Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hello Stranger

No, I'm not dead.  I work in in a school and since we went back at the start of September I have been working full time -a bit of a shock after 6 weeks holiday.  I have made a couple of things, but not much as we are having an extension to our home and my craft room has disappeared as a result.
This is a picture of my craft room today.  Please note the lack of a ceiling, or window or ANY craft materials.


This is a similar angle a few months ago.  Now all that stuff is distributed around the rest of the house and a storage unit a couple of miles away  - not conducive to sewing.

The good news is that it should be done by Christmas and I am having a bigger sewing room!  No pain, no gain.

If I can find a dust free spot I will take some pictures of the couple of things I have made, but until then I shall just sew vicariously through the rest of you.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Paper Pieced Pillow

Well technically it is a cushion since I'm British, but that doesn't alliterate so well.

A little while ago (months ago actually) I was fortunate enough to win a paper piecing pattern from the lovely Kristy at Quiet Play as part of the paper piecing link up and I finally got the chance to make it this week. 

I think it looks a bit like a spider in the middle, it must be the slightly webby fabric I chose.  Fortunately I like spiders!  The pattern came together really easily and only one point doesn't match so I was really pleased.  This is only my 3rd excursion into paper piecing.
Our sofa in the lounge is navy blue so this goes really well on there but the light is better in the conservatory for photos. 
The solids had been bought to make a quilt for our bedroom but I couldn't resist them for this and it look less than one WOF strip in each colour to make, so I should have plenty left.  I paired them with Essex linen as always.
The back is linen also, with a covered zip closure.

DS2 has also been sewing today.  He wanted to make a pencil case to hold his fabric pens (he likes to draw his own designs on t-shirts, I buy cheap white ones in Tesco and it keeps him occupied.)
He often drives the foot pedal whilst I steer, but this time he wanted to do it all himself - zip  and appliques included! 
He drew out a design and selected the fabric.  He chose a nice heavy drill so it didn't need to be quilted or lined.
(I had tidied my craft room, but all the sewing in the last couple of weeks has made a big mess again.  Oh well, I would rather be making than tidying any day of the week)
Here he is with the finished product with not a stitch sewed by me.
 And a gratuitous close-up to show his stitching (and colouring).  I think for a (just) 10 year old, he did very well indeed.
 Linking up with Friday Finishes @ Crazy Mom Quilts, Paper Piecing Party @ Quiet Play, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Oh and have you seen the great givaway at Maureen Cracknell Handmade?  40 sunyside fat quarters!  Go and enter if you haven't already.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Surprisingly Pink

I have been able to get quite a lot of sewing done this week as I am still off school (work) for the summer holidays.  Firstly I needed a new bag as I ruined my last one.  I had fallen in love with the Anna Maria Horner field study linens and so ordered some from the US.  It cost me a fortune, but what could I do - it was love after all!

I wanted to showcase the print so the bag is BIG, but I will use it for work where I need to be able to carry all of the post as it is not collected from our school so I am quite happy with the size.  I didn't use a pattern as it is a really simple shape.

This is the front of the bag - you can tell that by the rings.

This is the back, using a different part of the pattern for interest.

This is the inside.  I used Kona solids for this as I didn't want a pattern to detract from the outside.  Tricky photo this one.  There is a zipped pocket for my phone.  I keep my purse and camera in an open pocket which is as wide as the bag, and top stitched for an inch in the middle to stop it gaping.  There is also a key fob.  That light blue rectangle in the bottom is where I ran out of the darker blue but I am claiming it as a design feature.  There is a full zip accross for security which I inserted into a strip in the same sort of way that you do for zipped pockets in linings, except that I did it twice so that the zip is covered by the lining too.

Another thing I have been working on is my 'free' quilt made from Tilda charm packs.  This has inspired the title of the post as when I was making the HSTs I thought the colours were mainly blue and white with some pink.  When I laid it out on the floor to decide how to put it together I was surprised by how pink it is - how did I miss that?

Pink is not something I have a lot of in this house as I am so outnumbered with even the pet tortoise being male, so it is a nice surprise.

I don't know what this zig zag pattern is called (zig zags perhaps :) !) but I have tried (within the limits of the charm packs) to alternate values as this is something I have not tried before.

