Sunday, 19 November 2017

Now No.22 is finished - even if I did go a little off piste

I'm not only enjoying sewing. I'm enjoying blogging too. I've decided to only blog when I'm making or have made something. I think the pressure of trying to put my whole life on all parts of social media were just too much. It would be nice to document my getting back into creativity and it might spur me on to do a bit more blog reading than I have of late.

Anyway, I've gone and done another finish!

Item No22 on my Finish Along List was some Christmassy place mats. If I told you I bought this fabric (charm squares, some kona and a co-ordinating panel of fabric.) when it first came out, you'll have some idea of just how long this has been in my stash. No wonder it took me a while to re-find it. I'd even started cutting out parts of the panel and matching it to the fabric charms. I couldn't quite remember what I'd intended doing with it. Probably a feature panel with smaller squares around it.

The reason I probably didn't finish this sooner is I sort of fell out of love with some of the fabric. I liked all the colour-ways individually. But together I felt sort of meh about them.

Christmas place mats

Then Lily's Quilts was having a destash. (Yes, I've still not forgotten I intend to have one myself. Lets not think about getting rid of fabric when I was tempted to buy!) I haven't bought any fabric for ages. My fabric purchasing this year has gone right down. But this bundle of 20 10" layer cake squares spoke to me and I snapped it up.

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

From the moment it arrived I had a plan. I started cutting that very afternoon. I pulled out all the red and cream fabrics from the charm squares above and then cut all but two duplicated large squares in half and generated some more charm squares by cutting them in half again. 

It was at the cutting point I learned something about pre-cuts. Not all are cut equal. These were a bit shy of 10", which might have been something to do with the large zig zagged edges or just a different manufacturers ideas of what 10" is. I ploughed on because if I could remember to sew I surely could remember a bit of seam fudging. (There was plenty of that and a tonne of pins at some stages!)

I think the two fabric ranges mix in nicely, don't you?  The table runner is made of 5" squares. Some of the fabric has such a lovely bold design I didn't want to lose this by cutting out HST's or something. 

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

I cut out 2.5" squares for two place mats. There is only really Mum and I over Christmas and even though I'd originally cut fabric for four mats I thought I'd actually maybe like to do two totally different Christmas mats in the future, so I could mix and match and ring the changes. 

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

Christmas table mats and runners
Christmas table mats and runners

So here they are finally finished. Is it just me that's never happy with how binding joins on smaller projects? I always seem to end up with a lot of bulk that I end up wrangling. I tried to join these with two different methods and trimmed lots of excess fabric away but still wasn't happy. Thankfully nobody will be inspecting the backs! 

I tell you what though. I'm itching to get on with some more making! 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

No 7. Is finished - My first finish-a-long target is a tick!

I had really hoped that my 3 way wrap scarf would be finished first as I had high hopes of taking it to Scotland when I holidayed there for a week at the end of October. But life got in the way of all things creative. It's only now I'm back and recovered from the coach-lag (is that really a thing? No, Ok I just made that up.) that I'm back sewing.

Right before Scotland I bumped into the decorator who was going to organise some repairs and paint our kitchen before we went away.  I'd totally put that work to the back of my mind, so when he said he could come at the end of the next week, I said OK fine and then had to frantically clear the kitchen. Even a little kitchen has an awful lot of stuff in it. I found things in the backs of cupboards I'd forgotten I had. It was a good job done. Great to get it decorated, but it meant no time for sewing and no space. I normally sew on the dining room table. Everything was decanted onto the table and around the table and on the chairs. I couldn't get to the sewing machine, let alone use it!

My big motivator to get this project done is so I could send it off to a friend for her birthday.  A couple of birthday's ago she knitted me some lovely hand warmers which come on all my cooler weather trips in Gertie and were packed for Scotland too. I thought as she knits too she might like a knitting project bag. I find these so useful for storing projects safely when I'm not working on them. They'd also be great for storing larger sewing projects when you need to keep bigger bits all up together safely.

So I dug out the precut squares. Actually I'd managed to lose the first lot I photographed and in looking for them I found a second lot! Which did save a lot of work cutting out and meant I could get on with sewing at the weekend.

