Saturday, 23 February 2013

Links to Crafty Goodness

Tenuously craft related photo of P and my bestest friend J when we were in Florida last May - I did some alterations to J's RTW holiday wardrobe - I said it was tenuous! Just looking at this picture makes me smile - Roll on Spring!

Hi. Hope you're warm and toasty - we have more snow just at the point I'd decided that I'm a tad bored with winter and totally ready for the spring! I caught P looking at travel websites for a glimpse of the sun - we're not actually planning a trip at all!

Just a quick note to point you in the direction of some giveaways and a brilliant swap.

Pattern Giveaway:
Sew Christine is a very skilled bag maker and has had patterns published many times. She's having a sort out of dressmaking patterns and fabric. You can see Christine has set up a pop-up shop but she's giving away some patterns too. I'm lucky enough to know Christine IRL and she's got loads of patterns covering years of sewing. Some of them are corkers - I'm not telling you which I have my eye on!

Yarn Giveaway:
I love Little Woollie, I'm working on a LW inspired blanket for my daughter. Sadly, as Jules lives in Australia I do not know her IRL! She yearns for a bricks and mortar shop but has brilliantly decided to set up an online shop to sell the yarn she uses for her projects in mixed packs. This is very exciting chance to get yarns that I wouldn't normally have access to. I wish her lots of luck with her shop.

International Swap:
Have you seen House of Pinheiro's International Craft Swap? I have a confession - I am in awe of Rachel. Rachel lives not far from me in the UK, I'm thinking of carrying an autograph book in case I ever bump into her! Have you seen the things she makes? She wrote a series of posts on her planning processes - amazing. And tissue fitting - genius. Anyway, the swap theme is nautical, I'm really looking forward to taking part.

Right, I'm off. Good luck if you enter the giveaways - isn't the crafty blogging world brilliant? :)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Is it a bird? Is it a 'plane?

No ... it's a Finished Object!
Do I need to get out the smelling salts? Feeling faint?
I decided a completed item was needed and put aside some bigger projects. And boy does it feel good :)
I got the idea from this tutorial - Garden Flower Charm Pack Quilt Tutorial, it's a good job Missouri Star Quilt Company aren't local to me! I wanted to practice a small item with snowballed blocks (did that sound like I know what I'm talking about?) because it's something I need to repeat in the quilts.
This is the back ...
I know it's not the most exciting shot in the world but, in the true spirit of patchwork I wanted to use up scraps - even the zip was from my charity shop 10p haul.
And, I know, you might want to sit down ...
... I finished 4 cards. I'm liking this 'finished' feeling :)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Hello, how've you been? So lovely to see you!

Hello there! There will be waffling below, you have been warned!

Well I've been rubbish at blog related things, I need to catch up with reading my favourites, I have quite a backlog to read which I'm looking forward to, my blog reader is full to bursting!

The dreaded 'flu is pretty much gone just leaving us with a general 'bleugh' feeling - I'd like a £1 for every time I get a 'you look pasty' (this is my natural colouring!), 'are you tired?' or my personal favourite 'you're not yourself' (really?) comment, it would be quite a good charitable fundraiser! Unfortunately lots of friends and family now seem to have it (not caught from us, we pretty much put ourselves in quarantine), this includes my FiL so I'm hoping he makes a speedy recovery.

So there's been a lot of general catching up to do at work, and at home (honestly the place is a tip, the hoover needs dusting like the rest of the house!) that has meant crafty goodness has taken a bit of a back seat - most importantly we had a very belated birthday celebration for P, just a trip to the cinema and a meal, we've got neither the energy nor the inclination for a wild night out! I'd recommend 'Hitchcock' if you're thinking about seeing it, great acting and I was loving the clothes, I want Helen Mirren's red swimsuit, honestly she looks fab through the whole film.

My crafting has been mostly of the planning variety but here's where I'm at, and surprisingly there is some progress:

A's crochet blanket

Working on the granny square/flower row. I'm loving this blanket, it's a joy to be making it up as I go along. It's going to take a long time (330 stitches per row) but it's a pleasure. I have some idea of patterns I'm going to include but it's evolving - I think it needs some wiggly lines. Joy, joy, joy :D

F's & A's patchwork quilts

I might be a little bit obsessed with patchwork - just look at this pile of fabric, doesn't it make your heart skip a little bit?

I think these are my favourites

My SiL asked for 2 single quilts. A will be moving into a big girl's bed and the children share a room. The only direction I've had is that there must be some animals, F wants blues and greens, A loves 'lellow', orange and green. Basically I've got plenty of scope.

So I'm using this tutorial Katie's Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co

It's going to take longer as I didn't find suitable pre-cuts so am working with fabric from the bolt, lots of cutting. Given the size of the prints (especially for F) the 16 patches are being replaced by 4 patches so that the images can be seen better. And I need to change the size a bit.

I only need to cut 76 of each colour of the little squares!
This project is making me happy :D

Patchwork cushion for our bed

Nearly there, just need to make the back.

Patchwork bags

These are a practice exercise, and not yet finished, but I've sold 2 of them already! I offered to give them away but have been forcefully paid - very bizarre! I'm hanging on to the green one for myself.