I read somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) that you should view in black and white to check for value so here is a B&W version of the photo.  I think the far right row is the only dodgy one value wise, but it is my favourite combo in colour so is staying.


Thursday, 15 August 2013


You may remember the disaster I had with my much loved suede bag (pepsi can leaked).  My DS2 (who is 10 today - happy birthday!) really liked my bag and cuddled it on long journeys because it was so soft.  One of the things he wanted for his birthday was a brown teddy bear and I had just enough left in off cuts from the bag to make this bear. 

The cream is also suede (real leather not faux).  The bag was made from a long suede skirt I bought second hand for £3 and I used the bag for a couple of years, so getting a bear from it as well is a real plus. 

I used a pattern by Abby Glassenberg from Craftsy and reduced it to 80% as I didn't have much suede left.  I wanted a really soft bear and this pattern is perfect.  I made a couple of changes in that I sewed his face before I sewed the back of the head to the front and I stuffed the arms and legs before sewing them into the body.  I didn't want too many seams to hand sew as the suede is quite hard to sew.

My son opened his presents at 5:40 (!) this morning and was really pleased with his bear.  He is growing up and didn't want many toys -  a tablet, a guitar, dvds etc - but he is still little enough to love a teddy.

Linking with Thursday Threads at 627 Handworks and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.
      My Quilt Infatuation


Wednesday, 14 August 2013


I have a long list of stuff I should be doing to get ready for our house extension, cleaning and clearing out mainly - boring!  

I also have a list of stuff I need to sew, boring stuff like curtains.  So am I busy getting on with it? 

No, obviously I 'needed' to start a new quilt!  I even cleared my desk a little to enable this.  It is pretty much a free quilt though, so since it cost practically nothing, I needn't be guilty - right?

A few months ago I took out a subscription to Simply Homemade and the free gift was all Tilda stuff - buttons, ribbon, a book and a charm pack.  The gift arrived and I waited a month or two but no magazine.  I phoned them and explained and they said they would sort it out.  A week or so later my magazine arrived - with another free gift!  The charm squares are 6 inches square so are bigger than normal too. 
To border and back the quilt I have a co-ordinating bolt, yep a WHOLE BOLT, of Tilda fabric which I got for £30 from Panduro.   Tilda fabric is also wider than normal quilting fabric, so I have loads of it.  At that price it is practically free - hence the free quilt!
I have also been working on a new bag to replace my dearly departed death-by-pepsi bag, and a suede leather teddy bear for my son's birthday tomorrow  - I will show these over the next couple of days.
I am still working through all the comments I got from the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop - sorry if I haven't replied to you yet., I did appreciate them all!
Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Better of Thread,
Better Off Thread

Monday, 5 August 2013

Happy Days

First of all I have a finish!

This is my Illusion mini.  I have posted about this before at various stages so don't want to bore anyone, but I am really pleased with it.  I used a Simply Colour Ombre jelly roll to make diamonds, which make hexagons, which look like cubes.

I quilted the white borders to echo the shapes and then hand quited selected diamonds with matching DMC thread to make triangles (well Mitsubishi symbols really) and flowers.  I make that 5 shapes from one!

You can see the quilting better in these pictures (oh, and that line on the diamond on the right - blood - I kept pricking my fingers when hand quilting!)  The binding is another jelly roll strip, cut in half to make it long enough, hence it is really skinny.

Sorry for the lack of posts, we have been away in Spain for a family holiday.  I didn't like to say we were going away before we went as I didn't want to advertise an empty house.  Most of our week was spent by the pool which we almost always had to ourselves.  The beach was close by but the kids preferred the pool and, as they are old enough and good enough swimmers to not have to watch all the time, I got 5 books read - bliss. 

While I was away I missed the last week of the Lets Get Acquainted Blog Hop organised by the lovely Beth of Plum and June.
The last of the lovely lassies are:

July 26
Vicki @
A Quilter's Mission
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks
Jenny @ A Note To Follow Sew
Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Sonia @ Fabric & Flowers
Emily @ Sew E.T.
Em @ Sewing by Moonlightg
Go visit them as they all make the most lovely things.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and Sew Cute Tuesday at Better off Thread.


