Thursday, January 31, 2008

January Bag

Thanks to a couple of hours off work this afternoon for good behaviour (otherwise known as time of in lieu) I have managed to get my January bag finished just in time. I'm sure I've probably mentioned the challenge before but just in case the BQL yahoo group is running a monthly bag making challenge. Each month our generous Listmom, Kandy, will be creating a pattern for us to make. This one was a joy to make, so quick and lovely clear instructions made it easy. I will be gifting this bag to my Nan who gave me the charms that I used to piece the main fabric.

I had hoped to have this done yesterday but I managed to slice my finger on a tin while clearing up after dinner at MIL's last evening, not a big cut but deep. No chance of any stitching yesterday as I kept bleeding everywhere.... It's still pretty painful and right on my finger pad so I'm reduce to one finger typing :)

I now have the rest of the evening to try and get my TIF doll finished before the next theme is announced. I'm off to my Dad's for the weekend so I probably won't be posting the results until Monday, unless a miracle occurs and I'm done early enough today to squeeze in another post this evening.

Monday, January 28, 2008

TIF progress

This week I think I have been the queen of procrastination. So ok I had a busy week with a couple of late ones at work and a couple of days out but really I could have squeezed in a few more stitching hours if I'd really gotten my finger (or should I say needle?) out.

I only had two things on my to do list last week.
  • Progress on TIF challenge
  • Finish BQL January

Still I only managed one, which was to work on my TIF doll. I know this sounds odd but I think the fact that I only had 2 things on the list really didn't give me enough incentive to push and get things done. So I have decided from now on to have more things in the list than I think I can achieve that way I may just push myself into doing more than I had hoped. Does that make any sort of sense?

Anyway here is the progress I made on my TIF doll. Here is my doll form stuffed and stitched together. I'm not sure if I mentioned before that I am using a doll pattern from this book by Patti Culea. Apart from a couple of pin dolls I've not really attempted dolls before so I've started with the basic pattern. I'm not too happy with the way the arms are attached but it's ok for my first attempt.

You might remember that my initial inspiration was to use the colour palette to make a peacock inspired doll. I know that peacocks are more in the blue range than purple but they were the first thing I thought of when I saw the colours and I just couldn't shake the idea out of my head.

I'm bringing the greens in on her outfit. Sorry about the pictures I had to take them with flash so they don't really pick the colours out exactly. The top at the moment is just pinned and the skirt is not very well arranged in this pic, I just grabbed the poor thing and took a quick photo to share today. I still have a little way to go with her but hopefully she will get done.

January is drawing to a close so in typical 'me' fashion I will be trying to finish everything last minute as I now only have a couple of days to get my doll and my bag done. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

My To do list for this coming week....
  • Finish TIF January Challenge
  • Finish BQL bag
  • Start shaker postcards
  • Start Something Beginning with J postcards
  • Add another Kitty to the neglected cross stitch UFO.

Well that lot should keep me more than busy.

Just to finish here is a picture that I took on my walk yesterday. I've been pretty good and have managed to stick to my walk a day routine with the exception of a couple of days when I was ill, but as a lot of the walking is in the evening in the dark I haven't been able to post a picture everyday. Yesterday was almost spring like and there was even some blue sky to enjoy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My day at the Pictures

We made it through our movie marathon yesterday. I love the movies. By far the best film of the day was Sweeney Todd. Brilliantly filmed, the script and songs were amazing. Johnny Depp superb performance as usual. I'm not one to go all gooey over stars but Johnny Depp is my exception, probably the most beautiful man ever to walk the planet.

