Click for fun fabrics and trimmings.........

Sunday, 31 January 2010

a helping hand

As well as the fabulous fabric squares I received from Mary, I have been very lucky this week to have 2 more parcels in the post with a helping hand for my hexy quilt.
2 more fabric stashes for me to be envious of!!

Thank You Beki xxxxx the squares are ready to be turned into a hex and some of yours can also be seen in the string patches I blogged about yesterday!!

Thank You Mary P xxxxx I will be chopping squares later and also some string strips too.

So with the help from my very lovely bloggy friends, I shall be able to make a quilt big enough for a double or king sized bed rather than a cot!!!

I am having a wobble about the hexes stitched together so far. They are not random enough.

I should have pieced all my hexes, then laid them out, but I wanted to start sewing them together and then I made a mistake when I first started stitching and instead of unpicking I changed plans and went for a block of one colour. However I've started thinking that when the quilt is big it will be just that little bit too random and not what I wanted ...after discussion with mum (who was hexing before I was even born!!) she suggested that I add a few more onto the one's I have done and make a cushion and start again with the quilt (*sigh* had I mentioned how slow it is?!?!).

I think she is very probably right..I don't want to put all this effort in and then it bug me as its the wrong sort of random!!!

Does anyone else struggle with 'random' like I do??? Is random really a very calculated well planned thing??

(also did anyone else have to REALLY force themselves to chuck the offcuts from the string patches??? I did stare at them thinking I could reuse, but resisted and got rid!!!)

Saturday, 30 January 2010

string patches

Friday found me with 2 and a half child free hours. I had prepared for them all week. I made sure I had strips of fabric and I cut squares out of lining fabric.
The sewing machine was dusted off after more than a months rest and brought downstairs.
I set myself up a little ironing station on the dining table next to my machine (saves moving you see!!), remembering why I ended up with new oilcloth in the first place I made sure it was well padded.
I'm not a tidy worker...
And I found them surprisingly easy. You see I am very untrusting! When somebody tells me something is very easy I tend to think - for you maybe!!! But it really was simple.
(thats not to say that a few weren't messed up......)
Once all the strips are sewn on - pre trimming - I have to say I wasn't overly impressed, as I don't have great vision! But once trimmed...

I began to be impressed!
I made extra work for myself by roughly trimming down with scissors first, Then using the cutting mat and rotary..and a new to me metal ruler....I made them all the same size - 6 inch squares .....

Like I said I know I didn't need to trim with scissors first but as I don't have a square template and I needed to see the grid on my cutting board, I found this an easier way of doing it. I'm not very confident with my rotary cutter and mat!!!
It was at this stage that I found a few that hadn't made the grade, I had not used long enough strips in a couple of places and there were gaps and joins......not the end of the the 5 1/2 inch squares :D
I am very pleased with how they have turned out. Even with the wonkyness of the strips in places (bottom right green paisley for starters!!!). Such a simple process, yet very very effective. Some of my favourites.....

Obviously now I have 2 different sized squares then I will need to find 2 different projects, and as I'm hoping that in round 2 I won't make mistakes, then hopefully all future squares will be 6 inches. The smaller squares I may turn into a bag front or something.....

Monday, 25 January 2010


My latest ongoing hexy patchwork...taking shape...v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y!!! I love doing it but it does take a while to look like its going anywhere when you are time limited like me.

I have lots of patches made up...I made a decision that no 2 patches on my quilt (yes quilt..I aim high!!) will be the same so I have made a good start cutting squares from my stash....
Some more squares ready to go....I still have a shelf left to snip from....but I have been greatly helped along on the no two patches the same thing by a lovely blogging lady who wanted to do a swap for her string patchwork (you have to scroll past Mary's simply stunning almost finished hexagon quilt to get to the part where you see her simply stunning string patchwork patches!!) I asked Mary if I could swap strips for squares and now I have a pile of fabric squares to play with and deep envy of Mary's fabric stash!!!!!Whilst cutting out strips (even with a rotary...most definately NOT my favourite job, the cutting bit) I decided to cut double and attempt some string patches myself...too late for this challenge...but I plan to make a few!! In the mean time...I found a way to keep a certain someone occupied for a whole half hour. (excuse the yoghurt coated jumper) Laying out the strips of fabric...and I swear I also saw him stroke them as he lined them up!!! I have high hopes for this boy!!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

cut and paste

As I mentioned before, I have been working my way through a pile of mags to make my own inspiration books. I already had a pile of cuttings from when we went to Featherdown Farm in April last year (I went armed with scissors and mags!) and I already had a half started scrap book.
This scrap book was put in my Christmas stocking when I was 20 and just had my first flat with my (now ex) husband. I started it then, and used to add to it on a monthly basis after reading that months House Beautiful - the only house mag I was really aware of 16+ years ago!! It looks a bit battered but it has moved house with me (counts on fingers.....) 6 times, occasionally looked at, but never added to. I really didn't think it would ever get full!! this was my dream sofa back then....I got it...but in Navy- I bottled the cream as I was nearly 9 months pregnant with my first child, probably a wise move, I had it 9 years..don't suppose the cream would have lasted that long!!)

