Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting started on the New Year resolutions...

Hello again, happy new year! I hope that 2016 has started well for you.

I'm a little late wishing you happy new year, obviously, but we're still officially in January (if only by a few hours) so I hope it's not too cheeky! This January has been a bit of a cold, dark and dreary one for us, with crappy weather conditions since the week after Christmas, a minor surgery for my small boy this week (from which he's almost recovered thankfully) and a very difficult time for some of my best and oldest friends, so I am glad to see the back of it.

One of my new year resolutions was to get back sewing and blogging properly. I have really missed it this last year, and feel like my skills have gotten rusty and I've lost my inspiration. During January I decided that I needed to get moving with a couple of proper new projects and that this might kickstart things for me. Trying to finish out WIPs was just a bit too much for me and not inspiring me at all. The only exception was the Round and Round mini quilt which I finished up last night, and completely love how it turned out. It's been hanging around for a year and a half with no particular plan but I always liked the pattern. The pebble quilting had been in my head to use with the hand quilting but only this week I got around to doing it when I was home with my little man on nursing duty. You get a better idea of the texture here:

I'm going to hang this on the wall, maybe in the stairwell, as it is so cheerful and happy. First finish for 2016, woohoo!

For the new projects plan, I started out by looking for a big, complicated quilt pattern to really get my teeth into. Slightly mad, but you know, I feel sometimes if I'm working on something that's not challenging for me then I just get a bit bored and "meh" about it. So I had a look through my books and decided that the Marcelle Medallion fit the bill.

Yes, one part of me thinks I am gone quite mad taking on such a big pattern when I've done so little sewing lately and my time is so limited, but another part of me is excited and petrified in equal measure, and most importantly, I am feeling like I want to work on it every day which is exactly the point - its a challenge. I love piecing, its my favourite part of sewing, so the fact there is lots and lots of piecing in this will be just perfect for me.

I decided to epp the central star block for accuracy and not being a fan of y far so good, its not perfect but its getting there. I'm now working on the third quarter so hopefully by the middle of the week my star might be done. It's perfect work for sitting in front of the fire these cold evenings.

I have a broad colour scheme in my head but I haven't it all planned out so its a bit of a "see how it goes" project, which I love. I'm thinking light, bright and airy - pinks, purples, aqua, yellow and maybe some greens along with low volume prints....It may evolve though. I like how the central star is shaping up, I took a bit of a gamble on the colours here as I didn't do a mock up, but it is working I think.

I also started a small project too - the Patchwork Triangle Box pouch from Ayumi's "Patchwork Please" book. I want a pretty little box pouch for my make up essentials for my handbag and this fits the bill. I haven't done any zipper sewing for a good while and the construction is not the most straightforward but that's ok, I will get there.

The first panel was foundation paper pieced with those off-set triangle and honestly, foundation piecing is not my thing and I found it quite difficult. I have very poor spatial sense and the angles and piecing back to front just was a complete headwreck for me but I slogged away till I got it done, while watching the new series of Mr Selfridge on Netflix yesterday. 2 episodes it too me to do this tiny panel!

So that is my update. Suddenly I am sewing again - with a couple of projects on the go - it feels good! (Now, if I could only motivate myself to go to the pool to do my training session for my other big resolution - the Swim a Mile challenge in April - then I would feel even better.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hello..from the other side {breaking the silence}

It's been a year! Can you believe that? A whole year since I have blogged. I'm not sure anyone is even reading any more. And it certainly doesn't seem like a year. Time has flown by in the blink of an eye.

So, what have I been doing? Well, most of it is pretty much what you'd expect - working, looking after my 3 (not-so) smallies, trying to keep on top of exercising regularly, cleaning the house, cooking dinners - all the usual mum stuff.  There's been lots and lots of homework and music practice (them)......and a little bit of reading (me)...

Seriously, I don't know why I had the deluded notion that as the kids got older, I would get more time back to myself. The exact opposite is true. The older they get, the more homework they get, the more activities they are involved in, the more money they need and the more time commitment is required.  Time and money....quilting is an expensive hobby in both of these terms and sadly, I never appear to have enough of either to spare on quilting these days.

It's been a really busy year though - there's been lots of redecorating and essential upgrading in our house after 10 years of living here, a First Comunion and a couple of 40th birthdays (sob sob).


Lots of my friends turned 40 too - there were handmade gifts.


 I had my first quilt exhibition with the Modern Irish Quilters...which was really unbelievably fabulous and quite emotional.


