Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A day of firsts

So far today has been a day of sewing firsts for me.

I've made my first heart block for someone in one of the groups I belong to, won't say who as it might spoil the surprise.

I made the heart from my hand dyed fabric so this is the first time that I've that in a project.

It is also my first attempt at using my machine for applique. I am not very confident using a sewing machine for anything other than basic piecing or straight line quilting. I think it went ok, definately need some more practise, but hopefully she'll like it anyway!

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Weekend

Well I had a nice weekend back home with my family. My nephew Tyler kept me entertained (or should that be just plain worn out!).

This is a picture I took of him while we were visiting my gran, I asked him to give me a big smile and this was all he could manage! I thought he would have looked a bit more excited as he can't wait for his birthday next week. He keeps telling everyone that he will be 7 when it's his 5th birthday next week, I think maybe he needs to work a bit harder on his maths at school! That is my Auntie Janet in the background.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Elemental Swap - Air

Yeah I've finally finished all of my blocks for the elemental swap that I'm doing.

Air was the most difficult set to come up with an idea for. In the end I pieced strips of white on white fabrics together and trapped some pieces of organza ribbons into the layers and twisted them up to look like breeze flowing across the block.

Angelcat's Guardian of the Treasure?

I just had to share this cute photo! Hector curled up and squashed on top of my jewellery box. Never ceases to amaze me how even the largest of cats manage to squeeze onto the smallest uncomfortable looking spaces and fall asleep :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kansas Dugout blocks

Today I made two identical blocks for the January lottery on one of the yahoo groups I belong to.

These are 12 inch blocks, the pattern can be found at http://www.quilterscache.com/J_L/KansasDugoutBlock.html

I had never made this block before so it was nice to try something new and of course using one of my favourite colours of the moment pink was a bonus :) They took me longer than I thought but I'm pleased with the way they turned out. I'm sure whoever wins will be able to make a lovely quilt.

Random Act of Kindness

I had a couple of lovely surprises in the mail this morning. Both from the FGM group. Listmom Linda Poole sent me a pretty pink heart and a lovely fairy card. I also had a pair of socks from Bumble Bea, these are wonderful they almost feel as though they have gel in the bottom they are so soft and comfortable to walk in.

Receiving these gifts was a wonderful start to the day.

Elemental Swap - Water

Here's what I've been working on for the last couple of days. The 'water' blocks for the elemental swap that I'm doing.

I thought it would be fun to use crazy patchwork and chose several different fabrics. I've not had much practice with different embroidery stitches so I decided to cheat. I've used different trims to embellish the borders between the fabrics. In the end it took me longer to put these on than it did to make the blocks!

Just the Air theme set to go, I'm still stuck for ideas on that, hopefully something will come to me overnight as I really could do with making a start on them tomorrow. I need to get all the blocks posted out by the end of next week if they are to make it over the pond in time for the swap deadline.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Block Swaps

I have been working on a few swaps over the last few weeks since christmas and I am almost up to date here are the results.

I made three sets of Kitty blocks for a swap and have had so much fun making these critters. The fairy cat and kitten in mitten both are patterns from books. I designed the more abstract hexagon kitty myself. I really love english paper piecing, this was the first technique I learnt. So the hexagon kitty gave me a chance to work with some small pieces as the blocks are 6.5".

My favourite is definately the fairy cat, which I adapted from a tree ornament pattern I found in a magazine.

I am also working on a four elements swap and so far have made my blocks for earth and fire. The earth blocks are appliqued with button hole stitch and the fire blocks are made using the cathedral window block. Cathedral windows is my favourite patchwork design. It's very time consuming but I love the effects that you can get with it so it's definately worth it.

I still have water and air to go. I'm using crazy patchwork for my water blocks, they are nearly done so a picture will come soon. I still haven't decided what to do for my air blocks yet. I'd better get a move on as the blocks are due soon. Any suggestions gratefully recieved!!

Finally I also participated in a Valentines swap. If you haven't already guessed from the blog pink is one of my favourite colours at the moment so I couldn't resist this swap!.

