30 December 2015

What Day Is It Today?

It's Wednesday, but with the Christmas holidays it's easy to lose track of the days.  I hope that wherever you are you had a good Christmas.

Our Christmas Day was going to be spent at David's brother's in Surrey, Boxing Day at home with children and grandchildren, then a couple of days in Cornwall to see Christmas lights at Mousehole harbour, all planned out, except apart from Boxing Day it didn't happen. And the visit to David's brother happened on Sunday instead. My Mum had been ill for a while with what was a cold, possibly flu and she put us off visiting in case we got it the Sunday before Christmas and on Christmas Eve.  But by Christmas Day morning I heard the answering machine bleep with a message from my sister that Mum had been taken to A&E at Bournemouth Hospital with breathing difficulties.

Since then Mum Is still in hospital having had a set back with her recovery, but is still a bit weak and it may take a while to regain her strength.  My sister, Wen, is staying with my Dad (who is in his 90's) who has some difficulties of his own as he is getting more frail.  I have to admit she is more capable than me in looking after them, she will just get on with it, whereas I would wonder if I am doing the right thing and just feel helpless. 

So not much sewing to show today as there's not been much time for it and my room has been taken up with Christmas stuff, presents before and boxes and containers for decorations and wrapping paper after.  I decided I would make some notebook covers but just made the one, right before the holidays so may save (in not too safe a place) for next Christmas or maybe birthdays during the year.

And pocket inside the flap. The notebook is a spiral bound A5 size from Wilkinsons.

Remember the postcard I made last month?

This was for a swap and was sent beginning of December to Joe.  I received this lovely red work postcard from Bobbie.

Lovely, isn't it.

Last but not least.....

Wishing you all the best for 2016

23 December 2015

Happy Christmas 2015

This is my last post before Christmas. Things have been busy this month with work, Christmas shopping and other bits and bobs there's not much sewing to show.

I thought that I would you some Christmas trees

Our tree at home, decorated by David and granddaughter Isobel.

(didn't edit this pic) Christmas tree at St James Church in Poole.

One (of 3) Christmas tree at work

Second Christmas tree at work

And finally a Christmas wish

I hope you have a lovely time! With best wishes from


12 December 2015

Christmas Stockings

Now that birthdays and our anniversary are over David and I can get down to the serious business of Christmas.  It's unfortunate that family celebrations also take place as Christmas approaches and having to cram everything at once.  But the present shopping is mostly done, just the food shopping to do and we sat down this afternoon to write the cards so things are pretty calm. 

I've not done much sewing as last weekend our granddaughters came to stay so my room as cleared so the sofa bed could be used.  During the week though I started making Christmas stockings ....for work!!

Where I work my colleagues are mad about Christmas and started a Christmas countdown since 1st September and there have been mince pie tastings every Friday morning since October.  The M&S star topped ones have been the most popular so far.  They've also decorated the office and this large inflatable snowman has been sitting next to my desk.

(That's my filing tray and phone at the front of the picture)

There is a pillar in the office which has been turned into a chimney and boxes have been collected to make a fireplace.  The stockings are to go on the fireplace.

Here's the pattern that I made from an A4 piece of paper. Using the stitch and flip method I sewed strips of Christmas fabric for the front of the stockings with Happy Christmas fabric on the back (though I haven't taken a photo of the backs). Here's the first one

And I completed the second one today
I quite enjoyed making them, even though it was something I wasn't keen on making. It also used up some Christmas fabric too.

Also had Advent stockings that (ahem) didn't make Advent.  I've hand sewn the tops and added ribbon tags, but I've now got to get some more ribbon.

I hope your Christmas arrangements are going well.

01 December 2015

The Big Six-0

It was my birthday on Saturday and I turned 60 years old. In fact it was a birthday fortnight as David is 2 weeks older than me. We had a short break last week by going away on a mini cruise, which was to go to Amsterdam and Zeebrugge from Southampton on the P&O ship Arcadia.

