Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas !!

For all my friends and readers,

I am sorry I haven't had the time to write to you all personally this year, especially those close friends I have on the net (you know who you are!), but I take comfort in the fact that especially these close friends understand the situation and won't take exception. Which I hope extends to all of you



I am thinking of all of you this Christmas and wishing you the happiest of times. My new year's resolution is to manage and set aside some time to catch up. Looking forward to seeing you all then!

For now, the most wonderful Christmas xxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The tide is turning + Check out Florian!

Hi everyone!

From 2011-11-10

After my valiant attempt to get back in touch, I again disappeared into the fog.. so to speak.

Good news is that I have found a job! Really could use a good wage (and don't we all!) so some money coming in on the positive side.

Unfortunately, that also means that through the week, I have no time for sewing at all (what with travelling to and fro etc..). I am fortunate in that there is always someone home for the dog, only it's not me :-( and so my non-working time left to me is in the weekends. Where sewing is competing with admin, shopping, cleaning, washing, etc etc....

So.... I will be quiet yet again for a while but hopefully, once I get used to the different routine, I will have some more time for sewing and internet. I have had to empty my reader yet again without reading all the posts so please be patient with me and if you don't hear or think I don't love you all anymore, just drop me a line to say "hey, where you been? you ok?" and I will answer!! Just impossible to keep up with all the blogs at the moment.

As I had promised to steward at a concert this weekend, I found myself surrounded by the lovely tones of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Never having heard much about them, I am now a total convert! Just check out their guitarist Florian Opahle... If you had asked me which was the best guitar virtuoso I had ever heard, I would have come with a predictable answer of someone like Paco de Lucia... well........ hold your breath and check this out.....



What's more, joining Ian, Florian and base guitarist David, were Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Justin Hayward - Moody Blues. It was simply incredible! Ian has two more Christmas Charity concerts to come on the 16th in Salisbury Cathedral and the 19th in Manchester, apart from the normal tour.

It was all together a great evening and if there is ever a chance to hear Florian (who is equally amazing in flamenco and classical guitar) I'd certainly do it!!

Here is an encore...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Do you sometimes feel ....

you are swimming against the tide?

From Drop Box

(photo courtesy of pinterest)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Ta Daaaah.....

And here it is, my 'nifty table-top iron as you sew contraption' in situ !!

Sooo handy if you have to iron every seam you sew. No more getting up and walking to the other end of the room!

From 2011-11-06


Once I twigged how to load the staples into the staple gun, it came together fairly quickly;

Start with the cuttingboard. You can see how it is overhanging the table.

From 2011-11-06


Cut the long strip of ironing board cover in two and join

From 2011-11-06


Cover and staple to the back (no, I am not left handed but I didn't have a hand left to press the button on the camera so I am just pretending here so you get the idea..)

From 2011-11-06


Cut off excess and fold over corners

From 2011-11-06


Same with the glittery heat resistant one and then the cuddly flannely one..

From 2011-11-06


and last but not least, reversed 'hospital bed' corners to tuck it all away neatly.

From 2011-11-06


And voila! I chose flannel because I like the feel of it and it will stay lovely to work on. I chose the colour because it is an even colour, warm, but doesn't get boring and won't interfere with whatever you iron on it.

I auditioned quite a few of my favourite prints for this cover, but I found that it was hard to find little bits back amongst the busier of prints and so decided the plainer the better. This is just a little warmer than calico! (and I also had it in my stash.. for one of these days when you just need it... and that day just came!!)

What am I up to?

Rainy, grey afternoon....

I had an idea !

(well, not strictly my idea... I have seen differing version around the net)

From 2011-11-06


I have:

- An IKEA cuttingboard, the one that slightly overhangs the table
- Cushioning felt ironingboard underlay
- Heat resistant wadding (or batting take your pick)
- Some nice flannel in a lovely warm colour

What am I up to?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fresh and Funky Bee - Some Great Girls !

Over a year ago we started the Fresh and Funky Bee. There were around 15 of us to start with (if I remember well...) and it was great to get to know each other and sew together!

This is the last block I have made for the bee and have now completed all the blocks so all my fellow bee members have had their month.