My JD obsession fed we also saw In the Valley of Elah and Alien Vs Predator so quite a mixed bag as far as styles and stories go but liked things about all of them so it was a great day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Day in Pictures

DH and I both had the day off work yesterday, a long weekend pure bliss! We managed to pack loads in. First a trip to Bristol for some retail therapy. I picked up a few metres of scrim from the market and some new headphones to match the Ipod that dh bought me on my birthday last year, pretty funky huh?
Then off to the zoo, I know a lot of people are against the whole principle of keeping wild animals caged up but I think zoos in this country at least are now making huge efforts to make interesting and spacious enclosures and are doing a lot of work around conservation and breeding programmes. We've been to the zoo quite a few time and this visit was the most active I've seen the pygmy hippos, they were both swimming around in their pools and seemed very curious about their audience.
Oh no not another picture, purrlease!
Hmm of course I had to take advantage of the fact that it was a quite day and found time for a spot of silly buggers.

The evening was spent at the Bristol Academy watching a great show by the band Alter Bridge.
This is the first time I've ever taken my camera to a gig and the pictures are pretty grainy and shaking but atmospheric I think.

Unusually the gig started and finished early so we were home by 10:30, just enough time for me to start adding some shape to my TIF doll before falling into bed tired but happy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Take It Further Progress

I don't know about everyone else but since Sharon posted the January Take it Further details I have started to see green and purple everywhere.I spotted this bench on a walk in the rain through the park on Sunday and instantly thought TIF.

I have finally started to make some progress on my piece this weekend. I will be the first to admit that I haven't gotten as far as I would like but at least I have finally started stitching something.

Apologies. The colours aren't great in this picture but as I took it this evening I had to use a flash which always seems to distort 'real' colours.

I knew that I had a busy week last week, but after 2 late nights at work, a trip to the movies, my Saturday workshop and walking in the rain yesterday I didn't realise just how little stitching time I would have last week. Even though I didn't set an overly ambitious to do list I still didn't get as far as I would have liked.
  • Finish Orange Postcards - Yipee managed to do this one
  • Finish BQL January Bag - Oops total failure I didn't even manage to pick this one up
  • Make a start on TIF doll - Start made but no where the sort of start I had hoped for
  • Add another kitty to the cross stitch - Another tick in the check column.

So I just realised that with my busy week I have totally forgotten to share the cross stitch progress. Here is the overall shot, so I admit again I probably spent a little more time on this than I wanted to but it's so easy to pick up in the evenings. Not only did I add the extra kitty but also a couple of hearts here and there.

Here is a close up of the new kitty, sorry about the bad pic got a lot of glare from the flash. I'm so glad that I am asking DH to choose each new edition. I really didn't want to stitch this one as basically it's just a mirror image of one of the first kitties to be complete. Part of the fun of doing these is watching each one emerge and I had already seen this one done, anyway having DH choose has made me get on with it and now it's over and done and I can move on to the next.

Even though I am not managing to achieve everything on my To Do list each week it is really helping me to concentrate on the things that I want to work on so I will continue to work this way for a while. I have another busy week this week including a 17 hour day at work tomorrow, ick! So I am going to restrict my list to 2 things this week.

  • Finish BQL January Bag
  • Make good progress on my TIF doll

Tune in same time next week to see if I finally manage to complete a weekly to do list, lol!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

This could only happen to me

Let me ask you a question dear reader, Have you ever found yourself in your local quilt shop stood in your knickers? Hmm thought not, well this is what happened to me yesterday. Now I know what you are thinking but no I wasn't arrested and stripped searched for trying to smuggle out a few yards of that new scrummy batik that they had. On my way to the shop to take a workshop (more about that later) I was walking innocently along in the rain when a bus went speeding past and managed to drench me in a conveniently located puddle. When I arrived at the shop Jan, the owner, suggested that I should have a go at ironing my trousers dry rather than sit in damp misery all day, so there I was a little before 10am stood in their kitchen in my knickers frantically trying to desaturated my clothes! Ok so I searched around on the web to locate a picture that might represent me at the ironing board but nothing so I thought we'd have a bit of gratuitous fun instead.

Anyway back to the real reason for this post. Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking the most enjoyable workshop I've ever had with the wonderful Janet Bolton. I expect many of you will already be familiar with her amazing work but her website is here. Sadly there aren't many pictures of her lovely work though.

