Monday, 18 August 2008

Parcel

Wow, what a wonderful postman came to my door last week. I wondered why he was knocking, as I wasn’t expecting a parcel. I was so wrong, it was a parcel all the way from Australia from Sandy.
I still can’t believe that I can sit here on my computer in my own home and chat to people on the other side of the world. Sandy lives in South Australia and a couple of months ago I was reading her blog, I like to keep an eye on about 100 bloggers that post quite regularly, and I saw that is was her 100th post and she was having a giveaway. That is quite a lot of posts and cannot go by without some sort of celebration or comment. A couple of weeks later Sandy emailed me to let me know that she had picked out my name and I had won a squishy that she would post off to me soon.

I was quite excited and last week the squishy arrived by Airmail. What a super package to greet me in the morning. Opening it didn’t take a lot of time……….(ripping envelopes seems to come easy to me) and reading the card was my first joy. Sandy had written a really nice message to me. Inside was a prettily wrapped gift and as you can see from the photos loads and loads of character fabrics for me to play around with and maybe make another quilt for my grandson.



Among all these wonderful fabrics were some really good funnies as well, thanks so much Sandy, they are wonderful.


Now for the bad news, over the last few weeks blogger has been such a pain and while trying to sort it out I lost most of the blogs I have been keeping in touch with. Amongst these, and there are quite a few, is Sandy’s blog. So, Sandy I do hope you are checking in here now and again and will see my thanks and also get in touch. It is surprisingly hard to get back those blogs that which you have been watching once they are lost and I am now spending more time searching than reading. Very interesting.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Open Studio's and Singing

I spent most of Saturday demonstrating to loads of people passing through the Stockwood Park Discovery Centre, part of Luton Museum. I wasn't on my own, a fellow member of my textile group was with me and we were extremely busy. The Centre was opened on Saturday by Charlie Dimmock who brought in many people that wanted to meet her but stayed for much longer to look around and enjoy the gardens, play area, museum pieces and (of course I have to blow my own trumpet here) an exhibition of works by The New Horizons Textile Group. You may have guessed that I am a member of this group so you won’t be surprised that two of the pieces were made by yours truly. Here's one of my pieces.


The exhibition is open until November so if you are in the area you have plenty of time to pop along. If you do go take someone young or old along with you as it is a brilliant place to spend time - the coffee and cakes are excellent too.


Youngest son is now home from Austria after receiving a silver medal along with all the others in the Cantate Choir in the Mixed Choir Category. They all did superbly well, as they were the youngest choir to reach the finals. Along with the silver medal the girls in the choir had entered the Sacred Music Category and they did even better by getting a gold medal.




All the youngsters were met at the airport on Sunday afternoon by cheering parents and their smiles were the best we have seen for a while. I was there too jumping up and down and cheering but don’t say a word about that because youngest son doesn't like me to do that sort of thing in company! Congratulations and very well done to all the Cantate Choir, the director Michael Kibblewhite and all those valuable helpers.



We had some more good news when he got home as youngest son’s music teacher had rung with his music grade results and he had received a Distinction in his Clarinet Grade 8 and another Distinction in his Singing Grade Six exam.

Just to get away from family into craft for a moment, I slipped away on Sunday morning to Gina’s Open Studio to have a look at some of the work she produces that I haven’t seen before. One of the things I really wanted to see was the Sainsbury’s bag dress. I wasn’t disappointed, it was brilliant and well worth the trip. Of course she had lots more things to see and of course just the chance to peek into someone else’s workroom is a wonderful treat.
Yes Gina, your workroom is much tidier than mine and after coming back and looking at my disgusting mess I spent most of Monday trying to get some semblance of order. On the good side it is now looking much tidier but on the bad side I spent too long this afternoon looking for something that I have tidied away!!!!!!! You just can't win.
I did come home from Gina’s with this treat for myself though so if you are around that way do call in and take a look.


Friday, 11 July 2008

World Choir Games - Gold

We are pretty excited here as youngest son, the one who plays instruments and sings, is in Austria at the moment. He went from Stansted on Wednesday morning with his choir ‘Cantate’ to Gratz to take part in the ‘World Choir Games’.