We left on the Saturday (21st) and reached Amsterdam on the Sunday afternoon.  At lunchtime we reached the pair of locks to enter the North Sea Canal from the sea.  We were in the bar above the bridge of the ship

Doesn't look big enough, does it, but there was just a few metres either side of the ship and it was bought into the lock at almost walking pace by a tug, the yellow-y coloured mast that you can see in the lower window.

The canal itself is vast  and it took another 2 hours to reach its berth in Amsterdam city centre. Our balcony cabin faced the canal and it was amazing to see the large barges sailing up and down the canal.

We stayed for the Sunday and Monday and in the evening went for an evening canal cruise. That was pretty amazing seeing the city at night and the next day walked our feet off until our return to ship in the evening.

We were hoping to visit Ghent, while docked in Zeebrugge, but unfortunately due to the terrorist threat in Belgium which closed down the public transport systems, we were unable to dock there and the ship was unable to stay any longer in Amsterdam so a day was spent at sea before returning to Southampton on Wednesday.  In spite of not doing all we wanted to do it was a nice break away.

There were further celebrations with a meal out with children and grandchildren on David's birthday and with my parents, my sister and her family on mine and a lovely time was had by all

It was a lovely time to remember.

26 November 2015

Christmas Pudding

With less than a month before Christmas Day, I thought I would show you a Christmas Pudding that I made.....

Were you expecting a real one?

I started this at Bourne Quilters the beginning of this month having had a demonstration by another quilter, Vera.  She supplied the fabrics, brown and cream metallic ones. Somerset Folded Patchwork pieces were arranged over a polystyrene sphere and pinned in place.  I found a Christmas plate yesterday in Sainsburys (do you know how hard it's been finding the right plate?) which did the job. 

All this squares of fabric folded into triangles are just the thing to do while watching the television of and evening. I was able to hold the points of the triangles using a binding clip while using thread to tack the top folds together. Arranging and pinning on we're quite hard on the fingers, but again it was a good thing to do while sitting of an evening.  

18 November 2015

Christmas Postcards

After a hiatus of nearly a couple of years I've made a couple of postcards. The UK Quilters United group on Facebook has another sub group to swap postcards for this Christmas, so I thought I would join. However I made one postcard which has led to another one being made.  I've done these using reverse applique.

This is the first, a bauble

You'll have to excuse the glamorous surroundings, on my ironing board, propped against my travel iron. I folded gold ribbon to use as binding on this card and had literally half an inch left! The circle is used was traced from the rim of the mug that holds my pens, which you can see lurking behind the ironing board.

Today I made another card with 2 bells overlapping.  I used a large cotton reel for the head of the bell shape which I drew on paper and cut out to make a template, which I then drew onto paper and stitched through the paper onto the fabric. I then cut away the top fabric to reveal the others underneath.  I thought the green fabric was a bit busy, but doesn't look too bad.

Here's a pic of the back of the first card. Another view of my iron again

I'm pleased I can still make postcards.

09 November 2015

Just a Quick Post

To say that my rainbow quilt has had 129 votes in the Bloggers Quilt Festival, which I'm really staggered by.  Ok, so I may not have won anything, but to know that other viewers have voted for my quilt and has come 6th in the ROYGBIV category has made me really happy.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the quilt in question

04 November 2015

Farmers Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt 4

The number of blocks is growing steadily, with taking time at the weekend for making one block here 
This is #24 Coral, with its off centre square in a star.  As with earlier blocks that I've made I've been able to work out the measurements of the block pieces to rotary cut and machine piece.  It came together very quickly. I did play around with other plains, but this dark green works well with the print.

I did a bit more sewing on Monday evening to make 2 more blocks

This is #78 Old Maid, the classic Old Maid's Puzzle block. There are 2 shapes in this, larger and smaller right angle triangles. I printed out the templates and used a two in one 90 degree ruler to cut the shapes accurately from 2" wide strips. I picked out the blue flower when deciding the plain cornflower blue contrast. Really goes well.