Janet is the most interesting and generous person. I think the thing that I will keep with me forever was her simple urging for us all to make what we like and never to think that what you are making is wrong because it might not match up to someone elses ideal. As long as we make what pleases us it is right.

I had such a fun and absorbing day that I totally forgot to take any pictures, so all I have to share I'm sad to say is my work in progress. Janet does the most amazing work using both vintage and new fabrics, but usually in muted and rustic tones, I just don't really have any fabrics like that so I had to work with what I had and stuck to my usual bright tones. I also could not get the hang of trying to needle turn the tiny shapes that Janet uses so I went with a large design in the end. I'm slightly disappointed with myself that I couldn't get to grips with this as everyone else in the class seemed to manage ok but practise makes perfect so I will keep trying and having the opportunity to hear Janet talk about her life and work made the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Orange Overload

Well I can knock one thing off my to do list for this week.....To finish my orange postcards. I have made 6 altogether to complete this swap. The first 6 I completed are back here. For this second lot I decided rather than do a batch I would make them all individual.
I wanted a 'something to do in front of the TV project' so apart from the edging they are all hand stitched.

Stitch Sampler

Three Leaves
Buttons and Beads
Lonely Leaf
Lace Garden
Crazy Orange Daisies

Are you seeing Orange. I am and I love it, I could work with orange until the cows come home :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend Wonders

Apologies in advance if this turns into a bit of a long post about not alot. I've not been able to get to my computer for a few days so have a few blog things to catch up on. First off the lovely Maggie has nominated me for this award.

What a lovely surprise this was, after a stressful Monday back at work this really did make my day! I now have to nominate some people to award this too, I know that I've seen this logo on many of the blogs I read already so I will try not to pick people who have already been awarded, but it may take me a few days before I pay it forward.

I've had a busy weekend out enjoying myself, on Friday I went to see my favourite tribute band, Livewire, they play tonnes of wonderful AC/DC covers. I don't know if I've mentioned before that I'm a rock chick, well I guess I'm 'out' now.

Saturday I spent cleaning the house (yawn), got in my daily walk and snapped a picture of this cutie.I also made some progress on the remaining 'orange' postcards that were on my to do list for last week, more on that later....

Sunday was spent walking on the tow path of the canal near Limpley Stoke, here are a couple of pictures I took of the viaduct which runs nearby.
Also went to the movies to see the new Tom Hanks film, Charlie Wilson's War. I'm not really a huge fan of political films or of Tom Hanks, but it was a really enjoyable movie and well acted.

Last Week's To Do List

Ok so it's time to 'fess up and see if I managed to complete last weeks to do list

  • Pick some fabrics and threads for the TIF challenge - Ok so I manged half of this the fabrics are picked and here is the proof.

  • Settle on final idea for JTIF and plan it out - Ok I need a rap on the knuckles for this one as this I totally failed at.
  • Make 6 more postcards to complete the orange swap - I have the fronts of 5 done, so 1 more to go and then they all need machine stitched edges.
  • Make 3 postcards for the something beginning with I swap - yeah at last something I managed to finish!
  • Make a start on my January BQL bag - This I managed to do too.

So I guess over all consider I work full time and now have to cook an evening meal for MIL every day I didn't do too badly on my list. BUT lesson has been learned and I think I will have to be a bit more realistic in future and not set myself such a long list. Actually having a list has helped me a lot and kept me focused on things so I will continue working this way for a while.

This weeks To Do List

Ok so on to my list for this week.

  • Finish my 'orange' postcards
  • Finish my BQL bag
  • Make a start on my doll form for the TIF challenge
  • Add one more kitty to the cross stitch UFO

I have quite a busy week ahead, but I do have 2 evenings off from dinner duty so hopefully I will have a bit more me time, let's hope I haven't set myself too much again. I guess we will find out this time next week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Something about not alot

I don't have much to share today. I have made some progress on cutting some pattern templates for the doll that I am going to attempt to make for the TIF challenge but no sewing as of yet. I'm also stitching my way through another kitty on the cross stitch, yes I know that cross stitch is not on my to do list this week but it is so easy to pick it up for some easy stitching in front of the TV.

