Athens time

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Back in the room !

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all your good wishes when I was not online having my migraine. It is really good to see so many friends wishing me better, it did me good!

I am happy this one is over and done with for now. They are terribly debilitating and when you have one, basically everything stops... (even the normal household tasks... kids having take outs to survive! lol!).

Some of you have written and expressed their concern. It is strange with migraines, not a lot can be done about them. Sometimes, when there is a clear physical medical cause, something can be done. Often, as fellow sufferers know, there is nothing but hope they don't come too often and don't last too long!

I personally have tried both traditional and complementary medicine but drawing a blank on all... Somehow it seems stress is involved so I am keeping my fingers crossed in the coming busy months with lots of birthdays, christmas and end of term at school coming up...

Having said that I am taking a deep breath and chill.... (or at least trying to....)... Having trouble with the quilt I am trying to get done for my mum's birthday too... Lynz was very sweet suggesting I share it with you all.. a problem shared is a problem halved (or solved?) after all and after I have done today's shopping I might take her advice and do a post on the latest quilt trials and tribulations ! Thanks Lynz!

Thanks for all your support guys.. I will see you soon for more.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Hey everyone, I am a little behind with everything.... reading blogs, answering mail, making blocks... I am really sorry....

As some of you know, I occasionally suffer from migraines and just coming out of a nasty one!

I'll be back in a couple of days and hopefully back to normal! Please don't mind if I do not write you back straight away....

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Another PIF........

Hey guys, now this is probably a little foolhardy of me... not having had any takers on my previous PIF yet! but the day is young... and I am positive lots of people will come by yet !

Well.... in any case I am positive! Let's be honest. A lot of you will make the equations: giving three away, getting only one back... not so good for me! Thereby totally missing the point which is making other people happy without immediate gain to yourself (in fact... in this case you even DO get something yourself... That is ONE more than nothing!! so in fact a PLUS ONE instead of a minus two....). And I just love it when someone gets something from me in the post and I have managed to guess just what would make them happy... Something you often can gather from their blogs.

I do do this from time to time and seeing people really happy with their stuff is my greatest reward. So.... On this basis I have joined a second PIF. And no worries, even if I do not get any takers, I will send all my handmade goodies out to someone who deserves it. These people can then decide for themselves whether they want to carry on with it themselves or not...

This fabulous PIF is part of the initiative of Allie from Strandz. She is also looking for some more people to join, so go on, join her or me and make a real difference!

The rules here as copied from her blog;

It works like this: the first three people to comment on this post and say they want to play along will get something handmade by me. I then have 365 days to make good. (I promise not to take that long.)

Anyone with a blog can join, it doesn't need to be something quilty, just something handmade for the next person.

To receive something from me, you need to play along too. You will need to post about it with the logo just as I have as soon as you sign up!
Please leave a comment if you would like to receive a little something from me! (Be sure to have an email address for me to contact you.)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Pay it Forward!

This sounds like fun!! I'm playing long with Catherine from the Sewing Attic. Won't you come and pay it forward with me too?

1. I will make a little something for the first three people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and it will arrive on your doorstep when you least expect it!
2. I will have 365 days to do it in.
What's the catch? To get a handmade prezzie from me, you have to play too.
1. You must have a blog.
2. BEFORE you comment here, you must post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going, and display the Pay It Forward button.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Pumpkin Patch Halloween Giveaway.

Hey guys... how would you like to win a bundle of 27 Fat Quarters? That is the above lovely Fat Quarter Bundle of Red Rooster's Pumpkins & Spice Fabrics by Whimsicals. They are earthy, muted and whimsical... Sunflowers, pumpkins, checks, stripes; this collection has it all.

To enter you have to blog about it (like I did) and if you hop over to the Pumpkin Patch Quilt Shoppe, tell them you saw it here and I will get an extra entry for each person I send.

At 250 entries, another bundle gets added to the prizefund. at 350 entries a gift certificate for $100! So come along folks. The more people enter the more prices and the more chance you all have to win!

The best of luck everyone.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Amy Butler "Love"

Mrs Schmenkman Quilts is giving away 8 Fat Quarters of Amy Butler's new line "Love".

It is a fantastic new line so go check it out and enter this generous giveaway now!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Terry's Quilt

Terry and John and their children live in Ohio, USA. They had a perfectly happy life till last week when John had a terrible accident at work.... a bulldozer rolled over him and pinned his right leg.