Sometimes in a bee, life takes over and people have to leave. Sad as it is, that is totally understandable and as the average lifetime of a single round is between 12 and 18 months, a lot can change!

This also happened to this bee, but the unusual thing is that quite a few of us experienced life changing events of some type or another during the bee's life. Some dear friends had to leave us. We understand and wish them well. The rest of us, even though it was very hard for quite a few members, continued and made up for those who left with an extra block or so here and there.

I myself tried to do my best and not disappoint but I must say I have been dreadfully late with my blocks!! My apologies to those who have been waiting but I am happy to say that with the above block gone I have fulfilled what I set out to do.

There have been quite a few changes in my life too over the duration of this bee and I am glad I managed to finish it. I have however let the girls know that finding a pattern, fabric, cutting and sending everything out for my own turn, is not possible for me at the moment. There are too many thing demanding my attention so I thought I would have to forfeit my go.

I had not counted on these wonderful ladies in the bee!! Several have offered to send me a block from their own stash if I only would mention a theme. I am very touched by their kindness and generosity and it would be wonderful to end the bee on such a happy note!

I have wished for a multicoloured star quilt (any star at all) on white or cream, any size block. This would leave plenty of scope to ad borders and sashing to make it up in a nice sized quilt! I am really excited about it and would like to say a public THANK YOU !!! to all the ladies in the bee. For thinking of doing this for me but also for being lovely fellow bee members! It has been a great ride and I only wish I had time to continue and do things properly (and on time :-)!!

Thanks everyone, long live the Fresh and Funky Bee because although the bee will be no more (for the time being at least) I know that all of us who have become friends will stay in touch !!

Friday, 28 October 2011

After The Indian Summer

Hi everyone!

BIG Wave !!!

Checking in to the blog which has been terribly terribly neglected!!

Cut a long story short, lots of personal stuff been going on (which is not for the blog as you all want to read about quilting and travelling and really interesting stuff yes ? !!!), and so have not been able to keep up with the net....

I DID miss you all and thought of you a lot and I know a lot of you have done amazing things whilst I was away!! Well done, (bowing in admiration) !!!

To catch up with here.. we had a bit of an Indian Summer over here with about 4 days of top summer weather in October!! Yes, I couldn't believe it either!! But autumn (or fall, if you like) has now set in well and truly.

The picture is of some members of the public lazily enjoying the hazy warm day high on the cliff above Dover Port, before truly going into autumn!




I am hoping to reconnect with you all little by little now I am (sort of...) back, as I still won't have oodles of time. I really did miss you all and the sewing and quilting and everything so rather than do nothing at all (which has been most of this year), I resolved to do a little. A girl has got to have some fun sometimes yes?

I am happy to say I have managed to finish all the blocks for our bee and I managed not to let anyone down by not sending (even though I was late... sorry folks!!!). I am however busily job hunting and won't have time to send out for my own (I'm the last one as I kept postponing..). Some of the girls have said they are going to send me some blocks anyway. Thank you so much girls!!! You are the best!!!! I so appreciate all the quilty love, I hadn't expected it and am really touched. I will blog about it when I have a few of the blocks together to show.

So very nice to see you again and I promise I will try and post more often from now on!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Bees caught up - Tick !!

Yay! Caught up with the Fresh and Funky Bee!

Here's Kerry's block who is making a mosaic like quilt.



And here is Jo and Fran's long strip of triangles. Thank goodness there wasn't a lot of brainpower involved, just sewing! Thanks guys, my brain was giving up by the end of the weekend....



3 down, two to go (if I am correct). I better start pulling fabrics for my own one too... I'm the last one. Hope everyone has a little bit of energy left, lol !

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Done!!

Yay! An entire day of sewing but it is finally done!! I do hope Vicky likes it. In the end I could not fit all the names she wanted in a block, so I am going to send them with the block in case she wants to use them in other blocks.



A lovely idea for a bee, but I mustn't think of making this sort of thing by yourself as a whole quilt! I'd definitely be grandma before it finishing it! :-)

Long time no see.... (again)

Hi you guys,.. I've been taken over by "life" yet again.. It happens but it better not keep happening! I won't fill you in with the why's and wherefores, suffice to say that quilting has not been in the picture!

