Thursday, 23 February 2012

Wish I was a weeble

I've been thinking a lot about the Fat Quarterly Retreat.  Naturally I'm getting excited about it, as I believe most of us Brit Bee's are, however I have also been thinking about me, and my oh so freakin boring "condition"...  These days, I don't do a great deal of letting loose and having a laugh - I tend to try and keep myself a little distanced.  Its not that I don't want to have a laugh, I just don't want to fall over...  My cataplexy seems pretty firmly rooted these days, and a laugh, or being cheeky, (or the other end of the scale and getting upset or annoyed) causes anything from losing my vision, my facial muscles slackening (making me look a right twat) to the whole collapse in a heap fall over.  I really don't want to be doin ANY of that at the FQ retreat.  But I DO want to have a good laugh there, and I am rather cheeky - some of you know too well - so I'd like to be able to be myself.

Years ago when I was going through the motions of trying every single medication available to me I did try something that helped with the Cataplexy.  From what I remembered, I took this pill and for the first week or so my narcolepsy would go a bit mental, but then it would calm down, back to normal, but without the Cataplexy.  Now I'd stopped taking it because after 6 months or so of continually upping the dosage it just wasn't having much effect any more.   However, FQ retreat is 3 months away...
On Friday I went to the docs and got the meds.

On Saturday afternoon I started to feel a bit queasy, and I couldn't really face eating anything other than a bit of toast.  Saturday evening, I started to get hot flushes...  My temperature rocketed and I still felt queasy, so I went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up feeling terrible.  I was sick, I had a nasty trip to the toilet..  Then I looked in the mirror, and I had the freakiest eyes...  Massive, enormous black pupils.  I shut my eyes and opened them again.  Still massive.  I shone a light in my eyes.  Still massive.  Hardly any Iris at all, it looked so creepy.
I took my freaky dilated pupils and curled up on the sofa under a quilt for the day.
All day and night I would get waves of nausea, I couldnt eat, pins and needles all over my body, random uncontrollable shaking.  I kept yawning all the time, yawning like I was trying to split my head open Muppet style...
Monday was just the same, and not having eaten I was really feeble and shaky too.  My heart would suddenly start racing.  My head was hurting.  I gave in and called the doc.  Every last thing I was feeling was just a "common" side effect for the Cataplexy pills.  Common or not, the doc said I should stop immediately.  As much as I wanted to get rid of the cataplexy for my trip away, I had to agree, I couldn't cope with all that.

Its now 48 hrs since I took the pills and I'm starting to feel much better.  Cant help but feel a bit gutted though, my stand by "I can always take the cataplexy pills again" is no more.  I'm always going wobble and nothings going to stop me falling over...  Sucks.

So that was my weekend.   Fortunately I had time on Friday to make this....

Natural Linen with rainbow scraps band and hand stitching.  Approx 10 x 11", wide flat bottom, pocket inside.

And time this evening to make this...

Grey Linen with rainbow scrappy blocks and rainbow band, 9" square approx, shallow bottom, divider section inside. 

One of which will go to my partner in the Mouthy Stitches Zippy pouch swap.
Now to get caught up with my For the Love of Solids swap.....  oh help!!

ps  If anyone gets muddled up with their bits for the Stained QAL blocks, I've uploaded another "helpful diagram" with each block and the sizes of  its component parts.   Click here to go to it.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

You did what?!

Miss Elliecat do close your mouth...