Knitting/project bag

I've decided that scraps are definitely my favourite way of working. I find working with scraps far more liberating than cutting into virgin fabric - particularly bundles. It takes me forever to decided on a plan for them (Hmm maybe that's why they end up in my stash for so long!) and then I worry about having made the wrong decision. I always feel much happier when I've generated some scraps to play with and of course other peoples scraps are always better.

So anyway, back to the project bag: 

Knitting/project bag

I lined it in *that* number print from Ikea. Apparently they no longer stock it! I love that print for linings and backings. The drawer string on the bag is actually a piece of ribbon that has tape measure markings on it. I thought that would be fun.

Knitting/project bag

So there it is. My first finish-a-long item completed. You can find my original list here.  I am already working on the second finish item. Although it has gone slightly off piste. I'll hopefully blog about that next time!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Finish A Long Q4 - The list of shame

So after an aborted attempt to do a list via Instagram I thought I'd go old school and do a blog post. This required a bit of time this afternoon digging through the WIP basket and around the WIP basket as it was over flowing a tad.  I discovered things I'd erased from my mind I'd forgotten all about. Things I'd quite like to get finished. Here goes:

1. Fancy Dr Who Scarf - no optimistic of a finish because I have to generate left overs to add to this!
Finish a long

2. Birdie panel made by the last bee I was in. Wanted to make this into a cushion but I'm not sure it's a suitable shape or whether one of the panels would hold up to being a cushion as it has some raw edge applique and it looks like it's applied with fabric glue?
Finish a long

3. X&+ quilt. Totally doable she says bravely. It's about half done top wise.
Finish a long

4. Highland Coo panel to turn into a cushion
Finish a long

5. Hexie flowers to turn into a knitting project bag.
Finish a long

6. Every day place mats - I started cutting at least
Finish a long

7. Squares knitting project bag
Finish a long

8. Panel that needs turning into a cushion
Finish a long

9. Four identical bags, interfacing and snaps in their own plastic bags. Destined to become a little shoulder bag.
Finish a long

10. HST's destined for a table runner!
Finish a long

11. plus blocks destined for a cushion
Finish a long

12. Orphan blocks destined to become a scrappy kitchen sink quilt
Finish a long

13. Never did plan a whole quilt of these. But I did plan a small quilt to use as a table centre piece
Finish a long

14. need to finish hand quilting and turn into a cushion
Finish a long

15. Bag pieces cut out for a fab Noodlehead tote
Finish a long

16.  Liberty Apple Core sewing organiser - (I'd have finished this at the weekend but I can't find my rotary cutter. The one in the picture is an old one and blunt!)
Finish a long

17. PJ Bottoms. I made these in class at the Fat Quarterly retreat. I think they only need length sorting and hemming - presuming they still fit because I think these were from 2013!
Finish a long

18. Scrappy Trip Quilt. I'd got some suitable strips left from making Chiefs quilt and had cut some more and started to sew them together. But then I ran out of steam!
Finish a long

19. My precious large star quilt. About 6 - 7 years ago these large star quilts were every where and I pulled some precious fabric started cutting and even got the back ground fabric in a zingy shade of Klona. But then I couldn't work out how to cut the blocks well given the size would be larger than my cutting mat!
Finish a long

20. Low Volume blocks - had visions of a vintage/modern heritage style quilt in low volume colours with the odd pop of colour.
Finish a long

21. Three Way Wrap knit.  Those last few inches are taking forever
Finish a long

22. Christmas place mats. I completely forgot to find these and photograph. But I'll add them on here I don't want to forget to get on with these before Christmas!

Christmas place mats
Ok, so my list has over doubled from the Instagram version! Yikes.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

If I blog will I want to sew?

I failed miserably with the destash. I pulled out a huge pile of things I no longer want and have left them in a pile that periodically gets shifted from one chair in the dining room to another. What stalled me was no sooner did I decide to destash, the world and her sewing stash seemed to be doing the same thing and I felt if I put my meagre offerings out there they'd underwhelm everyone else from the big bang destashes going on. I decided to wait until less destashing was going on. Then life got in the way and it's back on hold.