Still, I have been working on the catch-up with the Fresh and Funky Bee and still doing Vicky's elusive block. She sent me a list with titles, which need to be embroidered, then cut up, and put together with other (lovely!) fabric she sent me to make up the spines of books. Now I am not so good with this creative thing... I am much better with traditional blocks and 'know where you are at' stuff. This is one of the attractions of bee's; you are bound to be dragged out of your comfort zone!

However, just to show you I am indeed working hard at the bee blocks. It's just that this embroidery stuff takes absolutely forever. I thought I was nearly there... missed out one of the titles! (and a long one at that...)




So just to show you I AM really at it and catching up... here is a midflow progress report. Once I have embroidered the missing title, I will cut it all up and stitch it together again with the patterened bits of fabric. Not long now I hope as it has taken me over a month so far..

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

An unexpected present !

One of the blogs I am following (ahum... or... at the moment that should be 'not following' :-)- but I will again when life starts normalizing a little)is the lovely blog of Frauke at "Quilthexle".

Frauke does amazing things with innovative art quilts. Go have a look,(here) I just don't know where she gets the inspiration but the results are great!

Well, Frauke (unbeknown to me) held a giveaway for all her followers and even though I am not reading blogs at this very moment, I have read her blog for quite a while now and participated, and Mr Random number selector choose me!

What a nice surprise to get one of Frauke's mini art quilts sent to me. Look, isn't it lovely?



A beautiful card as well and everything delivered by Luftpost.

Thank you Frauke, a lovely present when I least expected it, it brightened my day!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Do you remember this competition?

Back in January, just before I started my course, I finished a block for a competition. Do you remember it?

This is what I wrote in my post then:

"Last but not least, my 10" block for the competition in Irish Quilting Magazine has been finished and sent off. The brief was to make an unfinished 10 1/2" block with a floral theme. You had to use at least 2 different stitches from your machine.



This is the result. I have been an avid admirer of Susan Brubaker Knapp for a while now and have been wanting to try one of the tutorials on her blog. So I perused the older posts, bought her master stitching DVD and off I went. I am quite pleased with the result, even if it is by no means to the standard Susan reaches, but by having a sort of impressionist style, a lot can be forgiven!"

WELL ...........

You can imagine my sheer delight and surprise when I WON A PRIZE! And what's more, I won the Editor's Choice Award! I am tickled pink and Sherry was so complimentary about my block. Can you imagine.. she was talking about 'tremendous skilled thread play' and wrote on her blog that when she unpacked the block,it whispered to her, 'love me' and she did!




THIS is the link to the Irish Quilting website with all the winners on the front page. The overall winner of the Janome Horizon sewing machine,Cathy Northcutt,also lives in Ramsgate, a talented quilter who has been quilting for many years.

And HERE is the link to the Irish Quilting blog.

None of this would have been possible but for the wonderful example of the master in thread painting Susan Brubaker Knapp ! It is simply amazing the real skill she displays in making her very very lifelike thread paintings. Her blog is HERE at Blue Moon River and her work is just amazing! I am a big fan of hers and have been following her blog and endeavours for a long time now. Do go along and see what she is doing. It's SO worth it! (LOVE the latest Rusty Chevys!) And by the way, can't wait for her book to come out mid July. Not long to wait now... sigh....

This is the dvd I bought and downloaded. The one with the lovely butterfly on the front. Susan explains the whole process really well and it is almost as if you are in the room with her! I wholeheartedly recommend it.

SO... as you do with the Oscars (and it does feel like I have won one!), I will have to thank my manager, my editor and the director (me, me, and me :-) but most of all thanks goes to Susan for inspiring me and to Sherry for loving what I have made! Nothing is so lovely as when you have poured your heart into a piece and it touches someone else.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Bee blocks - start to the big catch up....

February:

Julie (ForestPoppy) asked for something with trees or leaves. I hope you like this one Julie. A tree with leaves (lol!) Thanks for the lovely fabrics, they really inspired me to do this tree (as have the countless examples I found on other blogs.. too many to mention).



