Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas is coming , this Quilters getting fat...( or Let the Moose Fest Begin )

Chop chop busy busy... things to do , places to go and all that. Like all you lovely readers I've been on the go non stop for the past few weeks but do you know, its finally all coming together. Seasonal over eating and imbibing has begun and will continue apace as all the gang arrive home over the coming days and weeks. Of course in this house it is the annual Moose fest, when every nook and cranny is packed with Mooses of every shape and size. I love these beasts, small or large and my long suffering family humour me, I am pleased to say, with new additions each year to my growing heard. My favourite is probably "Reggie" a small and neat little Moose, who sports a natty pair of blue trousers with braces and a little bow tie. He is so named because he reminds me of my Dad for some obscure reason. And I think he is quite splendid.  
Despite inclement weather I managed the annual run out to the Trossachs ( sounds like a dodgy disease doesn't- ooo I've got  a touch of the Trossachs!) to collect our Christmas tree. This is now a well established part our Christmas ritual here in QD land, with the purchase of a lovely, beautifully smelling fresh tree from the Forestry Commission out in the Queen Elizabeth Forrest. Transportation was a bit of an issue this year though as the beloved JB was away working and so I only had access to my tiny little car but I had a cunning plan and  the rain held off.
probably not what they had in mind when they designed the retracting roof
Next thing was to get little Zoe over to decorate it for me, with a little help from Mum and Dad. This of course meant a little bit of festive sustenance, so I knocked up these scrummy little Rudolph buns.
I cannot take the credit for their inventiveness, as I actually found them on the BBC website. They are so easy to make and really really effective so do give them a go. I bought Smarties for Rudolph's nose, but M&M's would have been better ( and presumably easier to find if you are over the pond?) as they are a much better bright nosey red colour. As you will also see I cheated by buying buns for this batch rather than making the buns from scratch as I was in a complete rush.  Zoe worked hard  decorating Nan's tree (well the bottom part anyway) and it was fun watching her little face with all our treasured nic nacs coming out of the boxes
Anyway, probably like most of my blogging buddies, there's not to much time for sewing at the moment with all the preparations, but I did have a wee bit of time to stitch these stockings for a friend's twin girlies, Kiki and Amelia. I had to match them to a pair of shop bought stockings their big brothers already owned which I thought had a bit of a Scandinavian feel about them. Hence the red and white gingham, with the blue trimmings. Apart from the applique, the tops are machine embroidered in red and white stitching. Let's hope Santa fills them to the brim next week.
I reckon this may be my last blog before the festivities, so just want to say Happy Christmas to you all and may the world be the place we all wish it to be in the New Year. Take care and thanks for dropping by...