So.  Having promised the "block assembly" post for the Stained QAL, I spent 2.5hrs last night carefully, painstakingly photographing every stage of the block assembly.  I got some pretty pictures despite the bad lighting... It was a bit of a push getting it all done, but, I knew that after spending the morning running errands and getting the shopping (return of man junk import) in I would not be fit for anything other than sitting on the sofa for the rest of the day today.  
And I was right.  Well, actually, I underestimated my uselessness.  I've mentioned a few times this bloody annoying thing I get, Automatic Behaviour.  Most people experience it once in a blue moon, lucky people like me have to actually expect it, on a pretty much daily basis.  So anyway.  I'm sitting there, downloading the photos from the camera to laptop, and the next thing I know its a full 7 minutes later.  There are no photos on my laptop.  I've looked everywhere.  Recycling bin and all.  No photos.  Damn it, I thought, I'll have to do that again.  
You know what's coming dont you....  Yup.  They are not on the camera any more either.  Gone.  Alllllll gone.  

So, apologies for the photoless instructions, bit crap I know, but I've got too many swap commitments to re-do it next week I'm afraid.  I hope these instructions will suffice in the mean time!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Past and future post

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post, helping me figure out the steps to succuessfully choosing fabrics.  It was a great read finding out how you all go about it, what you all think about it, and awffy nice of those of you who said I'm not doin too badly so far!  And as for those who encouraged me to increase my stash.....  WOOHOO!   hehehe...

I have some winners to announce!  The "lucky" winners of my fugly fabric from the post before my last post have been selected.  I did the whole "names on a bit of paper to be pulled out of the bag" but totally forgot to photograph it.  Terribly poor show I know, but you're just going to have to trust me cos I cant be arsed doin that again, I just binned all those teeny bits of paper (after chasing Ellicat round the room to get a few of them off her).  Not doing that again.
Anyway... We have winners...

                           For the checks and swirly blue FQs   -  Maxine

                           For the shiny red paisley stuff             -  Josephine
                           For the toy box panel (with scary monkey)  -  Gwen

And going back even further to the Stained QAL cutting post...  that feels like all I've been doing for the last 2 weeks...

cutting out of Fabric One...  

Just for anyone who actually looked at the cutting guide (and ran away screaming) here is proof that I am that fussy....  Well, I wouldnt ask you to do something I wouldnt...would I?

All the pretty little cut pieces in their organised little baggies...  Stop laughing Cindy...

And just to make things a little more interesting...

                                                                      .... I used two different fabrics to cut number 11...

But despite the over whelming feeling that all that cutting took weeks and weeks, I have actually been sleeping a lot, and, and I did sew something.
Leila @ Where the Orchids Grow did a wonderful post with a paper piecing pattern.
Cuppa tea love? paper piecing tutorial
Now I was very keen to give it a go, but... well...  it was for freezer paper piecing which I've not tried yet, and it had a few too many toatty wee triangles for me to cope with...  So, I used Leilas pattern as a guide and had my first go at drawing my own foundation piecing pattern!  I cut down on the triangles a bit too...  

Getting started with my Foundation piecing pattern

My take on Leilas fab cuppa pattern
Mum has a habit of leaving her hot cups of tea on books.... mum also got a Kindle from dad....  So to deter her from leaving cups of tea on the kindle, I made it a nice thick cover!

Mums kindle cover 

And on to future post... I will get the "put the blocks together" Stained QAL post done asap, fingers crossed it might even be up tomorrow... but we'll see...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Advice sharing here....(please!)

How do you choose fabrics for a quilt?  Do you start with a quilt pattern in mind?  Do you stick to one fabric line?

I consider this a subject that I do not know the answer to, I am very much still learning how to do this!  
I'm not just wondering about colours, I know there are some wonderful web pages like Design Seeds and Kuler which can provide you with hours of fun finding lovely colour schemes.  Oh yes.  I've spent hours and hours on them!  I wanted to do Lynnes Dead Simple quilt, but I just couldn't pick one favourite colour scheme.  I ended up taking a whole moda charm pack and starting the as yet unfinished Dead Undecided quilt....  Anyway.  I'm talking about solids or prints, or both.  Flowers or shapes.  Or both.  How do you select your fabrics?

To begin with, I thought the only way I'd be able to get it right would be to just buy collection bundles, or precuts.  

