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