Ali's (a2(w)) theme was confetti. I hope this is what you wanted Ali. She asked for the edges to be well sewn down so to make sure of this, I turned under with a 1/4 inch (well fiddly!) and then used a dense zigzag stitch. Whilst I was hoping this would be both secure and look good, I had great trouble with the sewing machine sewing the cloth to itself (in one place). I have no idea why it does this. It's not only at the beginning (or end) where there might be problems with double thickness but also just randomly somewhere in the middle.. Whilst it looks simple to do, I had a lot of trouble with unpicking and redoing before it looked anywhere near I wanted it to! So fingers crossed Ali likes it!



Next up is Vicky who so kindly swapped her month with me when I was bogged down with the learning. (Thanks again Vicky!). So April is next and catching up there at last.

Both Julie and Ali's blocks will hopefully go out this week. Just a question of wrapping, addressing and sending.... (does that happen to anyone else? you sew the block and it is lying there... waiting for envelopes, cards or stamps... and a week later it is still there?....) I will try and do it asap girls! Scouts honour!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ta daaaaah.....



No... I did not mean this beautiful boat against a backdrop of the largest windfarm in the world shimmering in the heat (and that wasn't this week, the heat I mean, that was a couple of weeks back!).

No, I meant the (partial) reappearance of myself on my blog! Hi everyone|! *waves*. I have re - emerged from study land. Finished the course, and am going to be the proud owner of a Certificate stating that I am now officially a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language !

It was an intensive course and I found myself studying all the time and worrying about the next assignment and the next and the next.... However, all done and dusted now and looking for work.

I am not quite back to my own bloggy self yet.. It needs a bit of acclimatizing jumping out of the study bubble into real life. I thought that on finishing the course I would be full of energy, doing all the things I could not do for a while... like catching up with friends, (as well as housework and admin etc.. yuk...) and sewing (yay!) but I find that funnily enough the energy has left me completely.. A sort of backlash if you like.

Oh well.. I am sure I will get there eventually and I will endeavour to catch up with things on the blog slowly but securely!

Thank you SO MUCH to all those kind friends who sent me words of encouragement. I so very much appreciate your kind thoughts and good wishes. Thanks also for all who have understood I had to disappear for a while.. it was tough, but I did it!

I am still not reading blogs so no idea what you are all up to yet. I am starting slowly and catching up with one thing at a time. I am going to prioritize my bee blocks first. The February block is in the making! Thank you Julie (Forest poppy) for all your patience! The March and April ones are not far behind now.

Hope you have all been doing lovely and wonderful things whilst I was 'away' and are happy and healthy! See you all soon !

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Can you feel the love tonight?

I certainly can!

Whilst I am being absent doing some hard learning (man, is this stuff harder than when you are in your teens! you wouldn't believe it!!), I am definitely feeling the 'lurve' !!!

First I received a stylish blogger award from Hadley who blogs at Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle.




She has a lovely blog so if you are not here on a link from Hadley, go have a look! Thank you Hadley, sorry I am a bit late blogging about it (and not so many facts about me either... I will put my thinking cap on and do some in a later post).

Then I discovered I have been given a 'Bloggy Lurve' award by Leila of 'Where the Orchids Grow' fame ! Aaaaw... Leila.... thank you girl!! That is sooo sweet of you. I am blushing now being nominated twice in one week. You sent a new follower over too you know (welcome Marianne, I saw you joined, love your blog too!!), all exciting stuff!




If you haven't visited Leila before... you know what I am going to say... HERE is the link!! Leila has not been blogging long but she is very talented (and sweet) and is rapidly on the way to becoming one of our bloggy celebs. Stay tuned there !! (you heard it here first!)


And.......



Tadaaaaah..... DQS10 basic windows (still closed) have been steadily multiplying. Nearly there with the base and ready to start thinking which colours to put in the windows. That is going to be a lot of fun after doing all the (read... a LOT of the..) groundwork. Can't wait.. Hold on in there partner... it's getting there!

Back to the grind. Assignment due coming Tuesday... aaaaagh....

Going... going..... ok, ok, I'm gone...

(see you all soon) xoxoxo

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lily's is baking !!

Look at this guys! Our own Lynne of Lily's Quilt has made her debut as a Moda Bakeshop Baker!!