Saturday, 20 July 2013


Today (well yesterday actually) it is my turn on the Blog Hop run by the lovely Beth of Plum and June.  Thank you so much Beth for running this.  Sorry my post is late.  I work in a school and yesterday was the end of term.  After half term we all say  'Hurray only 7 weeks until the summer holidays' but about 5 weeks later it is ' Oh no. only 2 weeks to go, how will I get it all done!'  The answer, unfortunately, is to work very long hours and not do any sewing :( 

Anyway, nice to meet you all. I have really enjoyed being part of this blog hop and meeting lots of lovely and talented bloggers.  My bloglovin list has gotten longer and longer and there has been a great email correspondence going on behind scenes. 

I guess you would like to know a bit about me?  I have sewn as long as I can remember.  I was given an old Singer sewing machine which I used to sit cross legged on the floor with with the foot pedal under my knee - until I got a bit to big to bend down that far!

When I was 18 I was given a Janome machine for my birthday.  This is the machine sewed on until February this year.  It had all of 6 different stitches!  This year I decided it was time to upgrade and I bought a reconditioned Husqvarna 870q.  It does about a million stitches (may be exaggerating) has a huge throat.  I can also move the needle sideways - never knew that was even possible before. 

Before I made quilts I made clothes, curtains, and lots of toys and dressing up outfits for my kids.  When we got married (16 years ago) I made my wedding dress, and the outfits for the page boy and little bridesmaid.  They carried toy bunnies as they were only 2 & 3 and I made matching outfits for them too.  My mum made her outfit, and the dress for my sister, who was my maid of honour.  My dress had over 5000 pearls on it, all hand sewn on.  It also had the buttons from my mum's wedding dress which she had made too.  Hubbie proposed to me on 10 January and we got married on 3 May - so I had 14 weeks to get all this done.  Clearly I work better with a deadline. (Oh, and no, I wasn't pregnant - just saw no point in waiting any longer - we'd been dating for 4 years!)

I took up quilting a couple of years ago.  After I made my first quilt (from Hubbie's shirts) I found the online blogging community and discovered all the beautiful things which could be made, and all the gorgeous fabric which could be bought!
I had really hoped to get my cubic hexagons finished for this post, but the heat and work put paid to that.so the only thing I have finished is a little fabric basket made with a paper pieced pattern which I tested for the very talented Michelle of Factotum of Arts.  I used a Songbird fabric to match my owl.
I have seen lots of lovely pictures of peoples sewing rooms over the last few weeks so thought you might like to see mine.  I must issue a warning though - I work better in a mess.  I need to see things to inspire me.  I do tidy up sometimes - but not as often as I should.  So, if you don't like a mess you may want to look away now - but go down to the bottom of the post first to see the other people in the blog hop.

Still with me?  Well done.  I am also a papercrafter and have been running a club for the last 8 years teaching adults.  My room therefore needs to have papercrafting stuff (mostly in the bottom picture) as well as sewing stuff.  When I make something big I have to bring my machine out into the dining room, but I do manage little things in here.
Right, this is a very long post for me, so sorry about that.  Please feel free to have a look round while you are here. 
I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for the Friday finish and with Plum and June for Lets Get Aquainted.  Here are the list of bloggers from last week (really sorry) and this week.
July 12
Karen @
Karen, {Novice} Quilter
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Rachel @ Let's Begin Sewing...
Jan @ Sew And Sow Farm
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house
Christen @ Love by Hand
Julie @ 627handworks

July 19
Karen @
Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @
Making Happyness  That's ME!
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray
Oh, and if you wondered about the blog name... when I make stuff it makes me happy and I spelt it with a Y because my Hubbies name is Symon and we always have to say 'Simon, with a Y'.
Thanks for visiting

Friday, 5 July 2013

Too Hot to Quilt

And that isn't something you hear too often in the UK!

This little owl is my only finish for the week.  I spotted him first here on Jackie's Blog and she got the pattern from here.  I fussy cut the fabric for his head and wings (the other side of the wings is the spotty fabric).  He is supposed to be a pincushion with a pocket for tools, but I can't bear to stick pins in him so he is sitting on my bedside table mostly - just making me smile.

I have made some progress on my cubic hexagons.  I tried to sew them together as they were in the last post, but that didn't work.  Trimming them was going to be a problem though as they really wanted to have sides of 5 and 3/8 inches.  Anyone got a template that size? No? Thought not. 

