Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Treasures Received

I didn't think I would have a whole lot to post about this week apart from the cross stitch update tomorrow but thanks to Vicki in Canada I have some wonderful treasures to share.

We were paired up recently in a fabric scrap swap hosted by Quilt Pixie. Now the idea was to have a scrap swap in December but we got a bit excited and put our packages for each other together straightaway and mine arrived today.

We made up a few rules of our own and decided to swap not only fabrics but some other embellishments too. Here are some of the lovely fabrics I received, too many to have them all showing in one picture.
I was also lucky enough to receive some pieces of silk. I've always been a bit scared to work on lovely silk materials so have never purchased any, no excuse now!

Some lovely beads and buttons.

Some yarns.

And finally a delightful notepad, some candy and a few pressies for my kitties.

video

Here is a little video of Hector messing around with his new toys. Sorry you have to hold your head sideways for the start. Photos I can handle videos, lets just say I need more practise!!!.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Birdwatching at Brownsea

I've been a bit quiet this last couple of days as I've been off on a camping trip over the weekend. We stayed down in Dorset as we wanted to visit Brownsea island, autumn is a great time of year to see the red squirrels.I can't believe how messy we managed to make the tent after only a few short hours!
We were fortunate with the weather and had perfect conditions for the short ferry ride to the island from Poole Quay.
We were on the first ferry so plenty of time for us to stroll amongst the woodland on the island squirrel spotting. There were a few round to see but they were very skittish so no chance of me getting a snap on my little camera.
We have been to the island quite a few times before but have never ventured into the Dorset Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve before, I for one thoroughly enjoyed spending a few hours in the purpose built hides watching the birds and other wildlife.
Unfortunately my little camera doesn't zoom enough to get any proper shots, so you'll just have to trust me when I say there was plenty to see.
Hopefully Mark had some better luck with his camera but he hasn't had time to download the pics yet so we'll have to wait and see.

No time for stitching as I was too busy enjoying the sunshine. I think posts from me will be few and far between as we are off on vacation for a week from next weekend and as I'm working all week I think my evenings will be mostly taken with making sure everything gets packed and planned for, but I will try and get in a few before we leave next Saturday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Venus

When I was reviewing what I had on the table to do last week I mentioned a set of cat themed postcards. Unusually for me after making the crazy cat blocks I feel all felined out so decided to skip those for a few days and move on to the next postcard deadline.
Something Beginning with V is the theme. I decided to go with Venus, my initial idea was to try and do something with this image.
But Botticelli's painting is one of my favourites and I really didn't want to make something that would not do it justice so I decide to leave this idea for another time an maybe for a bigger project. Instead I went with an entirely different Venus.
I found this image of the planet (and you know I just couldn't resist those colours!) and got to work with some felt and my needle felting tool. This is my interpretation of the picture.
I couldn't resist adding a little hand stitching to finish these off. I just find hand stitching so relaxing, and working free form like this makes it easy to do while in front of the TV in the evening.

I like how this turned out, maybe there could be some mileage in doing a series of pieces based on the planets. Another idea for the future maybe....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crazy Cats Row Robin

Over the last few evenings in amongst housework, looking after MIL and working on other projects I've also been trying to get my Row for the Row Robin done and am pleased to say that I got it finished last night so let me introduce you to my bunch of crazy kitties.

This is where I probably sound slightly crazy when I say that when I picked up the basic blocks each of the kitties whispered me and told me what they wanted to look like so they came together very easily..

Blue kitty was full of love so he wanted a heart and some hand stitching.

Brown kitty is a bit of a misfit, he's had a tough life and is by no means pretty with his odd sized eyes and scruffy patches.
Green Kitty, loved the patterns in his border fabric so decided he wanted to be dotty, and he loved the idea of having different eyes. Orange kitty, is a bit snooty. He loves his pristine coat and wanted nothing more than a collar and tag.And pink kitty spied some scraps which hadn't yet been clear away on the worktable and knew they were perfect for him. It was difficult trying to get a decent picture of the row joined up, this shot of it pegged on the line was about as good as I could get.

I also made a very basic journal to send round with my quilt, cover made from an old greeting card I had in the draw.
I decorated the pages with plenty more kitties! My row is now all packed and ready to begin it's journey across the pond, I can hardly wait to see what this is going to look like in a few months time when it's ready to come home again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Six

Thanks to generally feeling awful over the weekend (and thanks to everyone who sent their well wishes I am feeling a lot better now) I made some decent progress on this this week.

This is last week
This is now My unofficial goal for the week was to try and extend down the left side all the way to the bottom of the picture which I have done. This gives much more of an idea of the overall size of this piece.