Isn't it a smashing quilt? The fabric is Sherbet Pipps by Aneela Hoey, another talented blog pal turned designer.

I love the way the pattern showcases the fabric. A lovely quilt!!

Hop over to the Moda Bakeshop and leave Lynne some love in the form of a comment. If you click "HERE" you are going straight there.

And when you come back, why not hop over to her blog "HERE" and take your chance at winning some of the sweet fabric she used, and look at her lovely blog of course.

Go on,.... you won't regret it!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

ORBC - Ticker Tape - Round 9

You have heard me talking before about the marvellous Flickr Group called "the Old Red Barn Company". It all started in 2009 when Dana hosted a sew along on her blog.(btw, she also sells marvellous soaps and things!) We all had such fun and we got such a lovely group of participants together, that we did not want to stop! So we all went on!

Sewalong after sewalong appeared and would you believe it, we are at round 9!!



Round 9 is ably headed by Dolores of DeeRoo Designs. She is doing a marvellous job making a lot of examples and tutorials, so everything you ever wanted to know about ticker taping is there! Go and check it out HERE. All the info in one yummy post.

I have been excited about doing this since months before it all actually started and been keen to join. However... yep... you guessed it... The Course happened and it is all so much more work than I anticipated.... So my intended quilt has shrunk from a quilt to a mini quilt... to maybe a mugrug??? Lol.... I WILL get it done and the beauty is that this will stay on Dee's blog so everyone can look back at it at any time.

In fact we still have regularly photos appearing of quilts made in round one and later rounds. There is no time limit!! So even though a fair few quilts have been made and the instructions are complete, do come and join us on the Old Red Barn. This ticker taping is such a fun technique with infinite possibilities (as Dee and the girls have shown!).

It'd be great if you could join us. It's a great group and round 9 a great round to join. See you THERE !!!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Coming up for breath...

Hi guys! I have been (and will do) a lot of studying but coming up for breath briefly for some enjoyable interludes.

Firstly, it was my birthday last week (how time flies, nearly a week ago now!) and both my boys got me such lovely presents. My elder got me a xbox kinect exercise tape/game/whatever... (I keep calling it video but have been told that is showing my age, lol!) This was not a hint, I actually wanted that one. It scans your body and you can see yourself working hard on the screen when following the (virtual) instructor. Good fun!

The younger one was very lovely and got me an incredibly sweet pincushion in the form of a reel of thread and selected a great book on mandala quilts I had not even seen before. What do you think? I really like it!



My mum, being elderly and having to post, asked me to buy myself my current favourite thing... No brainer!



Recognise it? Of course you do... Amy Butler Soul Blossoms! It will have to stay in its pretty stack for a while till the DQS10 is done and the course lets me sew something else.

Last but not least, my 10" block for the competition in Irish Quilting Magazine has been finished and sent off. The brief was to make an unfinished 10 1/2" block with a floral theme. You had to use at least 2 different stitches from your machine.

This is the result. I have been an avid admirer of Susan Brubaker Knapp for a while now and have been wanting to try one of the tutorials on her blog. So I perused the older posts, bought her master stitching DVD and off I went. I am quite pleased with the result, even if it by no means to the standard Susan reaches, but by having a sort of impressionist style, a lot can be forgiven!



So next (apart from studying of course, but a girl has to have SOME time to herself..) I am going to give the DQS10 my full attention!! Not that I have not thought about you partner! I have been reading your blog and following your flickr and thought of and rejected several ideas.. but I think I have twigged the general idea now. Next is thinking of, and ordering maybe, some fabrics to use.. depending on what I have and what not.. We'll see. But now the flower block is gone, DQS, full steam ahead!!

Monday, 17 January 2011

If I don't get back to you....

You know how life can take over? How suddenly you have committed yourself to do this that and the other (sewing or otherwise..) and run out of time?

Well... I have realized that I need a 48 hr day at least to keep up with everything I am supposed to be doing. Main reason is that I have just started a daytime course, with lots and lots of reading, researching and assignments to be done and given in. This by itself would mean that I have no time for anything else.