I ended up printing off a load of paper hexagons the right size and using them as templates.  I had to use lots as I kept slicing off a sliver of paper with the fabric.  Once I thought they had been sliced too much, I just started on another template.

I also used those templates to cut the white for the border.  As you can see it was a bit of a jigsaw!  Sewing it together was fun (not).  I am officially over hexagons - too many y seams by half.   However I am completely sold on trimming blocks now.  I have never done it before as I didn't want to waste fabric, but it is SO worth it.
Having carefully pieced that big white border, I will probably cut it right back now so that the hexies take centre stage.  I am thinking of a dark binding, grey or black?
 Does anyone else associate songs with their sewing?  All the time I have been sewing this I have had 'Just an Illusion'  by Imagination going round in my head (and yes, I am that old). 
Today is Friday so it is the next stop in the New Blogger blog hop hosted by Plum and June.  It has been so great to be part of this and get to know so many other quilters.  I have followed lots of famous bloggers for years but find it is much easier to build friendships with the newer bloggers.  Today's stars are:

Friday, July 5
Christa @
Christa Quilts!
Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After
Stephanie @
Quarter Incher
Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation and Live a Colourful Life.
 Then I'm off to sit in the garden with a cold drink and the telly turned round to show Wimbledon.  Come on Djokovic! (edited to add: That worked, so Come on Murray!)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Cubic Hexagons - WIP

So, I'm still loving the Simply Colour Ombre jelly roll - might be because it hasn't got tidied up off my desk yet!  I  have been loving all the hexagons around at the moment and decided to have a play. 

These are hexagons, but they look like cubes!!! This really freaks my 9 year old son out - he doesn't like optical illusions.

I toyed with the idea of EPPing these diamonds, but I had the need to get this out of my head and into reality NOW so I machine pieced which was a lot easier than I thought.

I have just noticed that 2 of the cubes are the wrong way up. fortunately they aren't pieced yet so I can rearrange.  I am thinking white around it (rather than my fetching ikea mat!) to make it a rectangle to hang on the wall - just haven't worked out how to cut that yet - any suggestions?

Linking up with Lily's Quilts for the Fresh Sewing Day and the Small Blog Meet and also to Lets Get Aquainted which is at Quilts in the Queue this week.


Friday, 28 June 2013

Paper Rose Garden

I finally finished my Paper Roses cushion.  I bordered it with some more Simply Colour ombre and then more Essex linen.  I quilted it with tiny pebbles (gravel?) around the outside and in a trellis pattern around the rose.  The idea was that this would be like a rose garden.

This is the first time I have tried to do free motion pebbles and next time I shall make them a bit bigger as it took forever and used 2 bobbins of thread.   I didn't quilt the rose or coloured borders, mainly because I couldn't work out how to do it and less is more - right?

The back is just charm squares in a simple 9 patch.  I put the pink one in the middle to reference the rose on the front.  I love those chevrons especially the green - it is so fresh!  I might just love the back more than the front.

I had an audience when I took these photos - clearly my kids aren't shy!  Perhaps I should let them back in the house???

Not all has gone well today though.  I took a can of pepsi to work with me today in my handbag.  When I went to get to get it at lunch I found this:

Somehow the can had developed tiny hole (keys?) and had spent the morning leaking gently into my SUEDE handbag.  It is soaking wet and so is everything in it. 

I love this bag.  I made it from a skirt I found in a charity shop for £3.  I then spent about £30 on extra bits of leather to make the flowers and hearts, but it is the inital saving which counts, right?  It is was so soft with the most gorgeous Michael Miller lining.

Anyone get any tips on how to get pepsi out of suede?

Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation and Live a Colourful Life.

It is also the new bloggers blog hop day.  Todays bloggers are: (insert drumroll)

Green @ So Sew Green

Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

Friday, 21 June 2013

Doris & Ethel

These are my Friday Finishes for the week (I'm still trying to decide how to quilt my Rose).  I am a big fan of the Tilda range by Tone Finnanger and these are cupcake angels from the Tilda's Studio book.  I named them Doris and Ethel, Ethel is a little shy and Doris is quite bossy.  The eyes are always the last bit I do as they are not 'alive' until they have eyes.  And yes, I cried all through Toy Story 3!
I made them quite a bit thinner than the pattern showed and I also gave them pantaloons as they seemed a little indecent without them.  They don't have wings and I am keeping them that way.  I am sure Angels hide their wings sometimes anyway.