Being on a roll this evening I went for another block
This is #14 Betty, another simple block of squares and half square triangles and apologies for the not so brilliant photo, I tried hard to get the light right, but not always possible, especially in the evenings, but the background black wasn't a good move. I will probably use the mini design board as a background as the black was too stark.

I will add this post to the Farmers Wife 1930s page at the top of my blog, where you will find links to my previous posts.  If you are on Instagram have a look at #fw1930squilt set up by Kerry Green, who is also running the Sew Along. Just click on the link to the side of my blog, all the info is there

27 October 2015

Baltimore Album Block 2 - Oak Reel

Very appropriate as it's Autumn and suddenly the leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees.  There have been some spectacular sights of the colour changing trees, but all too quickly the leaves will be gone.

So here's my second block, the Oak Reel from Mimi Dietrich's book Baltimore Basics.  

It wasn't easy to do the little curves in the leaves, but with some clipping of the curves and using temporary glue pen to shape the appliqués they managed to keep their shape.  More little berries, 16 of them this time, which were easy to lose until attached.

The batik fabric I bought from Doughty's some time ago, seems to give the impression of a wet Autumn day, makes a nice backdrop to this block

Next block will be Pineapples, which will involve applique from the reverse of the background fabric. See how that goes.

26 October 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler 3

I've still not tackled more foundation piecing so these two blocks are worked out by measuring, rotary cutting and machine piecing.  I will have to get a handle on the more complicated blocks, but given my time constraints at present to get two more blocks completed is an achievement.

So here they are

The top (pink) one is (no. 79) Patience, I have to admit a bit of cheating with the patterned pieces, cut 2 squares and 2 rectangles instead of of 6 squares, but don't tell anyone ;o).

The bottom block is (no. 94) Susannah, a block which I am very familiar with, having made this a few times, seeing as the name of it is as close to Suzan as I'm going to get!  I like purple too, so this had to be a block with purples in (or shades thereof). Again rotary cut and machine pieced.

Do you like the board that I've displayed these on?  I found on You Tube a tutorial on making a mini design board by Lori Holt on the Fat Quarter Shop here

I didn't have the foam core board that she uses, but I did have the middle of a fabric bolt which was made of corrugated card.  As it was a long rectangle I cut in half and joined the two halves side by side and taped together well, although it does bend slightly in the middle because of the join.  I used a glue gun to attach the wadding (batting) to the board.

I used 2 strips of fabric to make the binding and had some of the strip left over so that made a hanging look to put neatly away when not in use (that's the theory, anyway). The binding strip was glued again using the glue gun around the side, top and bottom of the board, the loop was also glued on.  Using this to keep the pieces together will be handy in putting more of the Farmer's Wife blocks together. especially when the pieces become very small.

Here is another picture of the board with another block, Sarah, which I shared on another post.

Being as the days are shorter, there probably be more shadowy pictures, I try not to get too much of i-Phone, i-Pad or camera in the pics, but sometimes it's just impossible.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

I've decided to enter my small quilt, made at a recent workshop, into the ROYGBIV category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival

 This the the front
 The back is pretty rainbow-y too
And here's a close up detail of the stitching applique circles, and a few sequins.

I love it so much that it is hanging in the bedroom, just love the colours.

Read more about it in this post here.

See the post about the ROYGBIV category of the Quilt Festival here.

18 October 2015

In Other News This Week…..

Last Saturday saw the Dorset Quilters' Day at the Hamworthy Club in Canford Magna near Wimborne with two speakers Gwyneth Rose and Claire Passmore, both art quilters with different routes to their craft.  Gwyneth grew up in Hertfordshire who didn't achieve high enough grades to enable her to become a teacher and later became a mature student to realise that career later in life. She found English Paper Pieced hexagons in the 1970's when a teenager, then learnt more about quilting which lead her to being an unqualified teacher and the university courses to get to her goal of being qualified.  She started experimenting with rust on fabric and her work is influenced by industrial scenery.  She doesn't have a website but has a page with gallery pictures on the Quilters' Guild website here.