I am going away at the weekend so I know there will be no where near as much progress on this in the coming week, but I will keep plugging away and hopefully there will still be some progress to show next week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Steam

I hate work!
Ok so I know I have to work to be able to afford my house, the car and my art supplies but between work and looking after sick MIL free time during the week seems to get less and less. I have so many things that I want to do and projects that I want to progress sometimes it's just FRUSTRATING!
This is what I have been trying to get to work on the last few weeks but somehow never seem to get too.
The GWE main exhibition is at the beginning of next year just a few short months away and I'm not even started. I think that part of the problem is the thought of working in a sketchbook to try and develop my ideas.
I've never been good at drawing and painting ( a fact that I was constantly reminded of at school) and get frustrated by the fact that I can never seem to translate the ideas that I have in my head onto paper. I think this is why I tend to get stuck straight into the doing rather than concentrating on developing ideas.
I have an idea of what I want to make for the exhibition but in order to get to where I want to be I know I need to thrash out and develop my thoughts in the sketchbook. I'm going to try and shift my thought process slightly and try and think of this as a 'sample' rather than 'sketch' book to see if that helps.

This book arrived from Amazon today. I'm hoping that it will help me on the way to realising the piece that I want to make for the exhibition. I have several good doll/figure making books now. I've only had a chance to glance through this one so far and while I don't think there are any particularly new techniques it's a lovely book with some great colourful photos to inspire. I'm going camping at the weekend, this will come with me so that I can read and digest properly!

Sorry I know this is turning into a bit of a rambling post but before I sign off for the day for any blog reading addicts out there I just want to mention a new blog on the block. I recently 'met' Vicki as we are partners in a swap being organised by Quilt Pixie, thanks for hooking us up Pixie! Anyhow please drop by and visit Felines and Fibre Arts from time to time, I'm sure Vicki (and her gorgeous moon faced kitties!) would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

And now for something completely different...

... anyone that knows me, knows that I am a totally incompetent when it comes to cooking. DH does most of the cooking in our house, unless it's beans on toast. Well recently for some reason I have had the urge to venture into the kitchen and yesterday I made my first ever apple pie.
Ok so it's not exactly pretty but it tasted delicious, nothing beats home baked, maybe this could be the start of a whole new life in the kitchen for me?

The drugs kept me lucid enough to venture away from the cross stitch and start on the embellishment of my row robin blocks too. I didn't get too far along the line but at least a start has been made.
Also I drew the winner of the postcard giveaway. Well done ROBIN C, thanks for leaving a comment, please could you email me with your snail mail so I can get the card in the post. Thanks to everyone who took part, and in general I just want to say a huge thank you to every one who takes the time to leave comments here. I do love to blog and it's nice to know that I'm not on this adventure alone!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Feeling Grotty

Not a huge amount of stitching going on here at the moment. I've got the beginnings of a cold and my back is playing up. Yesterday I had planned on making a start on embellishing my row robin blocks but I just couldn't think straight.
Typically we actually have some sun this weekend for the first time all summer and I'd love to be out and about but I just don't have the energy. The only thing I managed to do yesterday was get in a few hours of work in front of the TV on Siberian Gold but even that was slow going as I couldn't really concentrate on the counting.
Today I've dosed myself up but am not really feeling any better. The main thing on the menu today is to try and tidy up this mess.
If I'm still standing after that who knows maybe some sewing will get done....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Janet's Cat

With the healing hearts done, it's time to move on to the next UFO.

This is the Kitty that I started in the Janet Bolton workshop that I took a while ago. I came away from the workshop feeling a little disappointed. I'm a huge admirer of Janet's work but I just couldn't seem to get to grips with the small pieces that she is so skilled at using so my kitty is quite big.

Even though he is not quite in the same league as Janet's work I fell in love with him again when I spotted him in the UFO pile, I wonder what he will look like when he's done?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Row Robin - The Beginning

I didn't have much time for much stitching yesterday evening but to prove that I wasn't totally idle I did starting piecing my blocks for the Row Robin that I have signed up for. There is still a way to go as I have borders and embellishments to add before I join my blocks to make the row but hey it's a start.
I've chosen a really simple quick to piece block pattern and hope that the other ladies will use the time they save on the piecing to have a bit of fun and embellish these kitties to death.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Healing hearts - finished

You might remember this pile of hearts from a few posts ago... Well they were on my to do list list week and I'm pleased to say that my comfort cushion is made. My plans for these changed a few times before I settled on the final idea. I had originally intended to make a larger cushion and make a few extra heart blocks myself.