He has had to endure several operations in the last week and still has to stay in ICU for a while. Thankfully he is making good progress but his leg has had to be amputated.

Terry is keeping the homefront going and in a very brave way, keeping life as normal for their children as possible whilst not only dealing with all this at home but also making daily hospital trips (an hours drive away).

Laurie of a yankee quilter's blog, has started a block appeal to give Terry a quilt of love from us all to support her in this difficult time. If you want to help Laurie to give Terry a quilt hug of support and make a block, please go to her blog.

A giveaway with several goodies to support the effort is also on her blog and you can win these and either keep them yourself or donate your possible win to Terry as many people are doing.

Thank you Laurie for this wonderful initiative. I hope Terry gets a large quilt hug so she may find comfort in the knowledge our online quilting community is thinking of her family.

The deadline for blocks is 25 October.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Showcasing my favourite quilt hmmmm....

Welcome to my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival and thank you Amy (Park City Girl) for organising it!

Now it is not as if I have got so many to choose from.... lol ! As a beginning quilter (although, with growing stash and experience, I may now call myself .... what? intermediate? advancing?), I do have a limited amount of quilts completed and most of them have been been on this blog. Some of them once or twice, others, it seems, forever!

One of my favourites however is the one I made (in collaboration with Tia) for the Australian bushfire appeal. Totally inexperienced, I tried the wonky star and quickly got the hang of it. I made some more and it occurred to me I might manage a whole top. So I set to work.

In my small stash, I had a little pile of fabrics I had kept for a special occassion. I had found, in a vintage dress shop, an oldfashioned Laura Ashley dress. Not being into vintage dressing, I bought it and carefully unpicked the seams to save the fabric (sorry vintage dressers...). The fabric being the softest to the touch and the image a most beautiful delicate flower in a soft reddish/pink with soft green leaves. I found some quilting cotton in exactly the same colours and had kept it to make a quilt one day when I found the right pattern as I loved the colours together. That day had come! The pattern had found its way to me and the quilt had a purpose.

The quilts being made for the people who lost everything in the fires, I wanted to convey the love we all feel for those affected to let them know that they are not alone, that we are all thinking of them and sending positive thoughts across the universe and so included some hearts.

The hearts were a real labour of love.... Not having done applique before, not having the books or the classes I just drew a heart freehand and cut roughly out 1/4" from the line (as I was taught, on the wrong side of the fabric) and then tried to turn under as accurately as I could... gestimating whether I was on the line or not by frequently turning.... No knowledge of templates, old english paperpiecing or indeed freezer paper! (I discovered freezer paper this week!! Boy am I excited!! A whole new world has opened up.. you can be SO much more Accurate!! A-ma-zing stuff!!). The hearts were harder to do therefore than the stars...

The other hard thing was joining up the blocks and have a junction of four seams... Since then I have been extremely lucky to have taken part in the Old Red Barn Quilt along with Dana's excellent tutorial on this and I NOW know about the importance of good ironing and ironing one seam to one side and another to the other to get the top to lie flat... Then however, I did not know how to match up the seams and tried by matching them by eye, pinning the long seam at intervals (not at junctions as I was afraid to break the needle, illogical, I know!) and hoping they would not shift... How I managed I don't know (lots of unpicking) but I was determined to finish the top and send some love to Victoria from the UK.

I then started on the back and made a large wonky star in the centre and strips around it to reach the required size. To my dismay I did not have enough fabric to go around again and I had not reached the required size.... What to do.... That was the moment the whole house got ill as well and I panicked more and more about the quilt and the deadline... How was I going to get the backing finished and the quilting done? (also something I had never done before....).