Yesterday, I read a few blogs. I have to say since I stopped blogging I've neglected blog reading and commenting big time. I found I actually missed blogging. I can't ever imagine blogging at the rate I did a few years ago. 200+ posts in one year! But I would like to drop by with the occasional post, because I miss it and I miss the old blog interaction. Don't get me wrong I'm a total Instagram addict. I can hardly keep from checking it every nano second. But it doesn't allow for the sort of interaction that blogging did. Blogging helped me keep my sewjo on track. Even though I had little blips.

This is the longest I've gone without creating. Do I miss it? Yes and no.  Things move on. I like the idea of creating. I like the actual creating bit, but at the moment I feel I'm stuck in a limbo between the two.

I've also been really distracted by travel. Travel is new to me as I've had issues relating to travel and until I went abroad in 2015 I hadn't been for maybe 20 years. Then I binged and managed 6 countries in less than 12 months! I spend a ridiculous amount of time now researching travel destinations and then if I go, sorting the thousands of pictures I take so I can make Blurb books of my travels. Day dreaming about travel has replaced the need to acquire and dream about fabric. (And given the amount of fabric I own, I couldn't be happier!)

I've also been distracted by my garden which got really neglected and has taken some work to start to pull back into shape.

I've got some busy times coming up on the home front and the chances are I'll have less time and inclination to sew over the summer.

But I want to try and start in some small ways.

I'll leave you with a few pics of what I have managed to make this year. Try not to be too underwhelmed!  It seems I put pictures on IG not flickr so I can't even show you bunting and lavender bags.

I know: Must try harder!

Seeing as I don't like to leave without a snap here is a picture I took in Gozo where we stopped off for lunch.

Dwejra, Gozo for lunch

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

On Why A Destash is Imminent.

Hello is there anybody there?

Well, it has been a long time since I put fingers to keyboard and did a blog post. But I have a long last decided to do a destash of fabric and craft materials. Long hoarded (and sadly) these days never used.

It's taken me a while to get my head around destashing. I think the two things that have stopped me are: The thought of getting organised. Spending my work life organising everybody else's life means the thought of coming home and doing more organising does not fill me with enthusiasm. Secondly, what if I let go of stuff only to find that I suddenly wished I hadn't. As I've been waiting for my sewing mojo to return and I absolutely love sewing from stash rather than having to buy and wait for fabric when I'm itching to get stitching.

However, I have a good incentive right now. Immediately after my birthday in January, Chiefs already troublesome back, gave out. He just managed to get home before it got really bad and he was hardly able to move around and off work for about a month. He injured his back many years ago (before I knew him) in a parachuting accident and has been in pain with it ever since. In fact for over 6 months after the accident he was paralysed from the waist down and told he'd not walk again. From time to time his back goes out. Chief said to me when he was bored and stuck at home off work that he wished this had happened when he was at my house because at least we'd be together.

The first thing that occurred to me was sh*t where would he sleep? He'd never manage our cottage stairs and the bathroom is downstairs. Being a problem solver I thought that's ok. We'd just have to take the spare single bed down stairs to the dining room. However, the only way to accommodate it would be move the drawers with the fabrics hoarded in and around. That's a lot of fabric to shift and rehome and I'd not be able to sew while he was in there even if I did feel so inclined.

Sorting my stash
This chest of drawers and beyond is rammed with fabrics! 

It made me realise that the people close to me are more important to the stash around me. That actually if it came to it I'd have to bundle it all into a black sack and transfer it to where the bed had been (no way the chest of drawers would go up our stairs.) But more importantly it occurred to me that actually I was hanging on to most of this because it was pretty and it cost money, so I couldn't afford to just dump it. I'm not actually sewing like I used to. After all how many quilts does one person need? I have limited options of making quilts for other people as gifts and anyway, the last quilt I made was a baby quilt in September. I had to canvas a relative to find out if it had been received, as a thank you wasn't forthcoming, about a month later I got a message on facebook saying: thanks we got you a thank you card but forgot to post it. The only plus side was I managed to make every thing from stash.