The original blocks were all different sizes and when I had a measure the large red heart with the blue background was 7.5 inches I really loved that block and didn't want to cut it down any so I decided to make a really scrappy cushion by adding fabrics to the smaller blocks. I already had 8 blocks and thought that 14" would be a great size for the cushion so no extra blocks required.

I know the mish mash of bright random colours might not be to everyone's taste but I love it, and the love that it represents.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Five

Time for an update on the cross stitch. Although I've been really busy during the last week, I still managed to make a bit of progress on this which is really an unexpected bonus.

This is last week And now Sorry the picture is a bit wonky I was a bit rushed and didn't really take the time I should have when taking the photo.

As I've been working on this for a month now I thought it might be fun just to remind myself of where this started and how far it's come. So here is the starting point and the now lined up together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WIPS list

I just want to thank everyone who has left comments on the giveaway post so far. I haven't had the chance to email everyone individually (for some reason although I can access the Internet my email and bloglines are both playing up and I can't get on all the time). Anyway you are all in the draw :)

The only thing I have stitching wise to share today is my work in progress/to do list. On the work table this week are
  • 20-30 mins a day on Siberian Gold
  • Make progress on the hearts cushion
  • Start cutting fabric for my row robin blocks
  • Start set of postcards - theme cats :)
  • Do some work in Steam sketchbook
  • Continue Hang in there cross stitch UFO
Phew! I think that is more than enough to be getting on with. And just because I don't like posting without a picture here is a shot of Hector with his 'are you really pointing that thing at me again' face!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Giveaway

So 61 posts ago I thought maybe I'd have a little giveaway to celebrate my 400th post. Well the 500th is creeping up so I thought I should get in quick before the next milestone rolls around.
Here is a postcard that I started yesterday and finished off this evening. I had such a rubbish day at work I needed to come home and hit the sewing machine straight away for a bit of therapy!
Anyhow if you are interested in going into the draw just leave a comment. I'll leave it open until Sunday and will then pick a winner at random! The colours are a lot more vibrant in 'real life' but the light is gone here this evening so no chance of getting a decent photo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Great Western Embroiderers at Steam

I haven't posted in a few days which is unusual for me lately, no particular reason other than I've been here there and everywhere and haven't had much time to get to the computer.
Today I spent a wonderful few hours helping out on the GWE stand at the Steam Museum's railway festival which took place this weekend. We had a mini exhibition of our CD case samplers as a forerunner for our main exhibition which will be held at Steam at the beginning of next year.
Here are our rails with all the CD cases hanging from them, a great display idea thought up by Maggie! It was difficult to get a great picture as there was lots going on in the background but you get an idea.
Here is a closer look at my white on white piece hanging amongst the others. This is the first time any of my work has gone on display anywhere so pretty exciting for me.
I can't speak for the Saturday showing but I know we had a great response at the show today. We were lucky enough to have a table in a great spot with plenty of passers by and there was lots of interest in our work. We had some people asking if the pieces were for sale and others who wanted to know if we had any kits available.
I had a blast and am really looking forward to getting stuck into making my piece for the main exhibition, I have the seeds of an idea but there will be plenty of work ahead to try and achieve it so I'll need to put in plenty of thought and effort in the coming weeks. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

UFO SAL

The further into Mum's cross stitch projects I get the more help and encouragement I'm going to need I think. So I decided to join a couple of yahoo cross stitching groups and so far the ladies and gents have been great!

One of the groups is having a month long 'complete your UFOS' stitch along. Of course my main UFO at the moment is Siberian Gold but this week I came across a small project that I started a while ago.

When I was having a lot of family problems a lovely lady in the US sent me a gorgeous little kitty kit' Hang in There' Well I got some way into the project and at the time, having not done any cross stitch for a while, I realised that I'd made a totally rookie mistake and started stitching on the fabric the wrong way round.

This is how far I'd gotten and I really couldn't face unpicking it all or starting again.

Anyway having come across the project again this week I had a count up and figured that actually the design will still fit on the fabric even on this wrong orientation. This is going to become my 'mobile' project this week. I like to have some stitching in my bag so that if I'm stuck waiting for dh to leave work at the end of day or if I manage to fit in a lunch break at work then I have a little something to keep my hands from being idle.

I'm not sure that it will get done by the end of next week, but I'm sure that I can get this done by the end of the month when the SAL finishes.

It's been a while ....

.... since I did any proper patchwork.