Claire Passmore, the second speaker, learned how to quilt when she relocated from the UK to South Africa for a number of years.  She now spends her time between the UK and New Zealand and teaches in both countries.  Again she learned traditional quilt making before exploring art quilting.  She taught a workshop last Sunday, which I didn't attend (unusual for me) but her quilts were really varied. I took a photo of a couple of them here and she has also has a website.  She has a blog, where she has written about the Sunday workshop.

Sunday was busy washing out fabrics from the past few weeks (from Pauline's Patchworks where a did a workshop 3 weeks ago, last Monday evening's speaker evening and Saturday's quilting day).

I also won one of the raffle prizes. an Advent calendar panel, which I made up last Sunday afternoon

And on Wednesday I looked for a large piece of Christmas fabric to go on the back.  I didn't have any, so I made the back from several pieces of fabric

I'll finish off this afternoon.  It may go to one set of grandchildren, depending who'd like it.

Progress this week on the Baltimore Album block

Seven berries stitched, nine more to go. Coming along well.

We had a delivery from Ikea yesterday of some shelf units to go in my room.  One had been made up but now debating whether the Billy bookcase we ordered will fit in too.  Might mean a bit of juggling around. More about that later.

11 October 2015

Farmers Wife 1930's Sampler, no. 2

It should be 'An Addie Disaster'!  When I first got the book I wanted to try the first block, Addie.  The pieces looked simple enough so I machine pieced this and although careful with my piecing it puckered when put together. That was disaster no. 1, which is the top yellow,green and red block.
Disaster no. 2, the bottom block. The flying geese in this are heading in the wrong direction. Although the blocks look good and I foundation pieced the block it is totally wrong and I only noticed that when ironing the block this morning. Oh well, may be third time lucky.....

However I made this block on Wednesday called Becky (no. 12), which could be rotary cut and pieced.  Nice and simple, small progress has been made.

Yesterday morning I came across a YouTube video by Fat Quarter Shop of a mini design board demonstrated by Lori Holt, of Farmhouse Vintage fame.  I think one of these could be really useful in keeping small pieces together while constructing so I may make one of these.  Another handy thing I've found which I hope will help with making the Farmers Wife blocks was an A4 pad of 50gsm Layout paper, which is considerably thinner than normal computer paper but goes through our printer quite well and will reduce the bulk in paper foundation pieced blocks.

Which just goes to show, no matter how experienced you are, there is always something new to learn!

04 October 2015

Two Finishes

I've now finished my rainbow wallhanging, from last Saturday's workshop tutored by k3n having worked on it during the week, yesterday morning and this morning.  So here it is

 It's not wonky at the top, it's just my photography!
And here's the back with hanging sleeve and label (I've impressed myself here!)
And a close up, where I've stitched some "bubbles" and added small circles (I traced around a couple of cotton reels onto Bondaweb for those). I also added a sequin arc for a bit of bling.

Here's what the rainbow was like before I added the backing and trimmed down.

Lastly for this piece, I bonded the backing fabric onto the wadding so it covered up all that lovely stitching.  For those who like to see what the back was like before the addition of fabric, here it is
I really enjoyed the freedom of making this piece and the workshop was good too.  

The second finish is the first of my Baltimore Album blocks.  The book I've used, Baltimore Basics, by Mimi Dietrich, has very comprehensive instructions and, stitching when I can, was this

My first Baltimore Album block. It's not perfect, but it doesn't look too bad either.

Fired on by this I started on a second block tracing the outline of the pattern onto background fabric and the appliqué pieces onto freezer paper.

All cut out and glued with a Sewfine glue pen onto the back of the freezer paper and ready to sew on. You will notice that I haven't yet cut out the red berries just yet.  I think that may be another evening to cut out, gather and press all 16 of them!  Ironing the oak leaves have proved quite challenging this afternoon.

Nice to say that I've finished something!