Then there is the sewing of course, lots of commitments there and I do not want to disappoint my fellow bee members or my PIF followers who are still waiting for their surprise (hold on guys... it IS coming but I have to apply for an extension there, just hold on a bit till summer when the course is over...). I DID apply for DQS10 and got, but I reckoned I would need a little relaxation inbetween all the studying and that would be just the ticket.

I have won and been given lovely prizes and gifts. Patterns I want to make, kits I would like to make up and show the generous giver what I have done with it, programs to learn..

I would like to answer at length everyone who sends me a comment or email, I would like to comment on each and every blog I am following and where I see something that interests me and want to say.. 'hey, this is great!'. To try and keep up with this, I have (sort of)kept up with the posts in my reader... scrolling through most, clicking on those of special interest where I want to answer, comment or simply print out some inspirational photos. These then open in a new tab.. I have left all the tabs open.. "for when I get time..." and the amount of tabs grew and grew... Every time the computer is switched off, there is an option to 'restore' and get all my open tabs back.

However... this morning.... nothing!! no tabs... no restore... All my tabs gone... It's as if you have a whole pile of important papers on your desk and someone threw them out of the window in a raging storm. Nothing left, nope, nada.. It is an enforced (ruthless..) clear out and I am already starting to fill up a new line of tabs..

So if you know I read your blog, and I suddenly stop commenting... or I do not answer you... please let me know. It is not personal, I am not snubbing you, I simply cannot keep up..

I have had to prioritize, and radically. The most important time consuming task at the moment is my course. I hope to have completed this by summer when my time is going to be more my own again. As it is, it's nose in the books, and a little sewing on the side. Internet will have to take second seat for a bit.

I am therefore not going to keep up with all your lovely blogs till summer... I will only see all these lovely things and get wonderful ideas I don't have time for!! I will comment here and there, and try to answer mails, but again... If you don't hear, it's me disecting some grammar, not you!

I hope you'll all bear with me. I won't be absent, but semi absent, and try to curb my natural desire to connect with you all.

So if I don't get back to you.... don't fret and please remind me!

Thanks friends, wish me luck !

Sunday, 16 January 2011

We have our partners !

Ooooh so exciting! Partner details are being sent out as we speak! Some of us have the mail, others not yet!

I have my partner and thank you mama !! (you know who you are, lol) that was a wonderful match! My partner and I share our taste in fabrics and some other things besides (not going to say what so as not to give away too much..) so I am very happy. I will be stalking you for a bit and form an idea of who you are and what would make you happy before I start to make your quilt.

Here is a lovely photo of Scotland taken on the Isle of Raasay. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the DQS but I like it and I don't like posts without photos..



So, having got that out of the way, you, my partner who is making my quiltie for me, will log onto my blog either today or in the coming week. And you will read this. So..

Dear Partner,

I have given you a little bit of an idea of my likes and dislikes on the form that has been sent onto you. That does give you an idea. Feel free to read my blog, and look at my flickr photos, that should help to tell you what sort of person I am.

When it comes to making my quilt, I would like you to have great fun in making it. This is my first and foremost requirement. I don't know whether you have done this before, but when I started, I really worried myself sick throughout most of the first time and was mainly worried about getting it 'right' and whether my partner would like it...

DON'T do that !! Have fun and don't worry about getting it 'right'. If you put love and care in what you make, I will like what you make for me, because I know the effort and time you have put into it. When I look at it on my sewing room wall (where it will go), I would like to think that when you look at the quilt in photos a year from now, you will remember the fun you had in the forums and the fun you had selection fabric/pattern and making it. That is my main wish.

So don't worry too much about which colours or designers I like. You will get enough of a general idea from my blog mainly. It takes a lot more time to upload photos to flickr than to the blog, so consequently there is less on flickr although enough there too.

I have increased my favourites to contain more of the quilts from the last round. The favourites have specifically been chosen from former DQS rounds to give my DQS partners an idea of which ones I liked in the various round. Just to give you an overall idea. You do what you like. OK ?? great !

Now lots of luck and fun for everyone. I know I am going to have!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

It's Doll Quilt Swap Time !!