The only picture that I have to share is from my daily walk. Another night walk again today but I thought I should at least keep practising my 'in the dark' photography, even though the picture isn't particularly interesting I think I did manage to capture some of the atmosphere of this wet and rainy evening.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Inksplats

I managed to get the hand stitching finished on my other two Ink splat cards last night and machine stitched the edges this evening. I enjoyed messing around with cross stitch a lot yesterday afternoon so I carried on the theme on this card. By chance I had already machine stitched the swirls but this has turned out to be a 'Noughts and Crosses' card of sorts.
This second card is more abstract. I noticed that there was a big comet like swirl in the centre of the TimTex where the dye hadn't taken so well so I filled this with lots of machine stitching and then echoed the shape round the edge with a basic running stitch. I'm pleased with the way all three of these turned out and it was nice to make them all unique rather than do a set of all the same designs which I often do.
My walk of the day has also been this evening and in the dark so no picture to share from today. Instead I thought I'd stick on another taken of a church door on my meander around Cricklade yesterday.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Inksplats and more

I can't quite believe how quickly today had flown by. Isn't that always the way a day at work seems to last a week and a day at home just a minute. Never mind I managed to get a fair bit done which is great.

This morning I started work on those Ink splat cards. I've done the machine stitching on all three but I have some hand stitching that I want to add to each one so I've only managed to get one complete so far. I think the others will be done later tonight after a couple of hours stitching in front of the TV. Here is the one that is finished.
And a close up of some of the seed stitch. I found a beautiful variegated anchor thread that I had forgotten I had which stitched up beautifully.
I was so enamoured with this thread that I decided to take it to the GWE meeting this afternoon. We had lots of fun playing around with the simple cross stitch, a couple of hours of stitching and chatting later and I'm left with this small sample.
With a bit more stitching I can definitely see this one being turned into a postcard. It was a lot of fun experimenting with different sizes and regular and irregular stitches.
I decided to make the most of my trip to Cricklade for the meeting and arrived early so that I could take a walk through the high street. It's such a pretty town and there is lots of history to enjoy. Here is my picture of the day. I'm not a particularly religious person but there was something very forlorn about this broken cross grave maker in the churchyard.

Good progress

Here we are it's only Tuesday and I've made good progress on my list for this week already. I've raided my stash for some fabrics for the TIF challenge, sorry no picture yet, we're having lots of grey days here at the moment not good for photography, but hopefully I'll have one to share soon.
I've also made a good start on my bag challenge. This months bag is a great fabric bag for using when out shopping. When I saw the bag it immediately bought my gran to mind as she lives near her town centre and walks in everyday to get her shopping, so I thought this bag might be a perfect gift to give her. She works in a charity shop and not long after I started quilting she bought home a lovely charm pack that had been given to her shop so I figured this would be the perfect time to actually use it. Yesterday evening I got busy stitching these squares together to form the base fabric for my bag. I haven't really done any patchwork in a while and had forgotten how satisfying it can be just chain stitching squares together.
I've also been making some backgrounds for my something beginning with I postcards. I decided I is for ink splats. I used some Dye-Na-Flow colours blobbed directly onto TimTex and plan to add some stitching to complete the design. Here are the backgrounds as they are at the moment. It will be fun to see how they turn out. I have the day off work today as I will be going to the GWE meeting this afternoon so plan to hit the sewing machine this morning, hopefully I'll get these postcards done and ready to mail.

I have also gotten back to my daily walk the last few days, I'm really enjoying getting some fresh air each day. I don't have any pictures to share though as I've been going out after dark and there are limited things that I can capture with my little compact at night.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Back to my self challenges

Yesterday evening I had enough energy to make it round the block for my walk a day self challenge. Sadly the challenge had fallen by the wayside this last week due to this nasty virus but there was not a thing I could do about that. My little compact camera isn't great for taking night time photos so this is my best offering, I'm afraid. DH is out as we speak with his camera, I was tempted to join him for a walk in the daylight but he will go miles and I'm not quite over the virus so I didn't want to tag along and then hold him back so I'll probably settle for another trot round the block this evening.

