Thursday, 29 November 2012

Catching up

This week I have been trying to catch up with my WIPs on my long 'things to do before Christmas' list. The most pressing item is my November hipBee block for Catherine. She has been very gracious and said that December would be fine but I reckon that is the way to ruin and getting behind. As I am the hipBee mama, I should be setting an example and not slacking. So as it is still November I reckon that I have just got this block finished in the nick of time. Catherine,  it will be in the post today. Phew!

State of block last night
I managed to sew the horizontal seams last night after this photo was taken, so that I could do the vertical seams this morning in daylight. I have tried to match the points perfectly but there are a couple that may have not quite reached the mark.  
All vertical seams now completed

Completed with less than perfect points!
The next Christmas WIP that I want to complete is the Christmas table runner for my dining room table. I have now completed the blocks.
Aqua/grey block

Red Block (out of focus)

Green block

I have also sewn them together and they are waiting for the next stage….
Christmas runner blocks laid out on the table
I am going to use a mini charm pack (2.5" Squares) that were in my goodie bag at the FQ retreat, mixed with some fabric from the spinning wheels, to make a scrappy border down either side of the runner. That might be a job for the weekend though…
Di x

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A quick finish

Why is it that some projects sit there half finished, or half formulated in your head, for ages and then others are done immediately? I knew that when I saw this fabric on Thursday that it would make a great 'sober' bag. 
Bag making fabric
I really wanted to make the bag straight away so I got to it last Saturday afternoon. I used  Judith's slouch bag pattern and this is the finished result.

Slouch bag 2
I love the way that the fabric is more sober but although the background is grey there is plenty of colour there too. I like bags to have pockets so I have added a zipper closure pocket and a little slip pocket for my phone.
Pockets detail
I can't tell you how much I like this bag. It is practical, useful and looks good against my black coat.

A 'sober' slouch bag
Now I am going to spend a couple of hours on those half finished projects. The one at the top of my list is my Christmas table runner. I am determined to have this finished in plenty of time so that I can use it in the run up to Christmas. At the Duxford Quilt Show I bought this gismo from Creative Grids and it is well worth the money as there is no sums or working out to do and there is no fabric wastage. I am sure that cardboard templates would work as well but I have gone for the gismo!
2 in 1 Peaks triangle ruler
I have made up some 6" strips of 'Christmas fabric'. These strips have a couple of true Christmas in them but I have mainly used green, red and grey fabrics that aren't Christmas prints.
Red Christmas runner block

Green Christmas runner block
My table is 5 ft long so I am going to need a few more blocks… so I am going to get down to them whilst the light lasts.

Di x

Friday, 23 November 2012

Bits and pieces

I have had a week of just doing bits and pieces of sewing. I haven't really completed any project, either big or small. 
Yesterday I was in London and made a little detour to the Cloth House. I really like this shop as it has a plethora of choices of all types of fabric. In the remnants basket I spied some useful pieces of fabric that were begging to be bought!
Cloth House finds
On the left is some shirting material. This is going to form part of my hipBee challenge when I get to be Queen Bee in February.On the right, is a heavier duck cotton fabric that I am going to use at a class I am attending next March. So I am definitely "Mrs. Prepared" for next year!

I also had a wander around Liberty and John Lewis. I live in the backside of nowhere rural Lincolnshire, so bear with me as it is a real treat to see nice things in 'real life' and not just on the internet. InJohn Lewis' craft department there was a big table and on it was a quilt/table runner do you recognise a little DS going on here?
John Lewis fabric department
John Lewis fabric department
What I was after though was a little more fabric to make another slouch bag using Judith's fab patternI just love using the one that I have made but it is too 'sunny' against my dark coat and I reckon that I need a more 'sober' one. I have scoured the local market for a printed cord or a tweed but have not found anything that really grabbed me.

Slouch bag - the first one
As I wandered around the John Lewis fabric department I spied a fabric that I KNEW would make the type of bag that I would like. It has a sober background but has flashes of colour
Fabric for a new slouch bag 
The left hand fabric will be the lining and the grey background fabric on the right is going to be the outside of the bag.