It's that time again when we are all waiting with baited breath for our doll quilt swap partners! For my readers who don't know what it is all about a quick recap;

The doll quilt swap started small, with a few people being organised in pairs to swap doll quilts they are making especially for their partner. It is a blind swap, which means that you know who you are making the quilt for (obviously, as you are having to 'stalk' them and find out their likes and dislikes to make the best quilt possible for them) but you don't know who is making the quilt for you, that will be a surprise!

To give your partner information on your likes and dislikes, you can write a letter to them on your blog, make a mosaic, update your favourite photos in Flickr and make lots of comments in the threads. Likewise, when you have been emailed with the name of the one you are making for, you stalk them in turn to find out their favourites.

The group itself is very jolly and has lots of amusing characters who entertain us all in the threads. I am not that funny myself but I enjoy reading some of the banter going on. Some threads get quite raunchy, lol...

You can imagine, as this swap has now grown to 200 participants per round, we have a lot of fun! It is organised by swap mama's, ten of them this round (and an angel mama, who makes a quilt for those who get lost in the post or not arrive for some other reason, Hi Carol!!), who each look after a batch of 20. The mama's collectively read all the blogs and look at each flickr page to match participants as best as they can. It's a lot of work and we are so thankful to all the mama's who make it possible for us to participate in one of the best swaps on the net!

I have been lucky enough to participate in DQS8 and 9 and here are the quilts I made and received;

This is the first doll quilt I ever made. I was sooooo worried my partner would not like it, as I did not have much information at all that time because she was taken ill and had to drop out of the swap. My swap mama and I decided to still continue as planned and I made a quilt and sent it to her as a surprise.





As Laura my swap mama made the angel quilt to send to the one who was my partners partner (if you get what I mean), I made a surprise quilt for Laura. She just loves Hello Kitty, so made her one of those. I don't seem to have a photo of the finished quilt.. and Laura hasn't published any of it either so I can't scoop those. I remember taking some.. wonder where they went.. Anyhow, this is the piece before quilting;



The quilt I received was made by Marianne Penner (maripenquiltmum). She made this lovely bird, which I coveted seeing it grow on her blog and in Flickr. I just loved it but thought that nobody got just those quilts they particularly like... So what a surprise when I got a parcel from her and this beautiful quilt came out!! It has pride of place in my sewing room now and I admire it every day.



DQS9 arrived and I took part again. This time I was making a quilt for Mari who wanted a square quilt for her kitchen table. This one took me a long time to make, not in the least because it was a new technique I was trying and, now I had more information, I wanted to make it perfect for her! I think she liked it and she has a beautiful picture of it on her Flickr with a candle in the middle.



The quilt I received reduced me to tears. Teresa the Lochside Quilter in Scotland made it and she just hit the nail on the head and made it perfect!! I had just returned from a journey to Scotland which did not go entirely to plan, so I arrived home very tired and a bit sad from a long long journey in the car, having to shop and breathe life back into the house before going to sleep and recharge. I came through the door, and... surprise!!! My doll quilt!! And what a lovely parcel with thoughtful extras and a fantastic dolphin quilt. Teresa had 'read' me perfectly. Love water and dolphins, love Scotland too and amazingly had passed the day before almost by Teresa's house. It was so nice to know that someone who I did not even know had taken such care in putting such a lovely parcel together! It was a warm welcome home I had not counted on! It now also lives in my sewing room. It's getting a really nice place to sew with all those beautiful quilts on the wall, as almost every I sew is given away, so it's nice to have these lovely memories of both swaps on the wall!





We are on the evening of DQS10. We will be getting our partners in about a week or so (or two...) I think... Who will it be?? Excitement is growing!

Go check out the Flickr Group.. You will enjoy it !!! (click here)

Mystery.... anybody know the solution??

Hi everyone, I was just trying to export some photos from Picasa (where all my photos are) and an odd thing happened... Whenever I select a photo, then click an icon (like.. email, save to web, export to somewhere else on the computer), the answer is not to do something with the selected photo, but jump to a random other selection... either single or whole sets.

This means I cannot post photos anywhere.. neither on the blog OR on Flickr.. Now with the DQS10 starting, that is not a good situation to be in. I have no idea what causes this or how to solve it but will do my best to try and figure it out.