My creative offering for yesterday are these sketches. I had hoped to make some postcards but somehow I just couldn't get motivated to sit at my sewing machine so out came pencil and paper instead. I haven't done any drawing for a while so my sketching skills aren't up to much.
This is my littlest cat Pip curled up asleep on a cushion.

I had just started this one of Hugo who was dozing on the back of the sofa when he decided to wake up and shift positions and never did go back to this pose. I guess I'll have to learn to sketch more quickly! (By the way these are done in a notebook which has two tone paper hence the distracting lines in the middle of each drawing).

After sitting around for most of the day doing not a lot yesterday I've decided I need something which will help me stop procrastinating. I'm going to try a simple list to see if that helps. So there are my goals for the week (I'll set my self some new ones next Sunday).

  • Pick some fabrics, threads etc to use in the January Take it Further Challenge.
  • Settle on a final idea for my JTIF piece and plan it out.
  • Make 6 more orange postcards to complete my commitment in the favourite colour swap.
  • Make 3 postcards for the Something Beginning with I swap
  • Make a start on my January Bag for the BQL 2008 bag challenge.

There that should be plenty to keep me going for a week, I'd best get started ......

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More cross stitch progress

I'm happy again, I feel like I'm finally getting the better of this dang virus, I even stepped outside the house today for the first time in a week, sadly it was just to do some grocery shopping but hey it's a start.

One sure fire way of knowing that my mojo is nearly back is that I picked up a needle again yesterday. I worked some more on my cross stitch. I had really wanted to give the cross stitching a break for a while and move on to some other things but I figured that following a pattern would be less taxing on my virus addled brain. I really can't believe how quickly I'm progressing with this, to think a couple of weeks ago I start out with this
And as of yesterday evening I have this.It really is coming on faster than I could have dared hope, there's still a long way to go before it's done though. Here is a close up of the cutie that emerged yesterday. I had to unpick a fair bit before I finally got him done but that was just down to me not being able to focus on the pattern as my head was still muzzy.I had a whole list of creative things that I wanted to get done today but the grocery shopping just about wiped me out so I guess I still need to try and pace myself for a few days until all these germs are totally gone.

Take It Further Musings

I have been thinking a bit more about the Take It further challenge today mainly due to some super fast service from Ebay. Yesterday I ordered some peacock feathers here. Today they arrived through the letter box! Hows that for service? Definitely the fastest I've ever had from an ebay seller. The green colours to me definitely match this months colour palette, it's the blues that will need more thinking about as palette has purples rather than blues.
I'm starting to think maybe an art doll with a peacock inspired theme, I've only ever made a couple of small fabric dolls before so this would be a real challenge for me. I'll have to think on this some more as it might be too much to take on given the month time scale, especially as I still have other swap commitments to catch up on that I'm still lagging behind on from 2007.

I think a watch this space is the order of the day ......

Friday, January 04, 2008

While I was Sleeping ...

I just want to thank everyone for their well wishes after my last post, I think all that healthy energy must be working as I'm feeling a lot better today, not back to my normal self but hey I've been out of bed for more than a couple of hours so that has got to be good right?

Well while I have been couped up in bed these last couple of days Sharon B has announced the first theme in her Take It Further Challenge, you can find all the details here.

I haven't had a lot of time to think about it yet but I think I will be going with the colour theme rather than the admiration theme. Here is the January Palette.
Not usually colours I work with as y'all know I'm a orange girl! However I do think these match my blog template quite well!
I don't know why but the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw these colours was a peacock. Now I know these are more pastel tones and a peacock is more what I would consider to be jewel tones but the challenge is to take it further , so I'm hoping this leap isn't too far a stretch of the imagination. Here are some pictures I borrowed from DH's blog.

I'm not sure where I will go with this idea yet, who knows what will happen, maybe something else will hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I will veer in a totally different direction, I guess this is all part of the fun in such a challenge.