Another piece of 'bits' is my LynneBobSquarePants block for Catherine. Catherine is our Queen Bee in the hipBees this month. Our bee is very good at getting the blocks finished by the 2nd or 3rd of the month so as it is now the 23rd I am feeling very 'late' in getting this block put together. It will be sent before the 30th though, even if I sit up late and do it one evening! I am meant to be the Mama of this bee so I am not going to let the side down!
A LynneBobSquarePants block for Catherine in progress
I have a 'to do' list going as well, so my aim for next week is to get down to some sewing and get some projects completed! 
Di x

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Sewless week and a commission

The past week has marched on relentlessly. I haven't done any sewing as I have had visitors all week and the sewing had to be put to one side.
In October, I was asked my someone whether I would make a zippy pouch for her to give as a Christmas present for her daughter. She had seen this purse that I had made for myself.
Zippy Pouch - front

Zippy Pouch - back
I really enjoyed making this wee pouch with linen and left overs of a jelly roll. My friend wanted me to use some scraps of Cath Kidson material that she had used in decorating her daughter's bedroom.
This is what I came up with.
Commissioned zippy pouch - front

Commissioned zippy pouch - back
As I still had a few scraps to play around with I decided to make a little Zakka pencil case too.
Pencil case
So this got me thinking… perhaps I could make a few more of these for Christmas presents… Watch this space!

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Smashing Time

On Saturday I went with a friend to a Hope & Elvis workshop with Janine Nelson. It was a mosaic workshop and it involved smashing china, PVA glue and tweezers. It was a lot of fun and I think that I came away with a new skill. We made various items but as they had to be left for 24 hours for the glue to dry so they are not yet grouted. I still need to do this. To give you an idea of what I made, and how my items are progressing, there are some photos below.

Mosaic Mirror

Details of Mosaic around a Mirror
The mirror was made in the morning session and then in the afternoon we tried our hand at smaller items. This is where a set of tweezers came in handy as I did have a bit of an issue with too much glue!
Blue and white heart with a piece missing!

Teapot for the kitchen

Luggage label
I was especially pleased with the luggage label. The idea came to me immediately that I could use text from the stamps on the underside of the crockery to mosaic it with. Not a bad idea for a person who isn't artistic! Although the smaller items were more fiddly, I found them to be more satisfying to make.

All in all, it was a smashing day out and I am sure that I will be doing this at home in the near future.
Di x

Friday, 9 November 2012

A day of being a 'Lady who Lunches (& stitches)'

On Tuesday I had a real 'me' day and became a 'Lady who Lunches' but there were stitches involved too.

During the morning Trudi arrived in time for a cup of tea. I love getting together with Trudi as she is as prolific with her sewing as her blog name suggests. I always feel privileged when she shows me what she has made and her works in progress. I am such a beginner when compared to such an awesome sewist, but Trudi is an encourager and bolsters my confidence.

After a rather nice lunch we eventually got down to sewing some Bee Blessed blocks. This was rather a doddle as Trudi had come with several blocks already cut out and ready to sew. We did five blocks in an hour. Now I know why Trudi is so prolific - she prepares before she sews!
Bee Blessed blocks

Once Trudi left late in the afternoon, I got dinner organised and eaten before I headed out to Tanya's for an evening of "Stitching it Together". The lovely Hannah was on a mission to show us how to crochet. I have crocheted as a little girl and some of the techniques did come back to me. Within the evening we had made a little basket.
Little crocheted basket
I have to say that I was really taken with crocheting so I bought another couple of balls of string (yes string!) and made a slightly bigger basket.
Bigger crocheted basket
 So now I have two rather cute baskets and a new passion. I think that I could become addicted to crocheting, although I might need another pattern and a larger variety of stitches in my arsenal.

A pair of baskets
I can highly recommend becoming a 'Lady who Lunches & Stitches'. It was a good day!
Di x

Monday, 5 November 2012

A week of halves

We are back in the groove now that half term is over and we are returning to school/ work. We have had a really relaxing time away but it was truly a week of halves…

I had a vile cold for half the week and retreated to bed on a couple of occasions. I shared the love virus with my husband so that he felt ill for the second half of the week. The boys spend half their time studying or revising and we all put up with the rain/hail for 6 days. Despite the weather, and feeling under the weather, we did enjoy being off the treadmill and just chilling. My hubby and I even managed to see Skyfall at the cinema.

I had taken a list of the sewing that I wanted to get done whilst away but again I only managed half of my list. I accomplished half putting together some zippy pouches and only half managed to finish two rows of the Bee in My Bonnet Row along.
Half completed rows for the Bee in my bonnet row along
The snowball blocks on the left will eventually evolve into apples and the butterflies on the right need to be sashed and joined together into a row.
Apple core and a butterfly
I guess I will be trying to catch up this week but I also have my hipBee block to make for Catherine and the Bee a Brit Stingy Christmas challenge to start planning. So really I am still on the conveyer belt of life, never really catching up at all! Tomorrow I am going to be catching up with bloggy friends though as Trudi is coming to visit and I am going to Tanya's tomorrow evening for 'Stitching it Together' where the mysteries of crocheting are going to be explained! That, for me, is the best sort of catching up!
Di x