After glue stick action at the weekend and Tuesday night it is now full......and I have a second book about a third full.

My taste hasn't really wouldn't guess that there was a 16 year gap in completing by looking, Also it was funny to look at the pictures from years ago and realise that it is only now that I have the kind of house that lends itself to my ideas and tastes!
roll top baths have always been lusted after..we got one with this house but ever the unsatisfied female - its plastic not cast and its not painted on the outside and plastic so don't think I can!!
There aren't enough hours in the day to take and upload photo's of all my favourite pictures...but some of my fave's are in this post.......
*edited to say I managed to upload rather more than I anticipated*

This is what my hallway looks like, except we took our carpet up and some numpty had stripped the tiles and put a chipboard floor down.........our radiator is in exactly the same position..I have Cath wallpaper on the side you can't see but I have asked for a shelf to be fitted just like this one (and now I've got this pic in mind I don't like my mirror so I'm on the look out!!!), my husband and step dad have been informed...
Some outside and flowery images too... and the odd christmassy one..but I have put the Christmas pics in a seperate folder...more on that some other time...... I just love this house..when we win the lottery I will build one just like looks really scandinavian (was in Scotland if I remember correctly??)
I still have a big basket to chop through.....but I have used every last glue stick in this house and I shall have to pop to the shops before the weekend....its a great pastime to do whilst watching telly....its also very relaxing when you get to the sticking part!!
a few bloggy homes star in my books too.......(see above)
(and below)

So thats a start off the list...I don't suppose its going to be done anytime quickly..but I'm on my way...

Monday, 11 January 2010

a plan for twenty ten.

(picture for Sandie xxxx)
Yay! The white stuff melteth!!
Snow is very pretty to look at but its wet and cold and makes roads dangerous, not to mention schools shut so I'm pretty relieved to see the back of it.
It also brought our weekend to a standstill. Lovely husband didn't get home til gone 8pm on Friday because the snow locally was so bad, I didn't want to take the car out on Saturday, the main roads were clear we discovered later, but our road was ridiculously icy...
(One thing in the snow's favour is that it stops you spending money, especially when combined with your new self imposed less time on the laptop regime!!!)
So our weekend involved lounging about in front of the fire, some of us watched tv, some played with lego and racing cars, and some of us played with glue sticks, merrily filling scrap books until the glue sticks ran out!
So once I ran out of glue, snuggling and joining in the tv watching was in order.
Last night was filled with ironing, belatedly sewing on name labels in C's new school stuff (I won't be winning any organised mum prizes...), finishing something on the list from last year (more on that tomorrow) and making this years (pressure free) list.Its not all crafty stuff. Some of it is practical essential housey stuff. Like losing the spare room and putting one of the big boys in there and sorting out the windows at the front of the house for starters. Oh and the little boys room was one of the 1st we did so needs a freshen up, as does the play room.....

But there is a crafty list..some practical, some frivolous....

  • make seat pads for dining chairs
  • make table runner x2 (christmas and all year round)
  • placemats x2 sets (christmas and all year round)
  • make little boys blind
  • make curtains for W's new room
  • make bunting and cover noticeboard for W's room
  • make happy birthday bunting to come out for all 6 birthdays
  • finish inspiration books
  • keep on hexing to get closer to a quilt
  • make new cushion covers for lounge sofa's
  • make arm covers for dining room chair
  • make own christmas cards
  • make applique and embroidered pictures using ideas in head!
  • research candle making kits
  • make patchwork lampshade cover for dining room lamp
  • make hot water bottle covers
  • finish dolls quilt

Well I think that will do for starters! Definately no pressure. No time limits. All this is achievable so hopefully I will have some finished things to post on here this year instead of lots of talk about want to do's!!!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

snow day

Well the white stuff finally landed on the east coast - whilst the rest of the UK have been snowed in we haven't even had a flake. But today we woke up to about an inch and a half!!
School was still open for W, who set off early to cycle there, and for C whose first day was yesterday, so was raring to go...
A's high school had a boiler failure and I was texted just after I had dragged him out of bed and into the shower - mwah ha ha!!
I decided to walk to the supermarket after dropping off C, about a 3 mile round trip, hard work in the snow - very hard work!!!
I felt like I had had a great gym work out and promptly spoiled it by eating 2 massive bits of cake :(
Diet starts next week..................

So I spent the rest of the day cutting out pics from the pile of magazines in the hallway ready to put in scrapbooks.

This is a picture of ordered piles of cuttings..I have a plan!

This year I plan on being a lot thriftier than I was last year. That means not renewing my magazine subscriptions for starters. As a disclaimer I may subscribe to 1 housey mag later in the year but will use my Tesco clubcard vouchers......

To be honest this decision is not driven by thriftiness totally! I am fed up of Country Living, and I only enjoy 1 copy of Country Homes every now and then so the subscriptions aren't that much of a chore to surrender!!I had lots of other magazines last year on cheapy trial subscriptions..3 for £3 for example and I bought magazines that I saw in the newsagent so the pile is rather high to sort through.