I don't know if I ever shared the story of how my fabric obsession started? Well Once Upon a Time I used to make a lot of cards, while I was at a few craft shows buying bits and pieces some cat print fabric caught my eye and on a whim I bought it. I had no clue what to do with this fabric but slowly I started a little collection. Then I saw a Beginners Patchwork and Quilting Class advertised at my local college so I thought it was high time I actually put the fabric to use and went along to the class. The rest they say is history.

Quickly I managed to amass quite a stash of various fabrics and made a couple of quilts, then I found out about fabric postcards and it is through this media that I started experimenting more with embroidery and other forms of fabric art. And the stash expanded to include fabrics other than cotton, beads, buttons and threads.

Well now my little house is bursting at the seams with stuff and over the last few months I've come to the realisation that I need to use rather than buy more :) Changes in family circumstances and recent illness have helped me to the realisation that I don't need/want all this stuff hanging around. So I need to do some stash busting.
So I'm taking my first small steps on this journey and have joined a block lottery on one of the yahoo groups that I belong to. (Yes I realise this could backfire as if I win the lottery I'll end up with more stuff, lol, but at least it will be something that I can turn into a gift quilt!)

(oops this block is showing the wrong way round but I'm feeling too lazy to flip it round and reload the picture, but you get the idea).

It took me ages to make just these two blocks (I'm definitely out of practise) and they are by no means perfect but I enjoyed the process and hopefully I'll get quicker. I just signed up for a Row Robin and am hoping that not only will my piecing get quicker but it will also help me take some more steps towards reducing my fabric.

Currently I have 4 totes full of quilting cottons (this doesn't include my cat print collection which I am not concerned about reducing, grin) my target is to try and whittle this down to two, maybe even one in the long run but that will be a long way in the future I think!

I also have a couple of patchwork/quilty projects in the UFO bin which I have been so far ignoring so I'm hoping that this block practise will help me build up the confidence and enthusiasm to get them finished up, we'll see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Four

It's that time of the week again, hasn't this last week flown by! Speaking of time flying I saw some Christmas stuff in the supermarket today so I guess the frenzy will start picking up speed soon.

So here is where we were as of last week.
And this is now.


I'm really pleased with this weeks progress especially as I have also been working on plenty of other things too (let's just say something has had to give and the house is a mess, but stitching is so much more fun!).

To give you an idea of the size of this thing, and how long it's going to be with me, this current picture represents being about a quarter of the way through the design.

I have a super busy weekend coming up and I'm hardly going to be at home so I don't expect too much progress to be made on this during the coming week but who knows, maybe to get in my stitching time I'll just forgo sleeping!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Healing Hearts

As the GWE samplers were such a quick turn around already it's time to pick another of my ufos from the box.

I thought I'd work on another cushion in the hopes that this will be a reasonably quick turn around project too. I have a couple of big projects in that UFO box but I'm trying to ignore them for the time being ;) After my Mum passed away two years ago some lovely ladies on one of the yahoo groups that I belonged to at the time sent me some healing heart blocks. I have been wanting to make these into a comfort cushion for a while but need to make a few more hearts of my own as I want to make it double sided. Somehow I just never found the time to make them. Now I'm going to make time!

I'm having fun with these UFO's and it really feels good to see the pile shrinking. There are plenty more to be done though so no time for slacking!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Goddess Postcards

After an hour or so at the machine last night my goddesses are finished. I really love how these cards came out. After doing so much cross stitch recently and with the regimented stitching that involves it has been really refreshing to put something together a little more organically.
I have 4 swap partners in this one so thought I would loosely go with an elements theme, though not keen to come up with something for Air I decided to wuss out and choose forest instead.
I decided to go with the scrap boxes again, and thought I'd use some of the smallest pieces I could find to do a bit of weaving.
Having never done any before I have no idea what the proper methods for weaving are, but I was constructing these backgrounds mainly whilst sat in the car waiting for dh to come out of work (we share a lift to work and I finish a bit earlier than he does so always have a slight wait sat in the car) a lot of pinning was involved in my method so the strips didn't come apart on my lap on in the moving car, lol!
After my strips were weaved together I machine stitched a random wavy pattern over them to secure them down. I wasn't too precious about this and it ended up that some of the interfacing was showing through in places where the stripes moved or weren't ripped straight but I decided to leave this as it was as theme of the cards lend themselves to a bit of imperfection! Then it was time to add my goddesses and get the needle and thread out.I had lots of fun stitching some text, I've never tried this before and I was really impressed at how well the words came out, this is definitely something I will play with more in the future.

Goddess of the Forest


Water Goddess

Earth Goddess

Fire Goddess