Thursday, 28 March 2013

Making Me Smile - 13/52

This is my desk all closed down for the Easter hols.  No more workin' for a week or so.  BIG SMILE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

PS - As these Making Me Smile posts are random and not exactly earth shattering in their originality or content, please don't feel obliged to comment.  I love to read your witty remarks and generous encouragement if you want to, but if you're thinking "what on earth...?" then you can leave me to my own wee world where smiles are generated by small stuff these days!  I started this project in the New Year just to see if I could pick up on the little things this year but I didn't realise how hard it would be to get variety in the pics of stuff making me smile.  I highly suspect that when I look back at the end of the year these pics will prove my smiles have been generated mostly by family, food and fabric - not such a bad thing, really!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sew Many Plans - April 2013

This March is not going out like a lamb that's for sure.  Snow is still lingering in our labyrinthine streets out here in the sticks of NI, and I want to see some spring, pleeeeeeaaase ...

It doesn't feel like I got to the sewing room nearly as often as I'd have liked this month, but there were a few blasts of activity which achieved this little lot:

So what about April?

Hmmm, I am really torn this month by wanting desperately to do some new things and knowing that I really need to get some of my "already starteds" across the finish line.  Getting the balance right is difficult sometimes...

So here goes,

Bee Blessed - there will be new blocks to be made

hipBees - Karen is our Queen Bee for April - wonder what block she'll ask us to make for her?  Also, it's my turn to be QB in May, so I need to get organised to send out those little packages at the end of the month!

Mystery EPP - there's my new EPP project of course!!

Special Birthday Sampler Quilt - I'd love to get blocks 9 & 10 ticked off, though I haven't decided which blocks they should be yet.

Hexagon Quilt - keep at least a little momentum going on the handquilting front.

An Infinity Scarf - it WILL be spring soon and I WILL be able to retire the snood until the autumn so, living in hope, and believing the folks who say these take no time at all to make, I'd like to sneak one of these into my list for April.

I would really love to add some more new projects to the list, but this seems like more than enough to be getting on with and much as I want to start new things, I don't want to increase that UFO list over there on the right! (Placing sensible head on.)

Hope you all have a fabulous Easter break and lots of time to indulge your stitchy passions.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Snowed In!

Yesterday's deluge of snow left us with a legacy of a 17hr power cut and rather a lot of effort required to dig all of the cars out of driveways or out of their abandoned positions in the street (some of my neighbours had come home late last night and couldn't get their cars all the way home).

In the last three years we have had some very heavy snowfalls, but this one was the most snow I have seen since we lived here.  This morning we cleared our back steps, but instead of stepping down off the bottom step on to the driveway, you now have to step back UP off the bottom step onto the snow level!!!  Crazy.

Early Saturday morning brought a flurry of more snow and of neighbours with shovels clearing a way out of our development and out of individual driveways - just the kind of hard work that leaves you gasping for a great cup of tea - if there was electricity!!  Or, if your hubby is an outdoor fanatic and has a handy dandy gas stove!

 Job done.  Now we're all just hoping for no more snow!!

And, since there was no electricity to set my sewing machine a-whirring, I positioned myself in front of the fire with all those paper pieces I showed you yesterday and got basting!  Electricity came back on just in time for me to have to make dinner instead of sending hubby out for a takeaway - typical!!

If you've had snow, I hope you are safe and warm or enjoying the snowmen and snowballs!!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Snow plans

My car is under there somewhere!  The white stuff is falling fast and looks like it has no plans to let up tomorrow.  Could be a day or two before we can venture forth. Good job I have plenty of fabric to play with!

A snowy afternoon made me face my fears and finish off those long neglected baby taggy feelies for the craft sale (deferred for a while anyway).  

With those out of the way, I felt that maybe I could justifiably consider a wee new fun project ....

Lots of paper pieces in a whole range of sizes from that irregular hexagon to the teeny sliver beside it and everything in between.   We are not going to talk about how it might be possible to baste a sliver of paper - I didn't think it through, but I'm going to blunder on regardless.

I've been saving my precious remaining Ruby scraps for this wee project - happy dance!! I can't wait to get some of this stitched up so I can show you!

Hope you all have great plans for the weekend!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Monday, 18 March 2013

Weekend Tidbits

Firstly, let me say a massive thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts on the questions about alternatives to Google Reader and on tablets.  I really appreciate that you took time to let me know what you know and I will certainly be looking into them in due course.  There's no way I want to lose touch with all the blogs I follow regularly and I know that just having some of you listed in my sidebar will not mean I see everything you're up to, so this definitely something I want to sort out sooner rather than later.  If anyone else is interested in what people have had to suggest as alternatives to the loss of Google reader or their experiences on blogging from a tablet take a look at the comments on the last post.

In stitchy news, I have been finishing off the quilting and binding on this cute little panel that was donated to Bee Blessed.

I quilted it in a diagonal grid reminiscent of garden trellis and added red polka dot binding.  I still absolutely love the butterflies on the backing and hope they will make some little girl very happy!

I also stitched up a wee going away pressie for my lovely young colleague at work who has decided to take herself on an Australian adventure for a year.  With packing being kept to an absolute minimum, I didn't want to encumber her with something she won't have space for and just opted to make her a wee flex frame pouch for her sunnies.  I hope she will like it and be able to fling it in her bag when she's off to the beach in the glorious sunshine! Not that I'm jealous, much...