Echo by Lotta Jansdotter

After all, the designers are professionals, they are presenting us with a selection of fabrics that all go together, so why not just use them?  Why not indeed.  I haven't stopped doing that and I'm quite sure I wont stop either.  However...
I started to feel that I shouldn't just be doing that, that I was "cheating" doing that, maybe that was a teeny bit, well, boring.  So, I started to try and mix it  up a bit.  Not having access to a large fabric shop and doing 99% of my shopping on line, that really wasn't easy. 

I've tried making "bundles" as in mosaics from shop pics - like a lot of us did for bloggers choice competition - but shopping only online does mean you are relying entirely on the photo that the shop uses to be 100% accurate and some of the time they arent too hot...

Remember my bee month brain fart plan of a black & blue quilt?   It took months and many sale pages to come up with these!  I even ended up with a whole separate quilt's worth of "blues" that look more teal or green in real life...

Now I have to say quite clearly, I LOVE my bee blocks, and will be making the quilt top, and I will absolutely ADORE my quilt.  But to be honest, I don't think I did a very good job with my fabric picking!  The more I see my black and blue bundle, the more I feel that it is a bit disjointed.  It lacks any kind of cohesion.  Perhaps they need to have more than just a general colour in common... 
The biggest problem I think, is that there are one or two prints here that I don't actually like all that much.  Oh I feel terrible saying that.  I got so obsessed with the black and blue plan that yes, I did include a couple of fabrics that I don't really like all that much purely because they met the "black and blue" plan so well.  So, its more important that you love them than whether you think they're a perfect fit.

When thinking up my stained quilt, I had better luck - although possibly because I started with prints from a designer line...  I started with 5 prints from Silent Cinema by Jenean Morrison, the pink colourway.   Colour wise, they were mostly grey, but two had bits of pink in them.  I like that....  So I started hunting down greys, even found one with some pink in it.  That's really all I was thinking at the time.  That, and the fact that there was one print in particular that was special.  A large scale but very detailed pattern, with no "right way up", and OMG I love it.  So, I wanted that print to be the star of the show, and when picking other fabrics I kept in mind that I wanted them as a supporting cast!

I like the way these came together in the end quilt, although I still think I should do better...  (surprise surprise) 

These days I have a bit more in the way of a stash to look through, which is definitely a help...

Mum and I came up with this pick for a quilt we worked on whilst she was here.  I think its a pretty successful mix.  This time, not only is it a colour theme (ash grey solid background, green prints, one yellow green, and one bright orange) but when you look at the patterns there are other similarities too.  There is a very geometric thing going on.  Its all dots, squares and crosses...  Also love that the green on the far left has a teeny bit of orange in it.  The pattern scale all seems to be about the same size too - I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing.  I'm happy with the quilt we made, but in a different quilt pattern I think this bundle may just be lacking a different scale print.

At the same time, mum came up with this pick from my scraps.

I think this is a lovely selection!  I complemented mum on her subtle curvy small circles theme that runs through almost all the prints.  She said she hadn't noticed that...  

This struck me as a great way for auditioning prints for your own bundle, and I think I've found a new and slightly cheaper alternative to bundle buying addiction...  Kate from M is for Make does a wonderful fat 16th bundle for a lot of the lovely fabric lines in her shop. 
I'm not being paid to push it, I just think its a brilliant way to find out whether a bundle is right for what you want, £4-6 for a fat 16th of each bit.  And the 16ths will give you a fabulous scrap stash for cushions, charity blocks, zippy pouches, or whatever wee things you make in between quilts!

So what have I learnt so far?  

  • Some people just have a knack for it.  But the more you do it the better you will get.  
  • Love what you choose - if you don't love what you pick, you wont get quite so excited about working with the pick, you wont feel quite so motivated to keep working with it, and you wont feel quite as satisfied with what you make.
  • Be brave and mix things up a bit.  Designer collections will work and look fab, but mixing things up make it more personal, and a little bit different!
  • Having a "star" print and building around it with complimentary, more subtle prints works.  Having one colour theme and throwing in one or two bright, complimentary colours works.