There are over 440 ensembles of music taking part from 93 countries and amongst them there are twelve choirs from England competing this year. It is a wonderful opportunity for the young to gather from all over the world and sing. The slogan is ‘Singing together brings Nations together’.

Until my son joined ‘Cantate’ I had never heard of these games and I suppose there are many of you out there that have not heard about them either. We hear so much bad in the press about the teenagers of today that it gives an impression that they are all bad. So it is nice when we also talk about the young that spend their time doing other things than annoying the rest of the world. They are not all bored and I am sure that you all know of many teenagers that are happy and contented with their lives and fill their time with constructive activities in their spare time.


Yesterday Cantate competed in the mixed voice choir section and obtained a Gold so will be competing again tomorrow. We are excited and also very proud of our son and of all the young in the choir. The choir rehearse for at least two hours, sometimes more, on a Sunday each week and to get to the rehearsal we drive about an hour there and an hour back. This is a huge commitment for youngsters and is not to be dismissed. They work hard, have fun and sometimes like today reap the rewards.


Here they are relaxing and singing in green with the Cheshire Youth Choir in sunny Gratz yesterday afternoon.



Congratulations Cantate and good luck for tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Lucky, Lucky Me

Yes that is right, I am just so lucky. It was only Thursday I was showing you the mini-quilt I had made for my partner in Kate’s ‘Another Little Quilt Swap’ and telling you how late I was in getting finished. The recipient of my quilt will still be waiting for her parcel.
But I have no need to wait anymore as a knock on the door this morning meant I had a box delivered with foreign senders address. Yes it was my mini-quilt from the person who was partnered to send me a quilt. I must explain here that you don’t necessarily receive a mini-quilt from the same person that you send one to. The wonderful lady that sent this mini-quilt to me was Shelly Barker from Pennsylvania, which is one of the places in the States I would really like to visit.


I will tease you a little with this first photo; a little glimpse of the centre and you will see how clever Shelly has been with the fabric. You will also see that she has used my very favourite colours turquoise and purple and used them very nicely too.


Here is another peek of the corner of the quilt and that delicious binding.


I have had a look at Shelly’s blog and I would certainly advise you to go and have a look too, as it is a very good read, she is also very generous with the photo’s. Oh well, enough chat, I suppose I had better share my new mini-quilt with you all.



Isn’t it brilliant? And that’s not the finish, have a look at the fabric on the back of the quilt, it really rivals the front. Fabric with Quilt Diva all over it, its brilliant and it's fun.



Thanks Shelly.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Deadline

The deadline for sending off the mini quilt for Kate’s ‘Another Little Quilt Swap’ is 1st July and I knew I was sailing close to the wind as I kept finding other things to do. This week was hopefully set aside to finish some of the ‘little’ things that have piled up on my workroom desk. Once I had decided on the design and taken another few hours to choose the fabrics I felt much better and started cutting out. I did not want to hurry this little quilt and I decided to make it fairly small. Mostly because I really like this design produced in a small format. Here is a small corner again.







Here we are on Thursday and I have now finished the quilt, which is measured with the binding on at 15” high and 12” wide. This is quite a small piece and would have been much easier and quicker to make in a larger size but I think this challenge is quite special so I wanted to make a special quilt for my partner. It is also a challenge to ‘go small’ and I really love the finished quilt in fact I am tempted to keep it. So here is all of it.


Don’t worry partner, as this quilt will be on its way to you before the end of the day. I won’t make a guess to how long it will take to get to you as that may give you a clue as to who may receive it. I can only say sorry that as I am one of the last to mail my parcel, you will be one of the last to receive their mini quilt.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Mini's and Weeds

Just a quick post to show a quilt that I forgot to show when I completed it a couple of weeks ago. Bonnie Hunter has wonderful free quilt patterns that anyone can use to make fantastic scrap quilts. As part of my stash busting I decided to cut up lots of scraps and very old fat quarters to make one of Bonnie’s quilts. The one I choose was ‘Weed Wacker’ and it now contains bits of many quilts that I have made in the past.