J&C's Wedding stationery

  • Day Invitations done and sent out, bride & groom happy - phew!
  • Evening invitations - bits cut out, ready for assembly once Day RSVPs are in and I have final guest list

  • Confetti pouches, favour pouches, place cards, table names, order of service & seating plan - all planned, gathering supplies
All brides should be happy, I'm so pleased that J is all smiles


I seem to have a list but am back to enjoying papercrafting so that's good. Need to make 4 this weekend.

PLAN with Sam

Must get moving forward gain now my brain is back up and running. This is going to be exciting :)

New blouse - pink silk from India, gift from my brother Yoda

So I'm definitely using this fabric as I need a top to go under the feather cardigan and I think the colour is perfect, you can't tell from the photo but it perfectly matches one of the feathers. I love grey but, particularly in my current state, light shades can leave me looking a bit washed out. I think this pink will lift it a bit. I can't decide on the pattern, I just want something simple, mainly because I've never plucked up the courage to sew with silk before, do I just make a Sorbetto because it's a comfort pattern for me? Any suggestions gratefully received!

Skirt - UFO - McCalls M5934 blogged about in October for goodness sake!

I'm ashamed at how little is required to move this from UFO to Finished - totally disproportionate to how long Doris has been modelling it. It's become clear to me that if I put something to one side I loose all momentum, there's a lesson for me right there, I need to just do it!

Mending pile

None of this is mine! I have a tie for my brother (yeah, I know, still not done), a blouse for Y (we share an office) and a jumper for the husband of my boss! Every time someone brings me a mending job I make a clear disclaimer that I'm pants and it will take ages - and they still give them to me. The guilt is terrible!

Crochet Club

I made a Get Well card for a colleague and D, who I know vaguely, commented on it and Y (although what she's basing this on I don't know - I haven't fixed her blouse!) told her 'that's not all she makes'. By the time I got off the phone I'd apparently agreed to teach D to crochet. It has snowballed, I still haven't met everyone in the building where I'm now based and complete strangers have rocked up at my desk to ask when the club is happening so we're going for it. I'm hoping this is a good way to get to know people and a good stress buster for staff as it will encourage taking a lunch break at least once a week. I'm gathering up spare hooks, safety pins and leftover balls of yarn - I've set a 'no outlay' rule so anybody can have a go without spending a penny. We'll see how it goes, we start on Friday. I think I should take cake :)

Sewlutions Jar

Did you see Karen checked up on 3 contributors to The Jar? Good grief, the fear factor has kicked in - I need to at least start thinking about this in case Karen pops by for an audit inspection! I need to tackle my bust urgently!

Whew - I think I'd better crack on. Sorry for rambling, it feels so good to be back to 'normal'!


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Slow, Slow ... Very, very Slow

Sunny little flower centres, ready to be included in my daughter's blanket when I'm ready to work on it again.

Hello there!

Well my arrogant assumption that I could motor on through 'flu proved to be a nonsense. I went for the 'mind over matter' approach and went back to work on Monday and Tuesday - and then ended up literally flat out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I felt so ill I wasn't even bored!

Unable to do any crafting I've been catching up with reading blogs, watching Youtube tutorials on how to quilt and browsing Pinterest. I thought I'd gather some inspiration for when I felt better. But now I'm starting to feel overwhelmed - if I begin immediately I've got enough ideas on the list to keep me going for about 100 years!

And then I read Tasia's post on her Sewaholic blog here called 'A Little Less Inspiration, A Little More Action' and it totally made sense to me. If my list is too long I literally grind to a halt because I don't know what to tackle first. And some of the projects I've found on Pinterest look so beautiful that there's no way I can create their equal so that I'm almost disappointed with my efforts before I even start - now that's a ridiculous level of 'beating yourself up' even for me!

So, I'm back to what I said in my response to Sam's Leibster Award questions:

11. What is your number one crafting tip (sewing or otherwise)? Remember that it's about the process. I need to practice this a bit more, I'm the worst for putting pressure on myself, but when you just concentrate on the joy of making something you often produce your best results. Life can be so busy, and many of us have jobs that don't produce a tangible item. To be able to make something with your own hands is wonderful, and if you can give it as a gift or teach somebody else the skills then that's pretty special.

I said that, on the 6th of January - oh how easily I ignore my own advice! This needs to be my daily mantra I think, until it becomes automatic.

And as tempted as I am I know I can't join in all the fabulous sewalongs and joining in opportunities that present themselves. I'd love to make a polka dot version of New Look 6000 as part of Winnie's Polka Dot Frock Fest but as I have neither the pattern nor suitable fabric I am going to watch from the sidelines and enjoy other people's creations. The same goes for Debi's Sew Grateful week which I'm really looking forward to reading about.

Prepping wedding samples - this is my number 1 priority, I'll make myself a new blouse when the invitations are finished, a reward to myself :)

So, I've cleared the decks (physically as well as metaphorically, amazing what a tidy workspace does for me). I have a manageable list of projects and I'm focusing on one at a time. The '15 minutes' system of crafting for short time periods totally doesn't work for me - it takes me that long to assemble my thoughts!

A few test patchwork projects (I need to build up to those quilts) all pressed and neatly hanging up until I'm firing on all cylinders and ready to crack on.

Of course, with the lingering effects of the 'flu, clearing the decks has left me with no energy for actually making stuff today! Small steps :)