But that doesn't feel much in the way of instruction ... help me out here,   how do you select your fabrics?  

PS.  I have actually done a little sewing in the last couple of weeks, honest... I'll share soon.  And also coming soon... block one in the Stained QAL...  remember to join the flickr group if you havent already!  *click here to go to Stained QAL on flickr*

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Fuglies? In my stash?!

After an incredibly stressful start to the Stained QAL   (come along and join in if you dare...)  and having to spend longer than is sensible last night fixing a few errors in my QAL printouts, I thought I'd take a lighter view today.

Fugly Fabric Party

Lucy @  Charm about you is having a party.  A "Fugly Party".  The theory being, we all root out a fugly bit of fabric and blog it.  Then as we read each others blogs we can put our hands up and say "no its not, give it to me!"  Or at least that is the theory as I understand it.  She did also say that it didn't have to be an especially fugly fabric, it could just be something we are not going to use and want rid of.

I've had a quick root through my stash and found, rather pleasingly if you'll forgive the touch of smugness, that I don't appear to have much along the "Fugly" lines...

Possibly down to this post I did before Christmas....

However.  I have found some bits....

First off we have the Dressmakers Special!!!

Red shiny stuff with a paisley print in gold, black  and purple

pattern scale... the swirly bits are about 4" across

linings, non shiny and very shiny
The red stuff is genuine retro - its been in a box in Granny's attic since the 70's...  No idea what you call the fabric, its lightweight, very shiny... there's about 3 3/4 yards of it at 44" width.  It'll come with a few big-ish bits of lining, including the lovely shiny cream and shiny purple...

Now to the cotton... ahhh back in safe territory!  I did find something...

Toy box panel, there's actually 18 squares (2 each)

Not entirely a Fugly, the panel that is, but I must say something about this monkey freaks me out....

A FQ of the squares, and more than FQ of the blue swirly.
Come on now, lets see those hands up, don't all rush at once!!!

I'm linking this in with Lucy's party, head on over there and see quiltybloggyland admit to the nasties that have been lurking at the bottom of stash boxes all over the world.....

Leave a comment below if you'd like one of my fuglies!  (please make sure you are not a "no reply" blogger or I wont be able to contact you)  If more than one person want something, I'll draw a "winner" this time next week (Feb 12th).

*edit*  I am happy to post internationally, but if its the dressmakers special it would be EITHER the red stuff OR the lining, both together weighs a ton!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Stained QAL begins

I do apologise for this QAL being way behind schedule already and its barely even started.  I suppose it was only to be expected for me, I have been falling asleep too much to be any faster!

Right, down to business.  It has to be said that this quilt IS a fairly straight forward quilt to put together.  It also has to be said (more than once apparently) that it is a complete PAIN to cut.  I've been trying to sort out cutting instructions for almost 2 weeks now, and everything I try just looks overwhelmingly complicated.  I can only apologise for that too...  I'm sure someone who knows what they're doing would sort it out, but you're stuck with me!  If most of you back out now, I'll totally get it... frankly at the cutting stage it looks a nightmare!  (But once that's over, its not I promise)  Its all about being organised and taking it slowly.  And feel free to email me or use the flickr group if any part of it is not making sense and I'll do my best to clear it up.

First of all I would like to, well for want of a better word, dissect the quilt clearly so you know what you are cutting for and how things will go together.
If anyone wants to get their colouring pencils out and play with what fabrics will go where, I've done a blank layout for you which you can view and print off HERE

This is the rough EQ7 guide of what my quilt 'should' look like...

And as separate blocks it looks like this....

oops, that 4c on the bottom left should be 4d....

What I would recommend very much is to be as organised as possible - I get 4 ziplock bags (one for each block type 1-4) to keep the cut pieces in, and another thing I've tried which was very successful, was to get quilters masking tape (low tack) and then I could put a wee bit of tape on each cut bit and that way write on it what block it was for.