(this lot plus the same again need chopping through!!)

The plan?

I shall make my own house porn/inspiration books...I will buy some cheap A4 hardback books, cover them with pretty wallpaper or fabric and get sticking.

I have started a Christmas one...and I plan to have a house 1 (or 2) and one for crafty tutorials and inspiration for new makes. Oh and 1 for recipes that I cut out of magazines too!!

But it won't be a complete magazine drought here.

I got Cosmo on subscription for Christmas from my sis in law (and bro). It was a real blast from the past to read in the bath on Monday frivolous!! I haven't read since I was twenty something!!!

So I'll still get the pleasure of a mag coming through the door.And by signing up for Floss's no frills magazine swap (click on the button on my sidebar if you fancy it...)

As its my New Years resolution to not put pressure on myself with deadlines...I can't say how soon my books will be done!!!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year

Well I have had a lovely Christmas holiday. Perfect.
Or more correctly imperfectly perfect!!!!
(I'll spare you the vomit, snot, nut allergy and christmas pudding no show stories!!)

We have had a fabulous Christmas, spent with family. As my mum is now living locally, my brother stayed with her, so we had no house guests...I think this made ours a stress free Christmas. I love having a house full of guests, but somehow the fact that we said goodnight (late some nights) kept it a pleasure....maybe its the fact we had our own space, who knows?? Christmas 2009 was the best one we have had in our 10 year relationship. We are really fortunate that both sets of parents get along..maybe this is normal in the real world, but my ex's mother wouldn't be in the same room as my family so this time round both mum and I appreciate the relationship between the families a lot.
So we shared meals and card games, competed against each other at the local bowling alley (I was rubbish as per!!), drank too much and ate waaa-yy too much.
The one thing we are all agreed on, well I say all, the inlaws were a bit quiet about it, next year we will not be having a turkey Christmas dinner. It is so time consuming. We can have a roast any day of the year. Mum and I really didn't want to eat much after 2 days preparing 8 billion different veg etc, so Christmas 2010 will be celebrated with a pot luck curry dinner!! And if the boys want pizza - they can have it.
The important part is everyone around the you heard it here first!!
Father Christmas really spoiled us all.
We all got some fabulous gifts...
from my wonderful teenage son who says he enjoyed the Cath shop!!

From my friend - its a jug cover, but I don't have a skinny enough jug at the minute!!
(she got it from I believe)
The tracked down market stall was very well received.
My mum always does me a stocking of 'bits', this year she did me a trug of bits.
I got tons of goodies off my wish list too. I take back all I said to my sis in law about lovely husband being rubbish at gift buying lol!! I got a lovely new watch, perfectly me that he bought with no guidance!!

I didn't intend to stay away from blogland for so long , but I barely switched on the laptop. So all my internet 'committments' have been neglected!! I have to admit I did have to think twice about returning, I have read several books over the holidays, including 2 new books to inspire me for Christmas 2010, sat and leisurely chatted with my husband and boys, started a new sewing project.
I know I haven't been the only one having a virtual crisis...I read in the Daily Mail that Lily Allen has given up Twitter, FB etc (The only thing me and the lovely Lily have in common..although if I was 2 dress sizes smaller and had a flat stomach I would share her love of quirky fashion too!!)
I don't actually agree with the end bit. Surely giving up totally is not the only way to get 'real life' back. And isn't the internet part of real life anyway?? I agree my online life can occasionally get a bit too much, not an addiction per se but definately an annoying regular habit!! (Just one more check on Facebook before I log more look at blogs... I know I'm not alone!!!)

Anyway, as I can't imagine not blogging at all I have decided to make it a New Years Resolution to get the balance less tedious long posts and more quick update type's are planned, less facebook too (it annoys me anyway, but find myself drawn!!!). And a promise to myself - for housework's sake - that I'll have 2 or 3 laptop free days too!!

I also plan to keep my Christmas relaxed attitude about things, if it doesn't get done, it doesn't matter.

I do still plan on making a list of things I want to achieve this year. Crafty things mainly. But a no pressure kind of list. With no time limits. Although it would be nice to get a Christmas table runner completed before December 25th this year!! The list is in progress - getting longer through reading one of my Christmas gifts!!
So New Year, Fresh Start. Today is the last day I will have 2 preschoolers at home. The big boys went back today and C starts fulltime school tomorrow. He is ready but I'm not. And I am not relishing having to be up dressed and out of the house for 8.20 each day. I have had a very relaxed life since W started a new school that he takes himnself to last September!!

The tree is at the recycling centre, very sad about that...the house looks desperate for a good clean, but I have my priorities right and have put up the new bunting that Beki made me lol!!!
Still undecided if it will stay in the bay...I pass a house on the way to my friends, that has bunting up in the bay window and I have gone from, hmm I wouldn't put it there, to, hmm actually I quite like it!!! So naff or not??