Friday, 31 May 2013

Nuts in May

Linking up with Lily's quilts Fresh sewing day
There's an old saying that goes " May comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb", but I would say that in 2013, May came in with a splosh and went out with a dribble. We've been blown about, washed away and then in a brief hour one Thursday, burnt to a crisp. Probably not what we all had in mind for one of the favourite month's of the year and to  say its been an unpredictable month would be an understatement. However I am pleased to say the inclement weather hasn't stopped us from having one of the most hectic, but productive months for a long time.
May round up
In between clocking up the miles on trips to see all the gang, enjoy some live theatre and three music gigs ,(phew!), I managed to finish off not only the Sew Sew Modern  and Pretty Little Pouch Swaps but also to get all my bee blocks out and away to their new homes. The Postman must love me at the moment I reckon.
The block in the middle is the one chosen by Happy Go Lizzie for the Modern Stash Bee, called Rocky Mountain Puzzle, and this block is completely addictive. I have become hooked on these little lovelies. So much so that I have chosen it for my up and coming month in charge in the Together at Do.Good Stitches Bee. I hope the rest of the team like it as much as me. It is so quick and easy but looks really effective I think. There are some more great examples of how they can turn out, both  here and here.
So that was May. June promises to be calmer and I am desperate to get out into the garden so, as inspiration, I am off to "Gardening Scotland" on Sunday. First of all though I have a tutorial to write for another block which hopefully won't be too tricky, but pop back soon and I will let you know. Toodle loo!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Up up and away

I promised at the end of the last blog that weather permitting, I would have a lovely adventure to report on and shock horror- the weather held out and look what I got to do.
The beloved JB had bought me the trip in a balloon as a Christmas present back in 2011 and the last summer had been so appalling that the trip was cancelled 6 times. I was actually beginning to give up hope that I was ever going to get my feet off the ground without the aid of a turbine engine but wow - when the weather played the game, it really played the game.
We had to be at the launch area in the Scottish Borders for 5.30 a.m. on Saturday which meant us getting up at 3 am. Now I am not a morning girl on the best of times and the idea of this ungodly time made my heart sink, especially after a night out but hey ho. If it meant I got my elusive trip so be it. So after 4 hours sleep we headed off to the border town of Biggar and the adventure began.
As you can see it was a tad frosty, with a low of -2 degrees when we took off, but I didn't care as I was wearing virtually all my wardrobe in one go. Layers upon layer upon layer. This paid off though as I was cosy warm floating about up there the ether. There was not a cloud in the sky and the views over Biggar and the surrounding areas were stunning.

I loved every minute of the trip, even the landing, which was probably the most fearful part of the trip as far as I was concerned. It was as smooth as smooth can be and nothing compared with the average  gusty landing at Turnhouse in mid November. The 18 month wait may have been a long time, but in the end it was well worth that wait for a flight on the most amazing morning of the year. If you get the chance to have a trip yourself do not hesitate. You will find it a serene, beautiful and a most fun filled experience. I cant finish however without a mention for our pilot, Celia Morley, who was a hoot and made all of us first time flyers very welcome and relaxed. What a girl!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Zombie Weekend

No sewing this weekend- just lots of gadding about.
gorgeous Millenium Bridge on the Tyne ( No Fog )
We kicked off with a trip down to Newcastle and a visit to The Sage . If your not familair with Newcastle, the Sage is an arts venue built (I think as part of the Millenium rejuvenation etc) on the banks of the River Tyne. It's a bit of a stunner of a building from the outside and was even more impressive inside, so be sure to add it to your lists of "to do's" when you are in the area. We were there to see a very long standing band called " The Zombies". Nothing to do with the undead,  but a small combo with their lead signer Colin Blunstone being a great favourite of mine from way back in my schools days. In fact I have a very boring story about accosting him in Oxford Street, outside Bourne & Hollingworth's in 1975, along with 4 other 17years old girls but I won't bore you now. Needless to say you need a trip along to You Tube to hear his incredible voice and when you do, bear in mind he still sounds this way at 67! Hope I wear  as well!
Anway, dinner first before the gig was humungous, accompanied by Emily and her boy and perhaps the addition of a few libations in the bar before and after.
Next stop on saturday was a bit of hard core (excuse the pun) DIY, again care of Emily and the lovely Jonathan. They are still doing some serious renovating of their house and it was time to rip down a wall or two so it was sledge hammers to the fore. As you can see H&S regimes were adhered too, on pain of death from the beloved JB...

Emily doing her impression of Bale

After a quick rub down with  an oily rag, we headed back north and managed to sneak in a quick trip to see grandaughter and co and stuff ourselves with even more food by way of a giant indian (not literaly I might hasten to add), before collapsing into bed tired but happy.

Next morning we were up bright and early to meet up with Pepper-Ann for lunch and a drive out to the hills, as it was time to start looking for her wedding venue . All very exciting stuff as you can imagine. Managers were quizzed, suites were surveyed and a decison was made, so that's it now - all set in stone. The Big Day is fixed. So its full steam ahead Mrs Seamstress. Oh, that's me? Cue "time to panic" then.