I finally finished some long over due projects....some Christmas carol singers....


And decorating Miss R's room with long planned hoops....


And Miss E's cheerio quilt (yes, I did back it and quilt it - with dimple minky - but I forgot to take a photo).


I also finally made up this pattern I wrote which had been turning over and over in my head for about 18 months. (just need to finish quilting it)


I made some tablet for an iPad....


 and one for a Lumia tablet

Finally, I became an auntie to twins about 6 weeks ago. Such an exciting time for my brother and his wife.

Of course, it was the best excuse ever to make some cute baby gifts. Scrappy diamonds for my nephew, little baby C....

And scrappy circles for my niece, little baby A.....


I still haven't met my nephew and niece - they arrived quite early, and we have had to cancel 2 visits due to my kids and myself being sick but I have everything crossed for next week. The extra time allowed for some more crafting...little handknit cardis.

Anyway...its been nice catching up....hopefully as nice for you as for me. I'll try not to leave it as long next time!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rainbow crosses {Instagram mini quilt swap}

I've been working away on the little blocks for this mini quilt for the last few weeks. I had the idea for different scaled crosses a while back and I just started making them without planning out the layout too much. Originally I planned the 3" and 6" blocks, and then after making a few I realised I needed a bigger one too for the impact. I had fun piecing these, and they were a little bit addictive to make, even if they did involve a lot of teeny tiny piecing.

Now I need to figure out what I am going to do quilting wise. There are a lot of seams so I feel it needs some machine quilting even though my first reaction was to hand quilt it echoing the crosses. Ideas anyone?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Fairy for my little Fairy

Last year I asked Kate to do me a custom embroidery design for my baby girl. I wanted a fairy chilling out under a toadstool. Naturally, she came through for me and I got a lovely pattern from her. But I ran into some problems with my eyes which impacted on my ability to do detailed work and had to put the stitching on hold for a few months.

But I finally was able to get moving on it in the last few weeks and I really love her. In the pattern she is reading a book and this is so appropriate for my littlest lady who adores her books; she sits on my knee every evening after dinner and we read all her books together. Then she moves over to sit on her daddy's knee and reads them all again! Even better,  Rachel is obsessed with her little fairy figures inherited from her big sister and her toadstool fairy house, she plays with them every day -they're the first thing she goes to when she comes downstairs every morning. I really love how this embroidery reflects her in so many ways, without it having set out to do so because it was done long before we knew these were things she would come to love. I can't wait to put it up on her wall.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sidekick Tote, yay!

I finished my sidekick tote last week and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I love the finishing touches in this pattern.

I used Wallflowers fabric by Allison Harris, and coordinated with a Bella solid which is a salmon-y pink colour - a classic case of the colour on the screen being very different to the actual colour. I thought I was buying a delicate pink, and this salmon pink would not be my favourite shade by a long mile. But it works well as a contrasting colour and trim, and the grey balances it out nicely. The pocket is from Violet Craft's Waterfront Park, a print I love, and it coordinates nicely with the Wallflowers.

I was a bit disappointed with the finish of the interfacing - neither of my local stores have had woven fusible for the longest time, so I used some of the regular fusible stuff I found in my stash and needed to use up. But I find the regular fusible much harder to work with, it just seems to give a crinkly finish no matter what I do with it, and that's most visible on the pocket. But a bit of use seems to have eased it out a little bit.

I meant to put a key loop on the inside, and another pocket, but I totally forgot. But that's ok, because this is my weekend bag so I tend not to carry the same amount of crap with me as I do in my big work bag. I really love the strap on this - I added extra length to it as I'm tall and I like a cross body bag.

This was my first time doing a recessed zipper. I love how it looks. It took me quite a few goes to get the sides meeting up evenly where the zipper comes away from the fabric at the end, but I kept at it and eventually matched them up on the 4th or 5th try.


I thought this pattern was well written and (essential for me!) it had plenty of pictures to help me follow the instructions. I definitely think that I would put a 2nd one together very quickly, having made it once and may just have to do that. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hoops, bags and bees.... WIP Wednesday on a Saturday

One of the hazards of this time of year is that sewing in the evenings after the kids are gone to bed means that the light is rubbish for photos. So today, I took advantage of the lovely bright sunny day to take some pictures of my work in progress.

I have a few different projects that I'm working on at the moment, which is nice, because only having one or two projects on the go at any time is not good for my sewing energy, I've realised. The busier I am, in terms of the number of sewing projects and the deadlines, the more inspired I am.  So this week my plan is to get moving again on another few quilt WIPs that totally stalled over this summer. But for now, this is my WIP list.