I free machine quilted it with a variegated thread and really enjoyed doing it.




The quilting came together nicely where the light squares met.



And lastly, just a peek at the mini quilt I have made for my ALQS partner. I really love this one and wish I could keep it. I do hope my partner will like it. Hopefully I will get it finished and in the post in the next couple of days.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

ALERT -ALERT- - - - Bumper Picture Postcard Blog

This is a bumper picture blog as I have been receiving postcards from all over the world for the last couple of months or more and not sharing them with you. The holidays are now with me and I am taking a few hours out to clear the backlog of jobs I have. You really don't want to know how many and how much mess there is here, it is not a pleasant sight. Anyway the reason for this blog is I have found a pile of postcards that I have thanked the senders for but I have not shared them with those of you that read this blog, the few or the many which ever that might be.
The first two are from my postcard exchange group and are the last two postcards of our first swap when we started the group. There are 25 of us in this group but we split into small groups for some swaps as our lives are busy at times so we cannot join in all of them.

Firstly from Monica in Spain

and then from Jennifer in Ohio



The second batch of postcards is from a small swap our group did called 'Simple Pleasures of Nature'

From Michelle in Australia


From Debbie in the United States



from Anna who is posted in Japan with her husband and children


From Suzy, again from the USA
Another from Australia, this time from Monica




and lastly one from Gretchen from across the pond in the States.


Pretty good so far isn't it, and I have not finished yet, the next batch are from another postcard group I belong to where I don't join in with every swap but occasionally there is a swap I have time for and I think I might enjoy. That is the good thing about these groups and the swaps that go on between them, you don't have to join in with every one of them.

This group swap was called 'The Man in Your Life' and as you will see, let you know a little about the man in the swappers life and what he does with his life.

Firstly from Barbara who's man likes computers


and from Kathy whose husband is in the forces

from Lise who live in Norway and her man sometimes dresses up in a tie.



Miriam from the States has a man who likes Jazz


Sharon's and her man come from England and her man enjoys trains as you can see.


Lastly in this group is Lisa and her man from America and as you can see he likes Fishing



No, I still haven't finished, this is where you get some idea how many jobs I have piling up and how much catching up I still have to do.

The next photo's are postcards I have received from my group that are in a 'Colour' swap. Now here I also have to admit that although I have sent all my cards out to everyone of the people I have received a card from, this group has not received a 'Colour' card from me as that is another job that is one my 'catch up list' To reassure them, the postcards to do job is nearly at the top of my list!

Here we go and this is really the last pile.

From Monica in Spain this bright and cheerful card


and loads of colourful threads and fabrics from Diane in America

Suzy in San Diego sent colourful oranges growing fast in sunny California

And lastly but by no means unwanted, the most colourful postcard from Monica in Australia.


I will leave you to enjoy these cards as I have and get back to another pile of jobs that has to be sorted and a list that has to be dealt with.

Enjoy.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Hearts and pins

Another week flashes by with me spending a lot of time being chauffeur to the family. What with shopping, dentist appointments, hospital appointments, doctors appointments, Quilt group meeting and more shopping I have spent most of the time in the driving seat. There were good bits though and the best bits of the week were on Monday when I went with a couple of friends up to Bramble Patch for their Strawberry’s and Cream week and enjoyed the exhibition of work up there. It is about an hours drive for me but well worth the trip. I bought a four fabrics to go towards my Sampler quilt that students will be starting when we get back to classes in September.



We also found another patchwork and quilting shop in the area and I was drawn to buying these for a future project. We had a really delightful time with good company and also had time for a delicious lunch.




No asking me what the project is yet as I don’t know myself yet. I just couldn’t resist them at £5 per metre!!

I have been getting some sewing done, not a lot but I have finished something recently, this disappearing 9 patch quilt ate up the rest of my pink fabrics I bought some time ago and I really enjoyed making it. It is such a quick quilt to make and you can use so many fabric combinations and always get a lovely finished quilt.