Just so you can see that with a 3.5" flex frame this pouch is nice and roomy even for sunglasses deeper than mine.

I did have plans to sketch the words "sunnies" on it, but let's just say my efforts were less than acceptable and I reverted back to just the applique of the sunglasses.  I love this so much that I now have a list of another 7 that will be made as gifts over the course of the next few months, including end of term teacher pressies for June.  Yay for having a plan!

Moving on from the pretty to the practical, I thought I'd share a stitchy housekeeping tip with you for defluffing your cutting mat.  When my mat starts to look like this -

I reach for my handy dandy lint roller (less than £2 from IKEA with great value refills too).   Don't just swipe the roller from left to right to defluff it.  That action is great for picking up rogue threads and trimmings, but for really shifting the wadding and fabric fluff that's gripping in there, you need to position your roller at the bottom of the fluff line (just like in the pic above) and push it up the line to the top of the mat.  Does that make sense?  No rolling involved, just a good old push and friction.

Your roller strip will look grungy after that but, hey presto, one defluffed mat in a matter of seconds.

See?  No fluff.

Give it a go, I promise it's worth a try!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Making Me Smile - 11/52

Shoes for a mum, shoes for a boy AND change from £20!!  (Yep, for BOTH pairs.)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Calling all the heroes ..

.. of the techy variety, that is.  I am in need of your wisdom on two fronts - pretty please?

Number one - Google are ditching Google Reader on 1 July and if I don't have another means of following all my favourite blogs by then I will feel like my right arm has been lopped off!  I just noticed this post on the Quilting Gallery with some alternative suggestions, but if you know of any others, please would you be kind enough to share?  I cannot imagine not having my fave blogs updating in one place - for me it's like having the most ridiculously brilliant magazine at my fingertips and I sure will miss it.  Hope Google aren't planning to retire anything else!

And number two - I am looking for some advice/tips/wisdom on blogging from a tablet (ipad, kindle fire, nexus or any other).  Not sure if I can stretch the budget but I have been curious for some time about blogging from a tablet - how easy is it to blog with blogger on a tablet? Which tablet do you use? What has been your experience?  Any pitfalls you can help me avoid?  Or suggestions to make life easier?  I would dearly love to be able to pick up emails and catch up on blogs on the hop and know that tablets will do this, but it would be good to also be able to blog if possible.  I'm not really very techy or knowledgeable and have heard some less than encouraging comments, but maybe you folks will know more.

If you are able to help, I'd love to hear your experiences/suggestions.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Second Half

Here is the Bee Blessed quilt top all pieced with the second half added - a whopping 60.5" x 83" (well, whopping to me anyway).  The colours are a bit bleached out in this pic but trust me they are bold and bright and look glorious against that navy background.  Judith and I have worked together piecing the word blocks for the quilt and I have really enjoyed planning and stitching square motifs to "fit" the row widths.  Good workout for the brain!

It might sound funny, but I think I have pieced a little bit of my heart along with my prayers into this quilt for its very special recipient.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Block Play

Ring the bells, I've FINALLY made a granny square block!  Yay!  And, this one is aptly named as it will be going in the sampler quilt for my MIL's birthday.

Granny Square block

I was sorry to have missed the "granny" bandwagon when it hit town and I have been waiting for my opportunity to at least try out one block.  So, it seemed that this Joel Dewberry sampler would be a perfect chance to indulge myself and I'm so glad I did.  I love it, and regret even more now that I missed that bandwagon first time around!

Bow Ties block

I also did some maths and figured out how to make this bow tie block. I thought someone surely would have  a little tutorial available on line with measurements already niftily published for me, but though I could find plenty of pics when I searched, measurements were not very forthcoming. Thankfully, they weren't too difficult and I'm pleased with these little dickie bows - does anybody still call them that?

Double Pinwheel Block

Lastly, I squeezed in this extra block for the sampler.  It's the double pinwheel block from Sew Happy Geek's Sew Happy Quilt A Long.  Last year when we were making sampler blocks for Bee Blessed, I found this great tutorial on Jenna's site.  I enjoyed it so much first time around that I just wanted to have another go.

Three more blocks this month brings me up to 8 so far.  Doing well for just being in March - hopefully not famous last words!

I am enjoying trying out "new" blocks for this sampler.  I haven't decided on my next four blocks for this quilt - if you have any suggestions for great blocks and tutorials, please feel free to share!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Mother's Day Martha May

Judith's fantastic Martha May bag pattern saved me from having to give my mum another M&S gift card or cardy for Mother's Day yesterday.  There was steam coming from the sewing room to get these made when I had a few spare minutes but thankfully, they got sorted on time.

Mum choose the fabrics for her bag herself this time and Martha May has been reduced in height a little at her request, so it does look a little different for my last Martha May bag made to Judith's original pattern.  Actually, my preference would have been to keep the height, but then it's not me who will be using it.

This is a little matching case which I hope will fit mum's new Kindle Fire.  Yet again, one of Judith's patterns to my rescue.

This time I rescaled the pattern to the measurements of the Kindle Fire and only inserted one extra pocket inside instead of the two pockets in the original pattern.  I'll admit I made a wee mistake in my new measurements here and as a result the case is about an inch taller than I had intended it to be, so I hope the Kindle won't slide about too much inside.  (I forgot that I hadn't added the final pocket so the flap would close higher up than in the original  - doh!) Next time I'll know better!

Pressies sorted for another year!

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