First up - Project Rachel's room. I've been slowly but surely decluttering the stuff stored in Miss Rachel's room (the peril of being the 3rd child and occupying the "spare room") to turn into a more girlie, fun space for her now that she is old enough to toddle round and play on the floor in there with her toys.

The head of her cot (and in future her bed) is placed in a shallow alcove, and its a perfect space for a  display of hoops to decorate it.I had some hoops, and filled them with lovely fabric prints I had - the unicorn is my favourite. I have lots more to do - I'm waiting on more hoops to arrive, and then, I couldn't resist ordering the princess print from FFA for one of them (although given the time its taking to arrive I suspect that the lovely people in customs may have snaffled it as it arrived in the country from the USA along with some lovely other bits I ordered.)

I'm also working on an embroidery hoop for her too. I got this as a custom design from Lilipopo, isn't it lovely? Can't wait to get it finished. I was short a few colours, in particular reds and blues, so now have restocked ready to tackle that toadstool!

I'm also working on 2 other embroidery projects, both intended as Christmas decorations this year. One is the Lilipopo stitchalong, which uses a lovely free download pattern of a winter girl. I decided to follow one of the suggested colour schemes for this one, so that it would be nice and relaxing with no decisions to be made, and so glad I did. I'm close enough to keeping up with the stitchalong, but you'd easily catch up with it if you still wanted to join in.

The other is the carol singers embroidery I started last year but had to abandon after my eyes started to protest. Hoping to get this moving again and finished will in time for Christmas.

My sidekick tote is moving along well. I didn't have woven interfacing so I used the regular fusible stuff and forgot how it creases up a bit after sewing. Need to go over that pocket with a very hot iron and try and sort out those creases. I'm also waiting for more of theWallflowers fabric to arrive for the strap for this (in the same package as the FFA). Sigh. Think I will get the zipper and lining done tomorrow and then its just a waiting game before I can finish it.

I am shamefully behind with my Modern Irish Bee blocks. I finally managed one for Anna, but I need to get my ass in gear and get the rest done. I do love her crazy scrapy block though - I think the idea to place the fussy-cut "centre" off centre was a bit inspired really.

Lastly, I have my charms cut for another baby boy quilt, this one for my sister in law's brand new nephew. I'm a bit behind with this one, as he arrived a few weeks ago but its ok, because being a newlywed, she is off on honeymoon :-) and I will have it done before she gets back.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Little Pearl Dress

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments on my last post. It was nice to hear that other people struggle with the same issues. I think that Lynz hit the nail on the head when she mentioned the whole "blogging mojo" issue - because sometimes, I am sewing, just not blogging, or reading blogs. I blame Instagram and the temptation to just post a picture without the effort of writing a blog post. And also, if I manage to create a half hour window for myself and its a choice between sewing or blogging, I'll always pick sewing.

But to move on, I realised during the week that I hadn't shared the Little Pearl dress finish on here, although I did post some pics on Instgram at the time. So in case you haven't seen it, I did finally finish the Little Pearl dress for Miss Rachel. I used the pattern in the "Liberty Love" book which was easy to follow, and I used beautiful lawn from Seamstar to make it.

I was really please with how it turned out. I added the ruffle on the front after much deliberation and auditioning of contrast fabrics for it. In the end, I stuck to the same lavender solid that I used for the lining and this was definitely the right choice. I didn't anticipate how much the ruffle would add to the finished look - it really brings the dress up a notch I think. I had a nice matching ribbon and some small pearlised type buttons that worked well.

And I managed to do the buttonholes with only one minor mishap. It took me ages to space them right, and then after practising on scraps a few times I tackled them. All but one went well, and I managed to fix the problem one without too much swearing.  I really like the buttons I picked for the back.

I tried it on Miss Rachel wondering if it would still fit, as it had been a while since I cut it. But thankfully it did. I did notice she has shot up a couple of inches over the summer because originally this dress was good bit longer on her than it now is, but that's ok.  You can see the length best in the bottom photo.

It hangs nicely on the back too, I'm happy about that because I had to do a little adjusting to get the ends meeting up properly and wondered if it would affect how it hung.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this, I just need to find some shoes that go with it for Miss Rachel to start modelling it properly (red shoes SO do not go).

This was one of my list of finishes in the FAL, so I'll happily add it to my  (small) list of finishes for the quarter.