The deadline for quilt sending approached and as it was a fair way from the UK to Australia (where Tia who organised it all was at the time). I knew I would not manage to learn how to quilt, get the quilting done and have it all sent to Australia in time... I did not even have the backing finished. So I decided to cry a big "HELP" to Tia the Magician and sent the whole lot to Australia... the top, the backing (which was too small so branded a '2nd top'), the allready cut up and joined binding and all the leftover fabric... I was at the end of my abilities and time... and a bit sad I had not managed to do what I set out to do. Mainly, I think, because it all took me so long as I had to learn along the way how to do it. Now I could do a top like that in about a quarter of the time... having learnt so much (it is incredible really what a difference the internet community has made for me in such a relatively short space of time ... I met wonderful people, they have all been so helpful and have learnt so much!)
Tia found the solution in saying... why does the backing star have to be in the centre and all the fabrics matching around it? (my mind trying to be methodical and mirror matching for this quilt.. I wouldn't have even thought about making things uneven!!) and she proceeded to sew on odd bits of fabric to make the backing the right size. There WAS enough fabric... just not enough of one single one to make it all the way round again. This concept was totally alien to me... but doesn't it look fantastic?

Before Tia had the quilt in her possession and fixed the back however, there were a few anxious weeks in which the parcel did not arrive... Tia was looking out for the mail every day... I tried to keep myself from mailling frequently... 'nothing yet?' until the day came Tia thriumphantly told me 'It has arrived!!'. Phew.... The relief was tinged with sadness... After all the hard work and trying to get the parcel to Australia in time, the quiltathon Tia had organised to finish off the quilting was done and dusted, the deadline gone, and Tia wrote in her blog she now had to go and organise her move to Kansas (understandably...). I felt deflated, it had all come to nothing.....and apologised to Tia for sending it to her so late....

Tia immediately wrote back 'Do Not Fret', and this wonderwoman not only finished the backing, she quilted and bound the quilt just ready for transport to Victoria (and mere days before moving from Australia to the USA!!). She told me she used a wonderful wool batting and a loose curl to quilt with so the soft Laura Ashley fabric was complimented by a soft feel of the quilt puckering up lovely between the quilting. Isn't it looking wonderful?

So this quilt is not really totally my quilt at all... The making was a collaboration between me and Tia and hopefully the new owner has received the quilt by now and will not only love and cherish it but also feel the love with which it was made by its two makers, hoping this will be a small pebble on the path to rebuilding their lives.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Studio Tour

It's saturday and Studio Tour time!! Since I ran upstairs to take photos and participate immediately (see three posts back) I have been run of my feet and so did not get a chance to clear up and retake photos which are carefully thought out and modelled (as was my idea... be honest... who wouldn't want to clear up etc if the world is coming to visit?).....

However, since I did not get the time and am still keen to participate, you will have to take me and my sewing corner as they come and like I first photographed it... real life as it was happening!
Firstly I want to say that even though it's messy, this is very cleared up for me... I like to have all the fabrics spread out around me for inspiration and so have so many piles that there is no space to cut and sew... Even now the cutting table (in the foreground, it is the cutting mat on top of a set of drawers) is allready full of stuff and I have only a tiny space to cut in!

The noticeboard standing on the radiator is to stick on samples, printouts, sketches and photos, in short my design inspiration. at the moment my first sample of machine quilting is up there, to remind me what worked and what didn't. It is due to be hung up properly soon.

The desk used to face the wall, but in my reorganisation I put it across the room with two sets of drawers backing the table. This works well as I have now some more drawers to put bits and bobs in like notions, embroidery things etc (as well as some UFO's... or WIP's whatever you liked to call them :-)

The ironingboard is close at hand to either iron as I sew, or act as a little table, my latest project (my mum's quilt) is on there at the moment, just having finished the piecing and ironed it all ready for applique to go on.

In the background my easy chair for handsewing (ah.. do not look at the rice cake packaging at the foot... I think I have been rumbled... that is what you get if you do not clear up first!!), looking out during the day down the street over the sea.

Last shot of the working corner. Machine at the ready, baskets with necessities on the shelf nearby as well as books and magazines. Higher shelves are organised with fabrics and boxes with projects I sorted together.. sometimes you cannot leave everything lying around or you cannot get in!

This space is a corner of our bedroom. When I started sewing I just put the machine on the table facing the wall. Then I slowly expanded taking over more and more space. Now this includes drawers and shelves and is organised (Yay!) (well, up to a point... do not open those drawers:-) and comprises most of the bedroom, it has become my little studio.

I am very happy and proud that I have a space of my own to sew where I can leave things when I get interrupted and get back to them as they were. I know that many of my friends in blogland have small children and sew from the kitchen table, having to clear away every time, time and time again.. I would never get anything done! I am very fortunate to have my little corner and now proudly presenting to you .... MY STUDIO !!

Update; find the other participants HERE !