The appliqu├ęd hearts were fun to add, not too sure where this one will go to yet.



And a couple of pincushions finished and ready to go for sales at our next exhibition of work.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Where has this week gone?

Where has this week gone to, it seems just a moment ago when I was at the Embroiderers Guild meeting with Gina and our many other friends and fellow members. But now I find that it was a week ago. Last Saturday an extremely clever and talented fellow member demonstrated how to fix shisha mirrors to fabric. I have tried to do this before and didn’t have much success, this time however with the expert tuition my shisha mirrors stayed on the fabric. That is about all the good I can say about it, as my embroidery isn’t shining as well as the mirrors as you can well see.

Gina did push me into showing this dismal excuse for hand stitching by showing hers here. So all is now revealed Gina! In my defence I will say again ‘ I don’t do hand stitching’ ; well apart from quilting, beading and buttons!

One thing I was surprised about is how pleased I can get about a magazine. Treating myself to a Craft Magazine recently (I was at Borders and I couldn’t find the book I wanted and wasn’t going to leave empty handed!) I didn’t think it would really inspire me to bigger and better things.


That was until I turned to this page, Dorset buttons are one of my favourite side lines and although Marie and Jenclair have been busy lately I have not wrapped one in ages. This is the article that has wetted my interest again so I have sorted out some threads and rings for another burst of button making. I think I’ll add a few beads as well.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

One Step Behind

I am one step behind at the moment, with Bonnie’s Mystery Quilt – Orange Crush.

I started this quilt to use up fabric that has been in my scrap bin or cupboard for just too long. How come I can’t just give it away or dump it? Well I daresay there are lots of you out there that can answer that question but I am really pleased that I didn’t rid myself of it in that way and used it. When I look at the blocks that I have already finished I can see pieces of fabric from many finished quilts, reminders of the years that I have been doing patchwork and quilting. The quilt is way off from being finished so I won’t make a decision on whether I like it or not just yet.
But here are the blocks from step 5.



The next stage is to start to put it all together.


Saturday, 31 May 2008

A Star Finish

The ‘Quilt for an Hour’ quilt was finished a couple of days ago but I left it for today’s post to brighten the weekend. Judy Laquidara designed and stitched her own version and then generously offered the instructions as a quilt to be completed in stages of one hour done each day. Anyone could join in so out came my fabrics and choices were made. I decided to go with the colours that Judy showed on her Blog and although I had to change one of my fabrics half way through because I hadn’t got enough I am really pleased with the resulting quilt. I was a little late in joining in with this quilt because I was waiting for some rulers but luckily I caught up over the holiday weekend. I kept up with the remaining stages but for the last two or three days I think for every hour that Judy said she has done – I took three hours.
It is the first time I have done anything like this before, but not the last. I have loads more fabric to stitch and all I need are ideas to get me going.




Don't you just love it? All I need now is time to quilt it.
A big thanks to Judy for all her hard work, a brilliant experience and a brilliant quilt.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Sadly with a smile.

I heard yesterday that Beryl Cook; well-known English painter of humorous situations has died at the age of 81. Her work was admired by many for her humour and she was a well-respected artist.
I belong to the New Horizons Textile Group, all of which respected and enjoyed Beryl’s work. So much so that a couple of years ago we made a mixed technique group wall hanging called ‘Daphne’s Show and Tell’

As you can see it was done in the style of Beryl Cook and like most of Beryl’s paintings this wall hanging was made to make you smile.

Beryl Cook – Remembered with a smile.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

slowing down

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the Quilt For An Hour quilt run by Judy. This quilt is coming along brilliantly, I love it. You will see I have changed colour with my sashing, this is because this quilt is being made with fabric from my stash and I ran out of the first shadow fabrics. But that’s OK as Judy gave various options of arrangement and I really like the change of colour.

Here you will see I have attached the blocks and the 1st border. According to the instructions this is hours 6 and 7, two hours work. It took me at least 4 hours to do these steps. Measuring and pinning the fabrics to make sure that the sashings were correct slowed me down somewhat but even so I don’t think I could do this stitching at the speed that Judy does.