few, I am committed to my work, and get very passionate about the children that I work with.  I am also passionate about living my life in the simplest and happiest way possible, trying to live and enjoy the moment so that our memories are part of our happiness.   I love planning and creating things, whether its baking, sewing, growing veg, etc.

Giving or getting - Either really.  I love giving people things I have made, but get anxious whether they will appreciate them!

Favourite Day - My favourite day of last year was my friend Louise's wedding, when my daughter was a bridesmaid.

Favourite Flower - Tulips

So I have thought a lot about who I would like to pass this award on to next....
And I decided I would like to choose four people who I really enjoyed meeting and spending time with at the recent London FQ retreat
Ana at Anacrafts
Moira at kettle boiler
So I am sending a little sunshine your way.

There are two other happy things this week..... I made this fab lunch bag for myself out of all the little tiny squares of fabric we were given in out goodie pack at the retreat - at first when I looked at them I had no idea what use I would make of them, but then I saw this pattern, and I LOVE IT.  I love the fabric combinations, and I give myself a cheeky little smile when I use the bag to eat my lunch at work!  The pattern is here from Ayumi at Pink Penguin, and it was great fun to make (this might replace the scrappy tote pattern, and become the new item I make everyone for birthday presents!)

 And, last but not least...... drum roll

I am joining the hipbees.  This is a new bee for UK based people with small-ish blogs, and it took a bit of umming and ahhhing, but I am thrilled to be jumping in, there are some really wonderful people in this bee  -  so watch this space for more bee blocks each month.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Checking in

I love reading all your blog posts, but it always leaves me wondering how you have the time to post so often..... and have interesting things that you have made/done to post about!!

Days and weeks seem to be whizzing by here.  If I am lucky I am snatching a few hours here and there (usually in exchange for sleep) to get any sewing done.

But I thought I would do a quick post so you don't all forget I'm still here!!

I had another lovely sewing evening with my friend Anna, who is the most skilled 13 year old sewer I know, and she made this Jubilee bunting to hang on her tent at the Hay-On-Wye book festival.  I think it survived the wind and the rain!

Can't remember if I already showed you the wonky block I made in John's class at the London retreat, but I had a go at another one as I wasn't totally thrilled with the one I did in class (too many distractions).  Anyway, I have been wondering what to do with them, as I don't have enough of the fabrics to make even a mini quilt with them.  Then this morning I saw a message on stash bee, and Vickey is asking for donations of blocks to make a quilt for her friend who has terminal cancer - and she was asking for wonky log cabin blocks 12.5 inches in bright colours...... what a coincidence, so these will go in the post to her today.

Another scrappy tote bag (I have lost count of how many I have made now - I simply love making this pattern, and I think I have given almost everyone I know one for a present now - best find something else to make for them all soon!)  Anyway, this one was made out of a pair of white jeans I found in a charity shop, and a mix of turquiose scraps, and some vintage sheet for the lining.

So must dash, it's our town fair today, which is high excitement for us!!!  It means stalls and rides and bumping into lots of people we know, and controlling Brownies on the Brownies stall (hook a duck, face painting and a cake tombolla) and guess what..... the Sun is OUT.......

If I have any energy left tonight I intend to layer my quilt ready to have a go at my first ever attempt at quilting.  I know lots of you use basting spray, but I haven't been able to get any, and so I am going with the traditional pinning method - I have seen some fab examples of this on another blog I love, and I am keeping her comments in my mind that it's the imperfections in our sewing that give it the character - wish me luck!!


Friday, 8 June 2012

A family sewing circle

Half term here, and so we have special guests of my partner's sister, Tracy and her lovely daughter Alice.  Every day we are tolerating small people who need a lot of attention (including a very interesting trip to the Mika Rottenberg art exhibition at the Contemporary - never had so many tricky questions by a 4 year old in one day), and watching swimming lessons etc.

Then, in the evening, after the golden hour of 7pm has come - we turn the play room into a sewing room..........

Tracy made a fantastic pin cushion (hard to see but she is proudly showing it here), Alice has also made a pin cushion - these are their entries for their village horticultural show later this summer.

Clearly when you are busy making things - there has to be several dashes for fabric supplies.  So Joan at the local wool shop has done well with us nipping for bias binding and felt and zips.  And then drum roll............ we went to ikea fabric hunting!  (Did you know that there is a free creche for 45 minutes at Ikea???? - so here is 40 minutes worth of fabric shopping)

And I am half way through a bag made of the lovely dark fabric...... watch this space.

I have made my Bee Blessed blocks for the month

And my Stash bee blocks

It has been great fun having other people to sew with, and sharing my tips of things I have made before etc.

Happy half term to you all (nearly over now!)


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Surrender and retreat!

(Apologies in advance for those of you who were unable to get to the retreat, and are basically fed up of hearing all about it)

But..... woooo hooo I was there on Saturday.  This is Baden Powell House, where we met for the Fat Quarterly Retreat.

It was madness when we arrived. With everyone trying to find someone they knew, in amongst a game of staring at the names on everyones chests to collect 6 signatures on a card.

For me, looking back, the whole day felt quite surreal.  It was kind of like stepping into a novel that I had been reading for a long while and becoming a character within the plot.  It was, on the one hand, wonderful and intriguing and enlightening to meet people that I feel I already know, and getting to know some fabulous new people.  It was inspiring to see such sewing talent amongst the people there.  And made me feel like a very small fish in a very big pond. 

In the morning I did a freezer paper piecing class.

Here's the view from my desk (yes it was like sitting in a large exam hall with rows of desks with sewing machines on!)

Not the clearest photo - but Rachel can you see the tip of your zippy pouch full of my sewing goodies, and Lynz can you see your little booklet full of my pins and needles in use???

I was glad to have the opportunity to give this technique a go.

Then it was time for the sample swap.

This took place in the sunshine on the roof terrace.  I am so thrilled with my swap items, and I do hope the recipients of my pot holders manage to put them to some kind of use in their kitchens!!  I got a lovely mini bag full of sewn coasters, a fab folder with notebook and pen in it - definately will be showcased at work - and a beautifully hand sewn reminder of the retreat, and a fab zippy pouch.

After lunch and more nattering with lovely people (in fact I met some great people over lunch - who had to put up with me constantly trying to get them to take my place in the iron man quilting contest - who on earth put me in the contest, I've never made a quilt in my life!!!)

Then I went to the wonky log cabins class with John. 

And made this.....

Then one of the highlights of my day was a wonderful hour with Carol and Helen over a cuppa (or barcardi breezer in Carol's case - who meant to order an orange juice!!).  I live a very simple life, with a small diameter in terms of the places I go and distances I travel and people I meet, and this hour reminded me just how much the blogging community has offered to me, and how much I gain from it.  And I feel hugely thankful for a lovely day.... 

My only regrets are that there were two people I had really really hoped to meet, Jude (Just Jude) who I have started sending bee blessed blocks to, and Sarah (Narcoleptic in a Cupboard) who I wanted to thank for my fabulous pouch, neither of whom I managed to cross paths with.  My other regret was that I was not there for the sibling's together quilt showing, this is a charity close to my heart as I work so hard with so many siblings trying to keep them together, and help them come to terms with situations when they can't live together  - so there's a reason to go next year!