*edit 12/02/12  in Fabric One, the 2.5 x 4.5 should be for block 4c and in Fabric 10 the 2.5 x 2.5 should be 4d.*  Sorry!

To explain what's there, and help you choose which to go with, they are as follows.
Cutting mapped out on Fat Quarters.  - I took my 11 different prints, and have drawn out exactly how I cut each one up.  This also tells you exactly where each piece goes.  I spent ages being fussy trying to get no two prints the same next to each other....  Use this guide if you don't want to have to do that!  Also, if you want to get the most from your fabric and not waste anything, and if you have NON DIRECTIONAL PRINTS you can just do one FQ at a time and cut as per the diagram.  
If you are using FQ's but want to just cut things your own way I have included a list of all the sizes to be cut from each fat quarter.
If you are working from scrap stash and have many many prints to use, I have included a list of cutting by block.

The in block sashing cutting instructions are per block cos that's the simplest way...  

I've added a widget that is meant to enable you to print this page simply, its at the bottom... see below... 
I'm off to bed now as my head is positively swimming with 11 x 3 and 6 x 2.5 and whatnot.  Fingers crossed when I get up tomorrow there wont be any "the google link doesn't work" emails!!  I've got a lot of cutting to do!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

three updates...part three

Something (else) I'm a little late in posting is the Mid Winter Check in for Sarah's Winter Stitching...
I was a little concerned this would be a massive dud as I cant remember getting much done at all really.  Still, here goes!

                                FairyFace Designs

part one - the commitments

1.  MUST keep up to date with bee activities!  This period should involve 5 or so bee months, cos I've still got Octobers Star blocks to do...  and don't forget the Bee Blessed blocks!
1a  Do my own blocks from August, and after Christmas start putting my Bee Quilt together!

I am keeping up to date, with everyone elses blocks that is.... still have not done anything about mine!    The only one I had started, a paper pieced star, I had given up on as I wasnt liking it to be honest so mum finished it.  She loved it so I passed it on :-)

paper pieced star block and Harvey...(Elliecats nemesis)

2.  Make another Reversible Bucket Bag

Done.  This was the bag in question, made for my brothers wife, for her to give to her brothers wife!  I'm very pleased to say that it went down well - with my sister in law and with hers!

3.  Make Table Runner OR 6 place mats (deadline 30th November)

Oooh epic fail there.  Have revised plan to be oven glove and pot holders.... 

4.  Make the 1 Mini Quilt I've been asked to.  (deadline sometime early December)

That's done, and I forgot to take any photos, sorry!  Have also been asked for another 2 or 3.  Have found out in the mean time that I find it EXTREMELY difficult to do the same thing twice and actually be able to concentrate on it without my brain thinking "oh you've done that before, that means we can switch off and go into automatic behaviour"....  Hmmm.  Next two should be fun then...

5.  Brit Quilt Swap PILLOW FIGHT!  pillow cover and wee extra  (deadline 20th November)

Done, that was this cushion, in case you've forgotten.  (Look away Hadley, its brown ;-)  

6.  Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap   table runner and ornaments (deadline 20th November)

Done.  That looked like this.

Or at least that side of it looked like that... lol  

7.  Christmas making!  Boxy pouches, cushion covers, needle cases, pin cushions...

Done!  Hardly took any photos, but I did get one of the 3 scarves snapped - 

Flannel scarf and square pin cushion

8.  Make a quilt for bestie in Germany and her wee bump wee lass!

That is now a WIP... and a secret one at that....  I'm getting there!

       part two - I've started so I'll finish

9.   Must do another 50 or so hexies for the Hexalong    (nothing yet.)

10.  Must do a pattern for hand quilting the Not-so-hidden-stars quilt to finish it.  (still nothing yet!)

11.  Must decide how to go about quilting my Stained pink Quilt.

Done!  It has even inspired my first QAL...  more on that in a few days...  