I've adapted a design from Kumiko Sudo's folded flowers book (which I would highly recommend to anyone who likes folded patchwork!) to make a valentine rose. The sampler block is the forest paths pattern which I love, this one give me the chance to practise some points on machine piecing. I need lots more practice still can't get them all accurate, sigh.

My first attempt at Dyeing

Well I've been wanting to try out dyeing my own fabrics for a while but didn't really know how to go about it. I found an article in a magazine about microwave dyeing bought some supplies and the promptly lost the article!

But thanks to Leafy's instruction posted to the FGM group, I had an attempt at microwave dyeing today and this is the result. I'm really pleased as I think it's turned out well. Can't wait to get some more dyes and experiment with different colour combinations. Thanks Leafy you may have unleashed a fabric dyeing monster :)

Fairie Goddess Mothers

Well I mentioned in my January goddess post what a wonderful group of people the FGMs are.

Here is an example of their kindness and support, some of the wonderful cards, heart blocks and an RAOK (Random Act of Kindness) that I have received from them from all over the world after they heard of the death of my Mum at the end of last year. I truly am lucky to have met such a wonderful group of people.

January Goddess

I belong to a yahoo group called Fairie Goddess Mothers. Here I have met a wonderful group of people who are always there ready to give advice and support on just about anything, sometimes even quilting :)

We currently have a monthly challenge to make a goddess block using a pattern designed by our Listmom Linda Poole. January's theme was blue and white.

We were given a few facts about January and the one that leapt out at me was about it being the wolf moon. I decided to use this as my theme. I painted some howling wolves on full moons and needle turn appliqued them to the background block. This was my first attempt at fabric painting and it was fun. Although I'm not very good at drawing and painting I'll definately have a go at doing this again.

For the fairy goddess body I used the same fabric as the moons to symbolise that this goddess is of the moon. I used a light blue fabric with gold stars to make the wings, I also used this to make the heart to show that this was part of the goddess herself. I fused the goddess to the block and used button hole stitch to hold her down. I want to turn these blocks into one wall hanging so I've only made her 8"

It took me a while to get round to making this and I finished it over two days as I had to wait for the paint to dry but it was so much fun can't wait to see what next month's challenge will be.

My Fur Family

Well here is an introduction to my fur family. We have four cats altogether. First off are the white brothers Hector and Hugo. They were adopted from a rescue centre about four years ago.

They were found abandoned at the bottom of a garden as kittens, as a result of not having much human contact the first few weeks of their lives they are semi-feral. We have worked hard to gain their trust but Hugo (sitting in the floor) will only be petted on his own terms and definately will not let you pick him up! Hector is more affectionate he likes lots of fuss but will not sit on a lap, though he's happy to cuddle up beside you and loves having his tummy rubbed.

Oscar is next, he has been with us for two years. He used to have a tortoiseshell companion, Jasmine but after we had them for about six months Jasmine went missing. It was a very sad time for us as she was a very affectionate cat and we never found out what happened to her. Hopefully she was taken in by someone else and is happy out there somewhere.

Oscar is a semi long haired fluff ball. I think he must have some ragdoll in him as he goes all floppy when you pick him up and loves to be cradled like a baby, he is the only one of our cats who really loves to be outdoors.

Our baby is Pip he is only a year old. Here he is alseep on the sofa with my partner Mark! Pip had a rough start having been abandoned when he was only a few days old he got frost bite. He only has half a tail and on his right front foot has no toes or claws. The claws he has on the rest of his paws are mostly deformed though they don't give him any pain he finds climbing difficult. As he was hand raised he is very affectionate and loves nothing better than to clamber on anyone who sits down. He also loves to be carried round on your shoulders like a parrot, a trick he learned from the lady who hand reared him!

Monday, January 16, 2006

I've done it

Well I've finally joined the ranks and have made my very own blog!

It's all a bit daunting really as I don't have a clue what I'm doing but will hopefully learn as I go along.

I have had a sad start to 2006 after losing my Mum to cancer, she was a wonderful person and a great Mum. I guess after such a bad start the only way is up and I hope to use this blog to record some of my adventures this year!