Monday, 10 December 2012

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun

I cannot believe it is over a month since my last post. It is not for want of trying. Its just that every day that I have planned to sit down to write an update life has conspired against me and I have crumbled and failed. To prove my point I am writing this blog whilst sitting in the departure lounge at Bristol Airport, after  a weekend with Ma and Pa in sunny Wiltshire. As I knew this was going to be  a quiet affair I had great plans to a) update my blog b) post lots of pictures of makes and swaps and c) draw up my Christmas menus in advance of the arrival of the hungry hordes. I think I will get a B+ for effort but a C- for achievement as all I managed was half a menu for Christmas Eve, no photos of swaps and am now only just starting to write this because I got the airport 2 hours too early. Pretty poor all round I am sure you will agree.
Anyway for fear of boring you with the too much detail of the past month, plus I can confirm that
  1. two swaps were completed
  2. one Country Living Fair was attended and a prize was one ( Hurrah and well done Emily)
  3. we rocked to 3 gigs
  4. Santa arrived in Edinburgh and last but not least
On point number 1, I wish I could post some pictures but I have had a few IT issues with cameras and the like so am going to have to rely on picture links from Flickr. First of all I made an ipad case as part of the Scrappy Swap, which was great great fun and I posted this off to my name sake Jo, from "Dont drink and Sew"  down in lovely Sussex and I think she has enjoyed it. I managed to sneak in a little piece of the Japanese "Laboratory" fabric which I had been dying to use since buying. I thought was an ideal opportunity, given the loosely scientific nature of an ipad (tenuous I know).
Chemistry lab - Pushpin by kokka
Jo managed to post a picture of it with some of the fabrics which made up the swap but the accompanying Tunnocks Teacakes (we had to add a small local gift so I couldn't resist) didn't make it to the photo shoot as I understand her Mum got to them first!!! In return Jo made me a brilliant little pouch and two lavender bags which I adore. The pouch has been really handy and I used it this weekend to transport a pin cussion, scissors and thread so that I could do a wee bit of EPP whilst at Ma and Pa's. It was the perfect size for my bag but due to good old airport security it had to go in the suitcase other wise I would be hexxy-ing at this moment in time and not writing this drivel. Jo took a great couple of pictures before posting to me with my gift of a Simon Drew Coaster. A great choice as I am fan of thei clever clever man. So thanks again Jo, a really lovely swap. The other completed swap was the Addicted to Text Swap, in which I managed to not be able to count. The poor old  swap mama had to chase me for 4 extra squares when she started counting them out so this is probably not the time to confess to being an accountant is it?
On the Country Living Show front, Emily and I had a great but exhausting time there. The clever girl won Most festive Stand so we will be definitely be back next year.
It was also lovely to meet some of my blog friends and have to give special mention to Jo from the Avery Homestore in Edinburgh. She very bravely put together a Craft demonstration making little fat felt robins which was very well attended and proved to be very popular by the look on the participants faces. So much so that I watched her cleverly do her stuff whilst my ample bottom was precariously balanced on the edge of a planter bearing a particularly prickly Christmas tree. Well done Jo ( this seems to be the Jo tribute blog today doesn't it-  we must stick together eh girls) and I hope to get through to the shop very soon.

Third on my list there you will have seen mention of 3 gigs this month. Well do you know it may even be 4? Last weekend the beloved JB and I ventured to Manchester and the MEN to see the stunningly brilliant Elbow. We have been fans for many a year, but after we first saw them live at T in the Park 3 years ago, (much to the amusement of my work colleagues I might add), I  became even more hooked. "The Seldom Seen Kid" is a brilliant piece of writing and I have to state that the line " You are the only thing in any room that you are in " as being the greatest Love song lyric ever written. If you are not familiar with these guys you must check them out. Our other little soiree's were Keane, at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, again excellent, a very amusing evening with Adrian Edmonson in Glasgow with his chums the Idiot Bastard Band (aka Roland Rivron, Phil Jupitus and Neil Innes) and finally and most bizarrely a night in Bury watching a very odd little ensemble called IQ, care of the beloved JB's taste for Prog rock, God bless 'im . You may have deduced this to be my least favourite, and I should add that I spent most of the evening on a comfy couch in the bar but hey ho, that's married bliss for you.

Well this was supposed to be quite brief post but the descriptive juices started flowing and my flight has been delayed so I have droned on a a bit. I have not talked about the fun of the make for Emily's stand, nor the brilliant time we had at the Christmas Market with Zoe and all the gang but you may have deduced that from the photo on the Carousel. I am dreading the year she thinks she is grown up enough to go on there on her own and poor old Nan gets left standing watching with everyone else. How else will I get to have a ride without looking a complete numpty? Anyone got a small person I could borrow as a spare perhaps, or can someone else in the family muster one up for me in due course....  Only joking by the way if any of you get to reading this. 