So now I'm letting go. I'll probably have to do it in stages. I'm hoping that all the other destashes going on won't put people off buying my stuff there seems to be more destashes going on at the moment than you can shake a stick at!

And who knows maybe when I've reduced my stash I'll find I do want to sew again - with what's left obviously - not buying more!

Anyway, if you're interesting in my destash and seeing what I decide to get rid of please follow my destash account on Instagram @isisjem_destash

Monday, 31 October 2016

Smashing Pumpkin Floral Display

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

With Halloween upon us I thought I'd share with you a little tutorial on how to make a pumpkin floral arrangement. After all not everyone wants a Jack O Lantern with a gruesome face on it. This design could be used throughout Autumn and for Thanksgiving/Harvest Festival if you're so inclined to celebrate those. 

I've put this together in mind that the average person does not have florist equipment like Oasis to hand. I wanted to make something that anyone would do providing they had a pumpkin and some flowers.

I bought my pumpkin in Asda yesterday for £1.00 and two bunches of seasonally coloured flowers for less than £5.00. (I had enough flowers left over to do a small vase full!) Of course if you have flowers in your garden you can use those. In fact all the greenery was cut from my garden. You will also need an empty plastic drinks bottle or similar. Failing that a suitably sized jam jar. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin
Blood red Chrysanthemums and some autumn coloured 'Pinks'.

First up get a sharp kitchen knife and cut a square around the top of the pumpkin stalk. I deliberately didn't slice off the top of the pumpkin like you would to carve for a lantern as I wanted more control over the aperture cut into the pumpkin. I chose a square because I think it's easier to cut, rather than trying to be too precise with a round cut at this stage.

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

Next you need to scrape out all the seeds and gunk inside. A pyscho style knife and all those pumpkin entrails and I was already in the halloween mood!

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

When you've scooped out as much as possible and cleaned and dried it out. Place your drinks bottle on top of the hole you've cut and carefully carve away until you can push the drinks bottle inside the pumpkin all the way to the bottom. Don't carve out too much as you want the drinks bottle to sit snuggly inside the pumpkin to hold it in place.  You don't want it to wobble about too much. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

Next use a black marker to drawer a line around the drinks bottle just above where it comes out of the pumpkin.  You're going to cut just below this line you've marked. Don't worry about getting it too level. The chances are your pumpkin isn't that level either. That's why I recommend drawing around the top of the bottle rather than trying to measure and calculate the exact height it needs to be. You won't be seeing the top of the pumpkin once you flowers are in place. Don't cut too low or you drinks bottle might tip over into the inside of the pumpkin. The drinks bottle bottom is going to be the water reservoir for the flowers. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

I got a bit carried away at the next stage and forgot to take any pictures until it was finished. It's really easy though!   

Fill the drinks bottle bottom inside the pumpkin with water. Don't fill quite to the top. Leave about half and inch to avoid water spillage into the pumpkin. I added a sachet of plant food that came with some of my flowers. 

Next get some of focus flowers - in my case the blood red chrystanth's and cut them down so they stick up above the height of the pumpkin by about a third to a half of the height of the pumpkin I used two stems as they were quite bushy.  If it helps you can stand a stem next to the pumpkin and work out where you need to trim from there. Remember you can cut more off, but not stick it back on if you've cut off too much. Strip off any leaves that are going to sit in the water. (If you leave them on they'll go mouldy and taint the water, shortening the life of the flowers).  You'll notice when you first place the flowers they'll lean to one side. This is because you have nothing to support them yet. 

Next I had a wander around my garden (if you haven't got one maybe you forage locally for some suitable greenery) looking for foliage. I deliberately don't over trim my evergreens at this time of year so I can use them to bulk out flower arrangements. I chose a golden variegated Euonymus. (You can just see the corner of the shrub in question on the left hand side of the picture with the bottle sat on top of the pumpkin.) I cut about half a dozen stems of Euonymus longer than I'd needed, so I could cut them down to exactly the size I wanted and get a good supporting shape. It's good to choose something quite firm and bushy so they support the more delicate flowers. You may have to put stems in place and then remove and trim again until you get them just as you like. Again strip off any leaves that will sit in the water. 