Anyway, as I said it was an action packed weekend in which we managed to pack in visits to three offspring out of the five. We would have actually had an 80% result if the weather hadn't been so shocking, as had hoped for a  diversion to Dumfrieshire but it was not to be. However whilst on that subject, if you are reading this blog piece Mrs G Mark II, the title of this piece is just for you ....

So see you all again soon I hope, after another upcoming weekend of weather dependent excitement.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Peek-a-boo quilt

Had a great great day on Sunday. It was quilt class day over at Avery Homestore  (also known as Bearpaw classes )which I had been looking forward to all week.  I packed up my pins, strapped down my faithful machine and headed my little old car off to sunny Morningside nice and early in keen anticipation and I am glad to say I wasn't to be disappointed.

Claire deep in concentration on her blocks
The class of the day was the "Peek-a-boo" quilt which makes me chuckle whenever I say it (sorry I know, pathetic isn't it) and is a based on a technique which was shown at a tutorial at last year's Fat Quarterly Retreat in London, rather than some odd fetish for dodgy lingerie.
Jo (there are a lot of us in this piece- just warning you now), our lovely host, has put her own twist on the quilt and so we had a choice to make either the original or her own more grown up petal version. Jo blogged about her quilt last year which you can read all about here, and of course see her great shots of the finished thing. 
I went for the original version, which is more for little people as I wanted to use a cracking piece of Japanese fabric which I had picked up in the most amazing shop in France last summer. Three of my new quilting buddies for the day Sasha, Ann and yet another Jo went for the grown up versions and these are a couple of the blocks they made, which as you can see are in stunning colour combos. Really looking forward to seeing how they turn out (apologies for the rubbish quality of the pictures though, but I struggled with the light in our room)
I managed just 2 whole blocks and two thirds of another and am itching to get the others finished,  but you know me, too many projects on the go all at once. I will try very hard to come back with the completed quilt really soon - swaps, bee blocks and oh perhaps work allowing.
ps the bottom one is squinty as its not trimmed yet- just in case you think my cutting is really rubbish
Jo does a great job with her classes and you can see more of her stunning work on her blog. And of course don't forget she is organising the exciting Stitch Gathering in August, which is now SOLD OUT!!! Can't wait and hope to see some of you there. 
see you soon

Friday, 10 May 2013

Hold the front page...

Well actually, it's page 38!
If you have laid your hands on the Special Bag issue of  Popular Patchwork this month you will see an article all about our lovely friends over at Beechwood Quilting. It's a great piece written by Gillian  Cooper, relating her experience of trying her hand with a Longarm machine for the first time.  

You might remember my ramblings some time ago about the same experiences and how helpful and lovely Brian and Carole are in hand holding on your journey with their beautiful beast of a machine.  I am really pleased for them to see this piece in the mag and I hope this encourages a few more novices to pop along and give it a go.  You will definitely get the bug once you try, and if you're like me quilting anything bigger than a baby quilt is always too much of a challenge on a straight forward machine.I myself am well overdue a visit and a taste of the obligatory and wonderful flapjacks always on offer.  I can't see that these delicacies were however extended to Gillian, so she needs to beetle back there a bit sharpish in my opinion as she missed out on one of the other highlights of her visit. Oh, and if you turn to page 40 you might recognise the short bespectacled old bird standing alongside lovely Carole....


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Keeping the postman busy

I had a lovely surprise when I got home from the office on Friday. Not one, not two , but three lovely little parcels from the postie. I love getting parcels and three in one day was a triple whammy. 

First and foremost, I received my package from my swap partner, Adrianne, all the way from New Zealand. She has made me this comfy cushion cover which will be great in the garden. Its a lovely size at 20 inches ( I had to go and buy a filler for it today and couldn't find the right one anywhere , so I have filled it with a continental bed pillow which works a treat). I am afraid the picture is a bit dark and doesn't do all the colours justice, as unlike the South of England, we have had a rubbish grey and overcast day, totally not conducive to taking photos. Anyway, hope you like it too. I think it will be ideal for reading in the garden and a snooze under the big red beech tree.
Next was parcel two, which was my yard of fabric ready for the texty swap, so that is sitting ready for cutting into its little charms. I had a bit of a disaster for this swap as the first fabric I chose and ordered was from Spoonflower and I didn't read the scale properly and it was far too big a print. It was a very cool " physics equations" print though so I will definitely find a use for it. This one, shown below, which I have chosen now though fits a treat into the 5 inch charms and is called "Calculations" by Carolyn Freidlander.  I found it at at The Eternal Maker, a great shop and always quick on the delivery.

Last but by no means least was the wonderful giveaway I mentioned last blog from Sheila at "Bluepatch Quilter". They are a bundle of fat eights by Jenn Ski called "Mod Century" and are really lovely. Their arrival was very timely as I was about to start my next swap project. This one is quick turn around and my partner has a liking for yellows and sunny things so I quickly spotted a couple that would work really well in with my plan. So that's how I spent today. Pouching again. Its not a huge one but I thought it would be handy for carrying scissors and small projects when travelling.
I hope she likes it. You might spot the other fabrics are from the "2wenty Thr3e" range at Moda. A careful bit of fussy cutting as you see which I thought went with the sunny theme. Anyway its more work for the postie, only in the opposite direction this time.
See you soon and hope your enjoying your bank holiday ( normal day at the office or me though- boo hiss).