Anyway , I am off to berate the EasyJet desk to get an update, but in the meantime I hope your Christmas preparations are going well and I look forward to  you popping by again soon.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Country Living Fair Giveaway

Calling all readers in the more northern climes. Today we have a Give away of 2 day tickets to the Counry Living Fair in Glasgow for either Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd or Sunday 25th November at the SECC in Glasgow. These are brought to you by Emily Faulkner Photography, who will be selling her wonderful landscape pictures there for the first time. To go along with the tickets Emily is also offering a 20% discount off all purchases from her to the winner of the tickets.
The show is a great mix of food, gifts, clothing and all the usual beautiful stylish and quality items you would see regularly in the magazine.
For a chance to win these tickets , just leave a comment below between today and midnight on Monday 19th November and I will contact the randomly drawn winner on Tuesady morning, with the tickets being collectable at the box office on the day.
Why not pop by Emily's website to view her great pictures or the shows website to see what you will be missing if you dopn't pop along.
Hope to see you on stand E52- oh did I forget to say it's my Emily!!! She has me in charge of dressing the stand so lots of stitching this weekend. Just finishing off this Star quilt in Moda fabric which I have had so long that I have no idea of the name. But the pin tucked plains make a real contrast and I am very happy with the look, even if my apalling photos dont show it off well. I am going to back it with fleece for a cosy Christmas feel. Lots of other makes needed so if you pop along you will get to see these in the flesh too and how far it get by bedtime on tuesday.
Happy commenting and thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The postman cometh...

I was beginning to panic you know. Every day I have scoured the list to see who hadn't yet had their name crossed out on the Flickr post for the Mouthy Stitches swap, with those sacred words "SENT RECEIVED DELIVERED". You know,  just in case I could figure out who my partner might be. Where was my package coming from? Was it on a slow boat from Timbuktu? Was it marooned half way between Hurricane Sandy and a wet Royal Mail man's postal sack near Leighton Buzzard? Who knew. The list of undelivereds was getting shorter and shorter and my carefully stitched bag had long ago been delivered over the pond in Canada so nail chewing had quickly commenced. I stalked the postie all week and fretted all weekend when I was away from home, just in case my special parcel had been left with a  tardy neighbour who couldn't be bothered to drop it by for me, but instead was holding it ransom in some dark corner of their kitchen. I wasn't sure if I could stand much of all this stress much longer...
But Hurrah, fear not dear swappies. It is here. It has arrived. All safe and sound and fresh across the water from Ireland ( I could have actually brought it back with me from my holibobs if only I had known!), all bright and sunny in its spotty envelope.
As you can see the lovely Erin from Billy Button Design has been a very busy girl and made not only a beautiful bag, but also the most cracking label. I was going to be a bit mean and hide the other side so I could be very cheeky and pinch the idea for Christmas but I couldn't really not share its loveliness with you, so thank you so much Erin for the inspiration. I adore the text on the fob tape as well and must find out more from Erin as to not only where it comes from but also the fabrics in the bag as I think a few of us asked when she posted a lovely hint on Flickr. If anyone else knows in the meantime please let us all out of out misery.
sorry for the iphone pics but its too dark to be outside
All in all I am a very happy swapper and a lucky Mouthy Stitcher and cannot wait to use this to carry my little "piece" in it to work each day, as they would say in these parts.  Thanks again Erin - and of course thank you Mr Mail Man, wherever you have been.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Being Brave 2

On the back of my post on sunday, it seems that our own little Merida has been practicing since my delivery of her costume.
Hope you're all having a fun Halloween and keeping safe, especially all our chums across the pond xx