Remember when you're placing anything that if you're using this as a table display it will be seen from all sides so you want to keep turning the pumpkin and making sure everything looks balanced. Step back and see where you need to add in more bits or take bits away. 

I took the Pinks next and cut them down so I could infill them among the greenery to add some interest and break up the 'hedge' it was creating around the top of the pumpkin. You'll notice the more you add the more support everything gets. 

I still felt it needed something else so had a walk around my garden and spotted some trails of winter flowering jasmine that were starting to turn slightly autumnal colours. I snipped off about four of these and because the arrangement was quite dense now it was easy to support them among what was already in place. They are quite curvy and whispy and I thought they'd give a different texture and stop everything looking like a dome at the top of the pumpkin.  I popped a couple of stray mini stems of the chrystanthemums that had fell off when I was cutting down the larger stems around the greenery too. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

I had a woodpecker watching my making. I think it approved of the final display.  Any questions please ask! And if you do make one I'd love to see your versions.

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

Friday, 23 September 2016

Don't faint I sewed!

Just last week some digital scales and some postal bags arrived from Amazon. I decided I needed some scales to weigh wool when I'm working out how much I have left etc. I was also motivated because I decided when the weather turned I was going to have a fabric/materials destash. Maybe starting with scraps and odd cuts I'd never use.

I had been reading the How To Grow Your Creativity posts over on Collettes Blog and it had made me think about this last loss of sewjo. Since I re-started quilting in earnest - largely motivated by Flickr and then the online community of modern quilters and bag makers that grew out of it, I have had little periods when my sewjo was lacking. Most of the time it was because I was simply overwhelmed with ideas and could never make everything I wanted to. I'd have needed 48 hour days and it would totally demotivate me until I could see the wood for the trees again.

This more recent lack of sewjo is more entrenched. Firstly, after years of travel anxiety I finally managed to go abroad again last year. It left me wanting to travel more and I did it again this year - this time flying. (In fact over two trips I've managed six countries!) My head has been full of travel and potential for travel photography and some how sewing and quilting has taken a back seat.

Secondly - life just has a way of getting in the way. 

Also, one of the quickest ways to stop me in my tracks creatively is to lose my purpose for the craft. I have made so many quilts in the last few years that I think goodness do I really need any more? Where will I put them, who can I make one for and gift it, knowing it will be appreciated? The same with bags. I suppose each time I've added to my fabric stash I have kidded myself it will only take up valuable space in the short term because it will be made into something (eventually). But all those somethings need homes and it has got to the stage when I've felt I'm making for the sake of it and that has sapped my enjoyment.

I was never someone who wanted to make a living from my craft. Or at least (unless I was teaching something) never felt that I could compete with the world and his wife already out there doing it and perhaps a lot better than I ever could. Kidding myself amassing a decent sized stash, so I could whip up stuff to eventually sell, was quite frankly, delusional.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what might kick start my creativity and rationalising what I have is definitely the way to go. Hence my thinking I really needed to destash.

And then something unexpected happened. Someone (I can't say who until it's gifted.) I know had a baby and the moment I saw pictures I thought: Oh! I could make a baby quilt as a gift. I have longed for the excuse to make a baby quilt. A simple one can be whipped up in next to no time and ahead of the destash, making something from stash was going to help get shot of some fabric!

I kicked myself for not doing the sewing over the last 6 months I've known the baby was coming. Being out of the sewing groove, it just didn't cross my mind!

I grabbed two packs of Oh Deer! by MoMo that I'd saved thinking they'd be great should I ever need to make a baby quilt.  I wanted to do something different to my 'go to' baby quilt pattern which has been the charm squares baby quilt that Elizabeth Hartman offered up some years ago. But I hadn't got oodles of time (unless the baby was graduating kindergarten before she got the quilt!) and as I had two charm packs I decided to alternate half squares between whole squares much like the original design, but leave out the sashing. I used an off cut of left over wadding and some of that Ikea number print to back it.

Binding was going to be tricky as using fabric from all one line (and a distinctive one at that) there was nothing in my stash that obviously complimented it - until I came across some green solid fabric. Probably left over from another long forgotten project.

