Athens time

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!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year !!

from Ramsgate to all my friends and readers.

ramsgate harbour in the (not rising from the fog yet) early morning sunrise..

remnants of New Year Celebrations were evident everywhere...

our New Year's walk took us through the village of Pegwell

into the countryside. (I thought of Micki but did not carry a carrot for the horses.. which was just as well as soon I saw a big sign saying 'don't feed the horses'!)

Pegwell Bay nature reserve is lying on the edge of a disused hovercraft site but has a beautiful beach lying at the bottom of the cliffs which are towering over it..

It is good this stretch is a nature reserve and protected, as in the marshy waters of the bay, many migrating birds have a rest before continuing on their journey. Here a few oystercatchers standing inbetween the seagulls.

Whenever a manmade structure gets abandonned, nature takes over again. Through the cracks in the concrete of the abandonned hover port, lilac bushes and grasses grow in abundance, making for a surprising landscape..

Can you imagine cars waiting to board here in the heyday of the hovercraft?

A bird with Very orange legs risked coming quite close.. (I have to look up what it is.. not sure at the moment..)edited: It's a redshank, thanks Julie!

And flocks of smaller birds also flitted about. Settling on the mud en masse...
(a sort of sanderling maybe?)

only to fly off just a second later..

The sun seemed to symbolize the start of this year... It's trying to break through to make it a sunny one... but still a bit of a struggle...

I hope that for those of you who had a brilliant 2010, the coming year will be even better. For those for whom it was a thoroughly terrible year (and sadly, there are quite a few too...) I hope that the sun may shine through the fog and come out bright and strong and make 2011 a year to remember for all the good things that happened!

I will leave you with another beach shot. May 2011 be the best year ever !!