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Being Brave

Autumn rolls on and to shock us all into remembering to turn our clocks back the temperature plummeted on Friday which required just one response.
Yes, it was out with the old hot chocolate and marshmallow remedy. Works a treat every time and probably not what you would call a healthy option, but what the heck. Sustenance was going to be required as a weekend of intensive stitching was about to commence and that has to be the best excuse ever for indulging in a sugar rush.
Before getting going on the important matter of Zoe's Halloween outfit for this year I was distracted by a lovely post by Charise Creates in which she showed off some stunning little houses she had made from a tutorial. This set my mind whirring and I thought I might give them a go, but with the Halloween season upon us, I would add a little twist. The original tutorial by Retro Mama is really well written and has great pictures. I hope you like my little ghostly version. I think I will give them another whirl for Christmas, but I might move the closure next time as I found it hard to get the neat house shape at the side when I slip stitched the opening. The house is only 5 inches high so as you can imagine a  wee bit fiddly in turning too. I also had a couple of little bat buttons on it originally but took them off as I thought it made it a bit too busy.  Great thanks must go to both Charise and Kim for their inspiring posts and I have already started scouring my stash for more ideas.
Anyway, to the main event!
Since Zoe's arrival I have set myself the task of chief costumier to our beautiful granddaughter. I love making dressing up outfits and it is so long ago since my two were of the age of needing me to rustle them something up. The last opportunity was Emily's 18th birthday, when we held a Hollywood party. This was brilliant fun and we really went to town with the whole thing from the Hollywood sign to Oscars and Paparazzi. It was an emotional time for the family for other reasons at the time but  managed to have a hoot and I will never forget the look on Emily's young friends faces when they encountered the 6 foot plus tall Beloved JB dressed as Mark Anthony, complete with short white toga, leather skirt and giant red plumed headgear. He made quite an intimidating sight and you knwo how cocky teenage lads can be. It worked at treat at keeping them from over stepping the mark and trying their luck at the bar I can tell you. Anyway, digressing again aren't I.   Back to the dress.
This year's outfit for Zoe is Merida's green velvet dress from "Brave". It was a bit of a challenge, with its split sleeves, but I got there in the end. Making a little sleeveless undershirt was an inspired idea so that the sleeves actually are an illision. Smoke and mirrors and all that you know . Haha. The stretchy velvet fabric will make it easy for Mum to wash so Zoe can have lots of fun pretending she is charging through the Highlands on her trusty steed hunting for bears.
My favourite part was shopping for the bow and arrow and of course I had to try the arrows out myself before hand, just to make sure they flew in a straight line - wink wink. Zoe wanted to wear the dress to sleep in so I think that's a 4 year old's way of saying  she loved it. With her beautiful hair there really could not be any other choice of character could there? Next year dad might get a bit of a say in her costume and end up with a  small Storm Trooper, which has been his wish for the past 4 years but me , I am just hoping for a easier run next year ( please!).
Happy Halloween everyone.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

what a lucky girl

Just a really really quick blog to say woo hoo and a HUGE thank you to Cindy over at the Fluffy Sheep Quilting for her giveaway. She posted recently about these great fabrics from Moda, Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater and I am the lucky winner. So I will say it again Woo Hoo!!!!

 Aren't they fab.  Can't wait to see them in the flesh so hurray Mr Postie and get them over the sea to me really soon.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Back in the saddle

At last, after a washout of a week I am feeling back to normal. What started off as a bit of a cold, passed on to me by the Beloved JB, turned into one of those times my immune system surrenders and my body crumbles into a soggy heap awaiting rescue. Luckily this is not a common event and I have not felt quite so weak for at least 7 years I reckon, but any time I do get this way it makes me very annoyed and frustrated with myself, which is probably not the way to be, but there your go. I hate missing work and have felt guilty even though I have only been off for 3 days and this is through no misconception of thinking I am indispensable. It is purely through the feeling of letting people down. Tomorrow I plan however to bounce back into the office with a new found energy and I can't wait to hear the latest news from all the gang.
All this enforced sitting down meant I could catch up on my blog reading and on Friday, due to good light, I was at last able to take some pictures of my make for the Mouthy Stitches swap. This needs to be posted to its secret recipient tomorrow so I was stressing about getting some good pictures so this was an ideal opportunity. I am pretty pleased with the bag, especially as a first swap make, so let's just hope my partner likes it when it hits her doormat. If you would like to see some more pictures of the bag in progress click here for my flickr stream and let me know what you think. Oh and how do you like my new logo which I drew? I need to incoporate it into my blog header and things next but one step at a time....
Another morale boost was a visit to Carole and Brian at Beechwood Quilting yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours on the long am.. They have been very kind in letting me be their first customer to use a pantograph on my own rather than quilt it free hand and I feel very honoured. As ever I decided to do something tricky for a first attempt, as I wanted to quilt "Autumn Shadows", a lap quilt which I designed and made from Denyse Schmidt fabrics in greys and oranges. The design consists of long strips of varying widths in the feature fabrics set off against a plain very pale cream. The blocking reflects the long low shadows we see around here at this time of the year and the beautiful orange light  of my favourite time of the year.
To echo the block shapes I decided I wanted quilt in an L shape and of course that meant mastering a corner on the pantograph and repeating it over and over again on my small quilt. A challenge but worth it. Sadly the idea was great but the pattern is not as apparent on the quilt as I had hoped and would have stood out far better if I had either used a contrast thread or a plain backing. I am not usually brave enough to use contrast thread for quilting in case I make a muck up of it and the backing, whilst a great compliment to the front, was a last minute choice due to my illness and my inability to shop during the week.To be honest even my original idea of the orange fabric may not have made the quilting stand out I think.
Anyway I am pretty pleased with the overall look of the quilt and will put together the pattern in case any one is interested in having a go. More pictures can be seen here.