12.  Must get on with my 5" charms quilt top

Yes, I must, really....  just havent yet that's all...

         part three - where I wimp out and say that one of the following will do for me ;-)
  • Dresden needs unpicking and re sewn to fix crappy seam allowance  (mum unpicked for me!)
  • Decide on a palette for Dead Simple QAL
  • City Quilt that I started cutting ages ago, finish cutting it at the very least!  Quilt top is done :-)
  • Complete cutting instructions for City Weekend I & II
  • Make City Weekend I  taking photos for tutorial
  • Make City Weekend II  taking photos for tutorial
  • Complete pattern and instructions for Soul Tracks Quilt, then make, photograph and do tutorial.
  • Attempt a free form "stack and slash" quilt top.  I did say attempt, which I've done, I did not say "complete" which I havent...

Ach no' bad really, when I think about it.  Fair bit more to go though...   And a quilt along and two more swaps can be added to that list.  Not clever!  Oh well.  MUST STOP SIGNING UP FOR STUFF!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

three updates...part two

Elliecat "I don't understand.  What do you mean you didn't cut this fabric specifically for me to sit on?"

I thought I'd start with this little Ellie gem for Nicke, as a thank you since she was awfully kind to pass on to me the  Versatile Blogger Award.

In return I need to tell you seven things and pass the award ever onwards.  So, 7 things in a minute.  As for passing it on, I'll pass it to lovely Judith who has finally gotten her patterns on a shop site :-)  and to lovely Cindy who has finally finished her birdy stitches! woohoo!  They are lovely ladies, who do lovely blogs.  Check 'em out.

Right.  7 things...

1.  I hoard.  Not terribly, as I tend to hoard with a recycling intention, but whilst living in my boyfriends small house, I owe it to him to spring clean once in a while to shut him up  keep him happy be fair.... Mum helped enormously and between us the house has been freed of

  • one deep windowsill of glass jars
  • 54 dvds and cds
  • one bag of books
  • one printer
  • 4 pairs of trainers
  • 8 handbags
  • one A1 Drawing Board
  • one bag of clothes
  • one bag of assorted (non quilting cotton) fabrics
  • one massive black bag for the trash...
Not that I'm counting or anything.

2.  Mum and I had a Harry Potter Marathon - we did 2 films a night for a week.  I cried within the first two minutes of the final film, and lost count how many times throughout it.  I'm a bit of a soft sod...

3.  I am getting rather obsessive and even more freaky as the years go on.  New to mum this visit were the joyously weird "butter must be taken from a specific end of the butter tub or I freak out", the fussy "fabric has to be folded in a specific way"  (mum caught me re-folding a few...  I tried the old "I dropped it" but she just raised an eyebrow and said "no you didn't" and I had to confess...)  and the downright irritating "saying something twice (something twice)  which frankly concerns me....

4.  I think 3 counts for at least two... that was proper mental.

5.  My favourite dinner (one of mums specialities) is Cheese Charlotte - a bread and cheese souffle.  Here's one I made earlier...

6.  I cant sneeze properly.  When I was a kid I so dreaded giving classmates any more ammunition to take the piss out of me and laugh, and I'd seen them laugh at another kid for his nose running and him not having a tissue (I'm sure I don't need to go into any more detail there...)  so I made sure that any time I felt a sneeze coming along I held my breath.  Now I cant sneeze.  I feel the sneeze coming, and go thru the whole "ah... ah..aaaah.." bit, but then its like an invisible hand holds my nose for me and I usually just say the "choo!" part without ever actually sneezing.  Its kinda sore and sounds really stupid...

7.  I'm left handed but only for writing - I don't need anything from Ned Flanders Left-orium....

And finally, another big thank you - this time to Dianne of Quiltova.  She sent me a lovely Pay it Forward package!  Dianne is a lovely lady, and my parcel was so thoughtful, it really brought a smile to my face.