Oh Deer Baby quilt

Oh Deer Baby quilt

I'll confess until it was finished I did wonder if it wasn't too 'boyish' in colours and I do think this quilt could be for a boy or a girl. Hopefully the parents will like the bright modern colours and not take one look and wish I'd have created something more pastel and girlie. 

Sewing this I was reminded just how much I like sewing. Also, how I can be really motivated and excited to shop my stash for a project. There is nothing so satisfying as when you can justify that fabric you bought three years ago by turning it into the perfect project. 

I don't want to lose momentum -  I think I may make some more x&+ blocks for that long term quilt project.  I'm also thinking I might make another baby quilt or two. I've got ideas, I've got fabric and as I've got no other babies looming on the horizon, I'm thinking maybe a charity donation, as there has to be some little babies out there in need of a quilty hug? 

So my top tip for anyone who's lost their sewing mojo is: look at your stash with fresh eyes and aim to make something just using what you've got. It doesn't have to be a big quilt. Raid your stash for fabrics for mug rugs or table runners, pouches and cushions. After all Christmas is just around the corner and if you're stash is holding you back get some of it used... can always buy more fabric if you use too much up!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Big Stitch Swap Round 2

I had (pretty much intentionally) dropped off the face of the blogiverse of late. The simple fact is I've completely lost my joy for sewing. I signed up for a swap so I had to sew and whilst I enjoyed coming up with a design for my partner and even doing the whole sewing bit. It's made me want to do little more than think about sewing.

I haven't bought fabric in ages. I was convinced I would be the one bulk buying Mendocino (when my all time fave fabric became available again this spring.) However, I've not felt the urge to buy any. And yes maybe one day I'll regret that. Who knows.

Not sewing has been a major factor in not blogging. Whilst my blog has never been wholly sewing motivated, I have always felt that the bulk of my readership was here to see what I'd made or was making.   Sometimes I miss blogging. I know so many people that were blogging when I started that no longer blog or blog infrequently now. The loss of that sense of community and camaraderie has in some ways helped me not feel too bad about not blogging.

So what have I been doing instead. I am still a prolific photographer. It's the creative 'thing' that over the years has consistently brought me the most happiness. I can't imagine ever getting bored of taking pictures of things. I feel I'm constantly learning and (hopefully) improving. I absolutely love making my blurb year books. And since last years foreign trip (which I never did blog about.) I've started making travel blurb books too. I suffer quite seriously from a travel related anxiety. I am forever trying to get to grips with it. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not so. What usually motivates me greater than anything else is knowing I can take photos of every trip. Next month I'm off on my adventures again. When the trip was booked, I'll confess the excitement vanished into a complete irrational melt down. But as I'm working through all that, the thought I can fill a zillion memory cards to document the trip and then come home and make a photo book and on miserable dark winter nights I can look back and remember, is what's motivating me through all the rubbish stuff that goes on in my head.

But what of the sewing I have done!? My partner made a lovely inspiration mosaic over on instagram and whilst her sign up form indicated a love of bright colours I picked up a sort of vintage love from the mosaic and once I'd run with that idea I found I'd probably gone a bit more muted than I'd intended or she would have liked. But I'm hoping she likes it just the same.

Mini for my partner

I made yo-yo's/Suffolk punches - first time since I was at infant school and most of the square shaped fabric you see is raw edged and sewing down with mini kantha style mini stitches in rows along and across each piece. 

The rabbit is made from a scrap of Heather Ross double gauze I'd been hoarding for just the right project. The lace circle has been in my stash forever. I'm not sure I've used one before. I think they were another item I was saving just because! It is so liberating to no longer feel so precious about my fabric/stash. The binding was left over from another quilt and I had just enough to bind this little mini. The background fabric is a piece of Essex linen. Apart from sewing down the binding on my machine, ready to hand sew down at the back - everything else has been hand sewn. 

I'm sure if I was more motivated I'd have destashed a lot of my fabric by now. I may start off by sorting out some scraps and putting them on instagram. Just don't hold your breath I'll be back to regularly blogging any time soon. 