That's me for now I think. I am off to get some supper sorted and then an early night ( after Downton of course) ready for back to work , normality and human company tomorrow... bye for now and see you soon.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Eek.... its an EPP

Well we are back. You might have noticed the absence of posts over the past couple of weeks and this is because the beloved JB and I have been dashing about a bit . This started off with a visit to Number One Son, which was wonderful, on the eve of his graduation. There had been a school of thought that my dear lad was aiming for the Longest Student Career ever, but that was just an ugly rumour put about by the pubs of Cambridge and we were all pleased to announce his move to "Grownup-hood" at the grand old age of 27. Well done Tom, we all love you to bits and are very proud of you.
Next we headed off to the Emerald Isle, a first for JB and we had a blast. Belfast is a must for us to revisit as we found it a bright and vibrant city and our one night stop off was far too short. The essential pint in the Crown Bar ( the only pub owned by the National Trust) was fun and we even manged to grab one of the highly sought after booths. I did make the fatal error of being too polite though and instead of us enjoying some privacy in the pub behind the beautiful oak panelled door of our cubby hole, I invited in what I thought was a French couple, to share the whole "British" experience but they turned into a whole gaggle, pouring into the tiny space, somewhat spoiling the atmosphere. Ho hum. This episode was however brightened when JB tried to impart to them that he worked for French company, only to discover that none of them spoke a word of English. The sight of 8 middle age men and women trying to mime to one another how they earned their living was pretty entertaining and not your average occurrence in a Belfast pub on a Friday night I am pretty sure. And you will never guess - whilst supping my pint of Smithwick's I spotted that the floor tiling was a brilliant example of quilt blocks so couldn't resist a quick snap.
Anyway, Ulster fry consumed, we headed off to the North Coast and then on all around the Donegal coast for a great four day trip.  A hiccough by the booking agency meant we didn't get to stay where we had planned so my itinerary to head off to find the Fluffy Sheep Company  and the Fennel Shed ( owned by a work colleagues family co-incidentally ) was somewhat curtailed, so when I head back to see more of Belfast again I will have another shot at introducing myself down there too. We loved the whole area and had a great break but a highlight has to be the Giant's Causeway. I have wanted to see this phenomenon ever since I was a child and I wasn't disappointed. We struck it lucky with a bright, nippy but stunning day which meant we were both well in our element snapping away with the cameras. Nature is pretty darn clever and I think we forget that all to often.
On returning home I was very conscious of being behind with my piece for the Mouthy Stitches Swap and whilst I had chosen the fabrics I thought I was going to use, I still hadn't quite got a plan together for a design.
However, reviewing my photos I found myself fascinated by the hexagons forged by the elements and this has inspired me to put together an EPP design using tiny little hexies, each about one inch in diameter.
I hope my partner will like this. Whilst they are small and I have a long way to go, I am home alone again come the weekend so I am pretty confident at making the deadline of the 25th. Fingers crossed, but should you see a small woman hiding in the corner of the 7.31 to Edinburgh, please give me some elbow room and try not to waft too much as these hexies seem to have a life of their own once laid on a flat surface.
See you again soon (and hopefully after completion of swap). Oh, and a planned trip to see Brain and Carole at Beechwood is on the horizon as I still have "Autumn Shadows" to quilt, which I haven't shared with you yet so do pop back  .