Derngate Doors
Derngate Door designed by C.R. Mackintosh

She knows I love Mackintosh, so she did me this fabulous mug rug based on a Charles Rennie Mackintosh door.  Isn't it brilliant?  She also did a lovely wee house, and she sent me these...

"Camel Balls"  

Shhhhh!  Don't tell her I'm a vegetarian....

three updates part one

I've sort of built up a few blog posts worth of stuff, so I'm going to do one after the other.  Hope this isnt too tedious for you!

Mum has been up visiting, which is why I've been a little quieter than usual.  We had the BEST time, really, I cant tell you how much fun it was having someone to sew with, someone who gets as excited as I do about fabrics and all the things you can do with them...  Not to mention how absolutely bloody wonderful it was to be looked after!!  (I know, it was her holiday, I am awful...)

I'm going to save the big photos for when I've managed to finish things, so in the mean time, here are some hints of what we were playing with....

3 different fabric selections, and a pile of removed selvedges...  there's been a whole lotta cutting done here!

That rather wonderful pile of selvedges is part of my sewing resolutions.   You see, I do have some nice fabric.  The thing is though, I get so convinced that I'll have to have every scrap of it intact in order to make anything, that it ends up sitting untouched and I have nothing nice to use for fun little projects.  Well,   I've been sitting looking at it all and daydreaming about it all for long enough.  It was driving me mad that I had nice "quilt bundles" and no energy to make quilts fast enough, and boring scraps when sometimes all I feel like doing is something quick, easy and wee.  Enter mum and a rotary cutter...  

my scrap boxes, now with some decent scraps in 'em!

Mum trimmed a nice 5" strip off most of my stash.  She cut me two charms from every print, and the remainder went into my scrap boxes.  Et voila!  A much more respectable, interesting, and usable scrap stash!  Wouldnt you say?

Also, I got my January bee blocks done - so lovely to have sent them on time for a change... It was the wonderful  Judith's month as queen bee, and she requested 2 denim framed log cabins of some kind.  We were to pick a fabric of our own for the centre that would represent us. 

Oz block on left, second block on right.

For my first block the centre fabric is from my Dorothy (rainbow) quilt and I started thinking OZ...  the stripes reminded me of the dead wicked witches feet sticking out under the house (black and white stripey socks!) the dog would be Toto of course, and there wasnt blue gingham but blue polka dot would be next best thing for a dorothy dress...
I had embroidered a rainbow in the centre, and I was about to embroider "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too" around the centre...  Then I remembered I was doing a bee block for someone who quite possibly wasnt an Oz fan so I unpicked and restrained myself....

For the second block the centre piece is fabric I bought and hand dyed for my own bee quilt, and I did a hexagonal log cabin around it.  I was quite pleased with this one, very neat for my standards!
Mum wasnt sitting idle either, she made 2 blocks for Judith's charity bee, Bee Blessed.  The requirements were for sampler style blocks from any book of your choice.  Mum spotted my 99 Modern Blocks book and was raring to go!

Mums blocks, taken from 99 modern blocks

We had a very amusing Foundation piecing day....  After sitting there tutting at me and giving me lots of "sarah..."s with the disappointed tone mum very soon did me proud and almost out swore me by the end of it...  talk about turning the air blue, it was everything from aqua to indigo....  Ah happy happy happy days!

three foundation pieced blocks with a kind of spiralling triangles theme

The bottom left Ash one is mine.  Mum did the other two in the time it took me to make mine (and nap)....  You might notice that on the block we've each done, our triangles are spinning in opposite directions.  That'd be because I started sewing on the wrong side of my foundation paper...  I have been wondering though if it might be an idea for my For the love of Solids swap, so I might be doing it again soon...
I have been challenged to make that complicated lookin one on the left too....  Now I've got some decent scraps, it should be fun!