In the meantime if anyone has had this happen and knows the fix.. please let me know! I'd be ever so grateful..

Me and technology.. not a match made in heaven.. sigh..

I am going on a journey of discovery and will do my best..

Update: I suddenly thought of that TV programme "The IT crowd" I think it was... whenever someone comes to them for help, the standard answer is 'have you tried turning it off, then on again?'. They say that without even listening to the problem, it is the standard joke..

So... I turned the whole computer off and killed the electricity at the socket for a while, turned it all on again and..... Hey presto... IT WORKED !

I am obviously an IT expert now... Thanks IT crowd! *big grin*

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Ferret fixed it for me !!

You know how there was this tv programme where one of your dreams could come true? Now, there are several (quilt related we're talking about here) dreams I have... some of them impossible (?) to achieve (probably, lol) but others more within reach, yet too expensive to do them all...

One of mine was to listen to all of the wonderful shows on The Quilt Show. The Quilt Show has lots of interesting things for all us quilter to hear and see, they have forums, quiltalongs, a blog and wonderful shows for us to watch. You can access much of this if you are a (free) basic member, but all the exciting new shows are reserved for star (paid) members only.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out that Ferret (Ferret Fabricates Blog), had selected me to have one of the few star memberships she was giving away!!

Thank you SO much Ferret! I am a bit late in thanking her in this post as I have just had a massive 3 day migraine,... so am behind again in more than one way (posting, email, sewing, housework...)but wanted one of the first things to be this post! I am really delighted with this and am really looking forward to watching lots of shows and learn lots of new techniques!! I will be making good use of my 6 months membership !!

Ferret came to see us in our local Quilt Guild back in June 2010. I posted about it HERE, so if you want to see part of the most fantastic work she does, please click through.

To have a look at all the Quilt Show has to offer, click HERE ! The Quilt Show is hosted by Ricky Timms and Alex Anderson and there is much to see for non star members too! (if not the lovely show that is on now!) I am particularly pleased, as I had seen the shows that have been planned for 2011 and quite a few of them are just a must see!!

So thank you again Ferret! I am really looking forward to this! A wonderful present!!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Bearpaw is 100 !!!

Well... amend that to... Bearpaw is at her 100th post!!

Jo, who is blogging at Bearpaw blog has reached this milestone. You ought to go and have a look anyway, as Jo is super talented and has made lots and lots of wonderful crafty items. Every single one is lovely and most even nicer than the previous ones. Some are for friends and family, but if you are lucky enough, they might appear in her shop and you can buy them!

Now to celebrate, and when you finished reading her blog, Jo is having a giveaway..

Just look at all this !!!!



The whole package includes, 10 lovely Fat Quarters, among which Tanya Whelan and Amy Butler, a lovely ball of Rico wool and last but not least, one of Jo's miniatures she sells in the shop all framed and ready to be hung, not only suitable for the craftroom but not out of place in any style home, so versatile!

So.. if you would like to read a super blog.... or if you would like to have a go at trying to win the giveaway ... ( or both !!) Go along to Bearpaw's NOW!!!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Monday, 3 January 2011

January 3rd.. the going is still good...

The New Year is still living up to its promise and nothing major untoward has happened yet. Some lovely walks and relaxation before going back into the fray tomorrow when the holiday season officially ends and all go back to work.

Yesterday the morning sun had a special surprise for us.. The rays peeking from behind dark clouds made the water seem like silver and the light bouncing off the wet stones was pretty special;



Today all was much quieter and the tide only just coming into shore,



We saw some oystercatchers again, this time not in the nature reserve but along the shoreline where we usually walk, 'just' an ordinary beach (but quite special to us)..



A little bit further on I discovered a curlew on the waterline. I managed to distract Rafael's attention as I did not want him to scare it away and we managed to pass close by and leave it in peace on its rocky perch.



Tried some more paints out on calico. Of my previous attempt, only the fabric paints were performing really well (that figures doesn't it!) so I have now done some diluting and mixing and layering and see how that comes out in the wash! (do not look at the quality of the image... it's not very artistic.. it's just a test!)



On the back you can see how the paints I have diluted are bleeding through more.



I am hoping the images stay the same after washing. It will be a good start!