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fresh Sewing day September confessions

September has been a pretty unproductive month so I feel a bit ashamed of this month's round up.
1. Rejected Swap idea 2.Addicted to Text Swap 3.Finished Halloween mini quilt 4. Happy campers WIP 5. Rescue 6. Addicted to Text missed idea 7. Autumn shadows WIP 8&9. Too much shopping, 10. Denyse Schmidt, 11 Mouthy stitches final ideas for fabrics, 12. Even more shopping, 13. Zig zag border zoo quilt, 14 All shopped out  
It has though been a very productive purchasing month as the huge pile of halves and quarters now filed away in their groups will prove.  Oops ... If I review last month's hoped doings I should hang my head in shame and to be honest I am not sure how this all passed me by. October will be scarce too as we are off away for a while, its quarterly reporting in the office so a few late nights there , burning the candle at both ends and last and definitely not least I will need to address the usual costume challenge for young Zoe. To add to all this I need to make my bag for Mouthy Stitches, so all a bit chop chop busy busy really. No pressure then!
So this months scores on the doors are 
Pieces finished 2 - Pieces unfinished 4
Swaps joined 2 - Swaps completed 1
( well my bit anyway)
Joining up today with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet. Hope to see you again soon

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sunday swaps and stripey bindings

Well before I start to waffle on today I must impart to you the current musical accompaniment here in QD land. Rather surprisingly for a Sunday afternoon, I am presently blogging to the tones of the Sex Pistols and Anarchy. Now I am sure this is not what you would expect, but Sounds of the Seventies with Johnny Walker is my favourite part of the week and this week "Never mind the Dangly Bits " turns out to be his album of the week and even though I was not, this time rather unsurprisingly, a punk, it takes me back to my student days and to be honest I love the track a lot more now than I did then. If you get the chance though you need to listen to a band called The Bad Shepherds, featuring Adrian Edmondson as they cover Anarchy in a style you would never ever have expected. I will not ruin the surprise but just urge you to You Tube it or something. It is pure genius and me and the beloved JB had a wonderful night in chilly Morecombe last year watching the guys which was one of our favourite gigs for many a year- and that is saying something!

Anyway as ever I have digressed again - probably too early on in this blog to have kept your attention, but if I haven't lost you yet let me update you on events. As you may recall I signed up to Mouthy Stitches 2, a  bag swap with a heap of very talented ladies and now the moment has come for me to actually have to make something. Aagh was the cry. The rest of the gang have been busily uploading their beginning ideas to Flickr and I have happily been commenting, although I don't think I have spotted my secret partner that is making for me yet. However all this viewing has done is increase my fear.  The partner I am making for has a very varied mosaic for me to use as a guide to her taste and the more I read the more I can see that she is a bit like me ( so well chosen) in that she has a broad taste in styles. Whilst this is a great trait it has not helped me one little bit. I have poured over my stash, rifled through the stores and googled until the cows come home and still am not totally convinced if my idea is the right one. But go for it I must as we have a deadline to meet  and I have a weeks holiday in Ireland in the middle of the remaining time so need to pull my finger out. I have today uploaded my mix of fabrics and invited comments and now will sit back and see if she has any for me.  I had a sneaky and really cool idea for the lining but I will keep that to myself for the mo as a) its complicated and may fail and b) I may change my mind.... 
discarded idea 1- I thought the stripe would make a good lining for the swap bag, and the print is the lovely Amy Butler
Anyway on the way to deciding on the final group of fabrics to put into the group for comment I went through quite a few alternatives, so you might like to give me your comments on the rejected ones. Who knows, my secret partner might see one here they prefer and I might get to change my plans yet again.

discarded idea 2

discarded idea 3 - Appleville by Robert Kaufman , bought from Avery Homestore in Edinburgh

I also had to get a crack on and finish yet another baby quilt ( yes I know I said no more for a while but this was a request from elsewhere) so I got a chance to use the great zig zag I had been hanging on to for a binding  and I love it. The feature fabric was very bright and busy, featuring zoo animals and so the black and white I thought was a good contrast. Anyway hope it goes down well with its new owner. 