Monday, 15 February 2016

I made a quilt!

I appeared to have dropped of the face of the blogiverse. That's what a chest infection followed by a cold than hung on and on before and all over Christmas will do for me blogging. Chief gets the blame for the cold. He decided to come and nurse me with my chest infection...he had a stinker of a cold at the time and all that happened was we swapped germs and that put paid to seeing each other between Christmas and New Year! Not spending Christmas with Chief is becoming a tradition now.

Something else that feeling poorly and getting caught up with other Christmas plans put paid to, was finishing the quilt I wanted to give to a family member. I'm fairly sure she won't be stopping by my blog any time soon.  I think I'll get away with revealing it on here before it's been gifted for her birthday.


Country Garden Snowball Quilt

I am calling it Country Garden Snowball Quilt because all the fabric I chose for this, I chose because it reminded me of flowers in a country garden herbaceous border. I was lucky enough to win a give away Jo had and I'm sure she'll recognise a lot of the fabric I won, in this quilt - it fitted the bill perfectly. The rest is from stash. I haven't bought any fabric since before Christmas. Apart from there being a strong chance I'll get myself some Mendocino when it hits the shops I have no interest in buying more fabric. I actually am more determined than ever to get rid of fabric not acquire it. I think part of the reason I've stopped enjoying quilting is: I can't see the wood for the trees any more. The logical thing would be to have a destash. I'm not ruling that out. It just feels like an impossible task at the moment. So I'm hoping to have a real purge on the making front. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed making a quilt. There are stages I don't much like. (Quilting will never be my thing.) But I love sewing the binding on and knowing I'm about to have a finished quilt. 

The white fabric in this quilt is, I believe, Kona Snow - some I bought from Jude's etsy shop because I never have enough white/solid fabrics to use like this in quilts. The binding was made from two fat quarters of  green Denyse Schmidt fabric from the Flea Market Fancy Reprint. The backing (which I didn't get a picture of is a white and green vintage sheet I found in a charity shop.) 

Country Garden Snowball Quilt
Taking pics on a windy day is never easy but you can just
glimpse the backing here!

I forgot to measure the final quilt. I think it's around 45" x 58"

Believe it or not I have already decided to make a quilt for another friends birthday - yes, it'll be another quick simple design where the fabric does the talking and I intend making it all from stash. Also, cutting the wadding for this I have a piece left over that would be about the right size for a baby quilt and I've been wanting to make some baby quilts for a while - and as I have no babies to make for, I'm thinking charity quilt time...If I can get all this done I really can bust my stash. More on what I'd like to do creatively (non quilting wise) another time. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Advent 11: Oxford at Christmas

Languishing in my drafts folder is a half started blog post about a project I started in the summer to photograph Oxford. It's my local home town (although technically it's a city) and even though I've done many of the touristy things over the years I've rarely taken an decent photographs. I decided after I did my Amsterdam Adventure travel blurb book that I'd do an Oxford one. Maybe giving myself 2 - 5 years to explore via day trips etc and capture the city as if I'm seeing it for the first time. I thought it might also make me explore the city a bit more and on the second photography trip I did something I'd never done before - you'll have to wait for that blog post though!

One of the things I really wanted to do was photograph The Covered Market. Which opened in 1774 and was as the name suggests and indoor market. It was apparently built in response to appeals to tidy up the untidy and unsavoury stalls that littered the centre of Oxford. So far from being just an indoor market with stalls it's actually more like a complex of little independent shops. However, if you stop to look there are some lovely details and I've always thought the best time to photograph the market would be at Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't have much time as I had Mum with me, a trip to the Christmas Market planned and some Christmas shopping. So I really was just taking a few quick snaps.

After a few hours we'd done everything we needed to and both of us were ready to go home. Where we've been resting all afternoon. Yes, definitely hibernation mode here.

The Covered Market, Oxford

The Covered Market, Oxford

The Covered Market, Oxford

The Covered Market, Oxford
That's a cake made in the shape
of The Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford!

The Covered Market, Oxford

The Covered Market, Oxford 

The Covered Market, Oxford