Sorry for rambling, DS1 is 12 today and he had us up at 5:30 this morning (having been up late wrapping pressies the night before!)
Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts and also with the new blogger blog hop from Plum and June.  This week's bloggers are:

Leigh Anne @ Ella's Cottage
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Liz @ Beadqueene's Bits And Baubles
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym
Amy @ Cloud CouCou Crafts


Thursday, 20 June 2013


I have made a bit more progress with my paper pieced rose which I have decided to make into a cushion (pillow).  I made a simple 9 patch for the back of the cushion with some more Simply Colour from my charm pack.  These are the pieces which did not make it into my Dresden / Coventry.

I have basted the layers together using my favourite method of big tacking stitches in cheap thread.  I have seen lots of debates about pinning versus spray but nobody seems to tack.  I have tried pinning but don't like it when I am quilting as they always seem to get in the way.  I haven't tried spray as I don't have anywhere I could use this which would not make a sticky mess.  Tacking really works for me and I have used it on all my quilts so far.

Does anyone else tack?


Linking with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and Living a Colourful Life Random Thursday.Live A Colorful LifeFresh Poppy Design

Monday, 17 June 2013

Paper Pieced Rose

When I used to do a lot of paper crafting I had a blog called Paper Piecing, so I found it really funny to find that there was a quilting version too!

This is my first attempt at paper piecing quilt-stylie.  I bought a pattern from Piece by Numbers on Etsy last year, but it is only this week that I got up the courage to try it.  I am rather please by the results although, as you can see below - it isn't perfect!  Those little pink threads are actually the raw edge showing (gasp!).  I am hoping to catch them under the linen with a couple of hand stitches.

The coloured fabrics are Simply Colour by V&Co.  (I'm not sponsored or anything - I just really like it!)  When I made my Coventry wall hanging I used part of one strip from a junior jelly roll and this was made with the remainder of those strips.  I still have 2 whole strips of each colour, so expect plenty more projects with this!  I started with the light pink and dark aubergine in the centre and went out to dark pink and light aubergine.  The solid is my favourite Essex Linen in natural.

Now all I have to do is decide what to make with it, I'm leaning towards a cushion but it is a bit small at the moment.

I also want to show you 2 pictures of Big D and Little D.  DS2 decided that what his Daddy would really like for Fathers' Day was a t-shirt with a picture of them both doing archery (my husband's hobby).  We took the photos and then printed them off on photo transfer paper with a BEST DAD message.  Ironed on a white t-shirt and all done.

DH proudly wore the t-shirt all day!  (Oh and the weird stuff behind DS2 is a homemade tardis console - obviously!)

I'm Linking up with Lucy for the Monday Link up, Quilt Story and Kristy for the Paper Piecing Party.
 Plum and JuneFresh Poppy DesignPPPQP button

Thursday, 13 June 2013

... When it is a Coventry!

I went to university in Coventry which, like Dresden, is a beautiful old city heavily bombed during WWII.  Coventry and Dresden are twinned cities.  Coventry has 2 cathedrals now, one is old and traditional and now ruined and next to it is the modern one.  I love both.  So many quilting parallels!

When my Dresden went wrong, it seemed fitting to redo it and rename it and call it a Coventry - well it made sense to me. (See yesterdays post if you missed it.)

This is bound in the Simply Colour Ombre solids which I am completely in love with.  Each piece is only 18cm long so the colour change is quite subtle, but each is darker at the top and lighter at the bottom - such a good idea (Vanessa not me!)

I love this quilt so much more like this.  I just can't decide whether to have it hanging on the wall, or flat on my breakfast bar.

I learnt several new things with this quilt:
  1. Don't Fear the (seam) Ripper (Blue Oyster Cult anyone?)
  2. My walking foot is awesome - why was I so afraid to use it???
I'm linking this one with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.


ps  Having pieced all those little bits for the top and bottom strips, I then found a whole 2 yard piece!

pps I almost forgot the blog hop! Please visit todays contenstants...

Friday, June 14
Julie @
Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Sarah @ Duck Egg Threads
Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation
Cari @ There's A Thread
Valerie @ Between Quilts