She has also asked if she can have the pink and green quilt featured in last months catch up blog which was homeless so it will be nice to see it put to use keeping someone's wee one cosy now the nights are drawing in.  On that note I also popped this little mat together this afternoon as I fell on the Halloween fabrics whilst rummaging and just couldn't resist a play. I know I am a bit early, but at least its ready for the end of the month and as you can see I made good use of the left over binding. 
That's me for now, I am off to try and decide what I need to pack for Ireland. Five days of rain is forecast so probably won't need the shorts this time eh!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Random purchasing

I have been very remiss with my blog recently. I am not sure why as I have been keen to sit down and write nearly every evening but same old excuse I am afraid. Time has just conspired against me. I had a flying visit down to see Emily at the weekend as she is suffering from a horrible chest infection so as well as a hug  to make her feel better I wanted to give her some moral support in her planning for the Country Living Fair, as I mentioned in my last post. We had a fruitful catch up and I feel a plan is coming together. The two of us and the wonderful Jonathan must have looked like a load of chumps though as we paced out the stand size in the back garden, laying out sticks and cushions to mark the spaces for tables and print holders. Improvisation can be such a hoot if you try hard enough! 

My flying visit was preceded by a quick trip to the "Scottish Quilt Championships" at Inglestone near Edinburgh and the title of this quilt fair always makes me chuckle. Not quite the FA or Ryder Cup but some hard work exhibited by some very clever and talented ladies ( and lads perhaps? who knows). I took along my lovely lofty friend Emma, who is a "quilt virgin" and I hope I didn't bore her too much droning on about fat quarters and the like. Emma is a great supportor of QD land and I love keeping her up to date with the latest news. Who knows she may at some point get the urge to join in, but I have had to warn her how very addictive all this stitching can be. 
one of the few linens I found at the show
As you can see I did indulge in some retail therapy and I was shocked at the randomness of my purchases when I surveyed them back at home. No real theme or style here at all, but I think that's a good thing as I like the idea that different styles grab me on different days. Having quilted for over 15 years I have made many traditional pieces but have loved watching all the new styles and colours come through and the change in fabrics available has been so refreshing. I have to say that I actually was a little disappointed at the lack of modern fabrics at the show, with the only real nod to modern quilting coming from the girls at the Avery Homestore in Edinburgh. I had fallen on their website a few weeks ago so it was lovely to meet them and I am itching to get through to see the shop itself soon. The girls were selling a lovely mix of contemporary fabrics, from my favourite Amy Butler, through the jolly Brrr Ice with its great polar bears ready for Christmas, to some great Suzy Ultman Critters. I felt quite rotten actually as I rather inappropriately said that I had just bought some of the fabrics that they were selling from Pink Castle Fabrics and how great they were, but did not mean to be so rude. The girls had the best choice of fabrics at the show by far and I will most definitely be a supporter from now on. I love Pink Castle and their service is great but sometimes you just have to shop locally and avoid the tax too.
One of my plans was to look for fabrics for my Mouthy Stitches swap , with our partners being announced that day  but technology failed me and I couldn't get my emails to work on my phone till that night by which time I was tucked up in my trundle bed in the B&B in Newcastle.  Actually as I say, the fabrics on sale at rhe show were mainly run of the mill, with the exception of the very large pile now laying in the middle of my dining table, so I will be looking online for my partner, or alternatively will be "google mapping" to see if I can leg it to Avery Homestore in my lunch break in the next day or so. ( This time I shall go alone rather than inflict agony on any more friends - see " A Challenging shopping trip" ha ha). As this is my first swap I am very nervous that I will not be able to match up to the amazing work of my fellow Swappers but I will keep you posted- without revealing too much. However I will say , I do have  plan .... wink wink nudge nudge