Wednesday 30 January 2013

10 second attention span, me?

First month of first quarter is almost done, and I'm awffy chuffed I got a couple of finishes under my belt - thank you very much for the lovely comments I got last post!  The other side of why I'm so chuffed is that I feel like I've spent most of this month starting things!  That wasn't meant to happen.  I just wasn't in the mood to carry on stitching strips of jeely roll after all.  Top of my priorities should have been a good tidy up too, but funnily enough I didn't feel like that either...  With the end of the first month of 2013 coming up, I realised I had a bit of bee block catching up to do and that was much more fun.
I got caught up on January's blocks for the Modern Stitching Bee, Jennie asked us for the Quatrefoil block from 99 Modern Blocks.

Its a great block, in fact, its one I had been toying with using as I did a mock up of how it would look in a quilt and I really loved it!

One to save for the future methinks.
Next up it was about time I did some Bee Blessed blocks, and Jude's request for bright, and for kids prints to be used that was ideal for me.   I look forward to seeing what next months block is now!

What's taken up most of my time though is technically a bit of back pedalling....  A skypey flasher I chat to from time to time showed me that every time she makes bee blocks, she makes an additional one for herself.  Well duh.... is that not just the most obvious, and genius idea you ever hearda?!  Why on earth did that never occur to me?  Over 18 months of making bee blocks for people, I've made some nice blocks.  Actually, bugger that, I've attempted some pretty awesome blocks!  And yes, I love that they are in bee quilts.  I love sending them on.  Buuuuut... Well....  There's quite a few of those blocks that I just know I am not too likely to be brave enough to attempt again, never mind replicating in multiples for quilt tops!  And it would have been so nice to have an actual fabric record of some of the blocks I've done.

So, as I am still in Bee's I figured starting now was much better than moping about not having thought of it before!  Last year I was lucky enough to win a lovely collection of retro 30's reprints from Kim @ Crafternoon delight.  Hmmm, possible collection of random blocks....  lovely retro prints.....  Ooooh I'm going to get me a 30's prints sampler quilt!

So, I got stuck in and started making more blocks from past months of the Modern Stitching Bee, and here I am, all caught up now!  

I did have one disaster block though...  To begin with I must have cut the squares too small.  Every pressed HST was 3 1/4" at best....  But, I'd started so I pigheadedly continued, doing 1/8th in seams.
It really didn't come out very nice.  If I square it up properly there's no way it will be 12 1/2".  And, and I just noticed it was meant to have hst's in the four corners too!  Oops.  

Ach well, I'll keep it anyway! Next up though, if I can maintain block-making momentum, I've got a few foundation paper piecing blocks waiting for me... (lets just pretend that the tidying isn't...)

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Good start...

 I am feeling pretty pleased with myself today.  I was tempted to write "smug" but quite honestly "shocked" is more accurate....  I have had 2 finishes this week!  Each finish has been given to its destined recipient already, and I'm relived to say they were liked.

First up, we have my first Giant Star Quilt.  I didn't follow a pattern, its a supersized quilt block, even a numpty like me can handle that maths.  It was for my mans parents.  They help me out a lot when man's at sea - taking me here there and everywhere!  So I wanted to give them something to say how much I appreciate them.
Its 64" square pre wash - I'd expect it to go to 60" square or so after its washed and all snugly and crinkled, but I was so keen to hand it over I didn't wash first.   Its Rock n' Romance (and that lacy print is from Moda's Little Black Dress) with Sketch Charcoal, and Freespirit Plum solid for binding.
I quilted it the same way Katy did for her fabulous Indie Star.  Have remembered now that I really don't like quilting...  Machine. Too. Small.  Table. Too. Small.  Back ouchy...   I used a guttterman variegated thread cos it was greys and purples and pinks and I thought that would fit nicely.  And frankly cos I had it sitting there and I've never gotten into the whole buying thread specifically for one project extravagance yet...  Best reason really!

Secondly we have the tumbler cushion!  This was cut and destined to be a Christmas present.  *sheepish* didn't quite make it on time...  Still, I'm pleased that I still went ahead and made it and gave it anyway.  It was for my favourite postie!  Well, I've fessed up already about the whole shopping to have something to look forward to addiction.  Naturally this gave me a fair bit of experience with posties and delivery people...  One postie has always been awffy kind to me and so I wanted to make her something to say thank you.
Its 19" (was supposed to be 20" but then I couldn't find a 20" insert anywhere so I did reverse french seam for a binding effect to make it a bit smaller so I could get away with an 18" insert)  its Domestic Bliss from Moda with co-ordinating solids on the back.  The quilting is just 1/4" either side of every seam.

Just when I thought I was doing so well in my limited spend on fabric pledge, this happened.

My last purchase of 2012 and it's had to be my first purchase of 2013 too.  The air was every shade from baby to navy I can tell you...  Still.  Aren't these just AWESOME?  (you know you want them now... *evil cackle*)  Rainbow....  Sparkles....  Dots....

Okay, okay, that's not all...  I was gutted at having to spend again on fabric, so to cheer myself up a bit from that fiasco I got a couple of FQs of Quilt Blocks cos it was on sale for £1.90 each.  I think that wee slip up should be allowed, don't you?!  Less said about the couple of half price charm packs on the way the better eh....   I know... I need help.....

So what next?  Am quietly, slowly, piecing a jeely roll quilt.  Well, the whole #scrappytripalong was tempting, and there are so many of them out there that I love,  but I just didn't want to.  So I'm doing something similar but different, and I'm just using up a Just Wing It roll that's been around too long.
Oh, and there's a lovely bit of sweary stitching to cheer me up too.  Gotta love a good  F***.  (albeit embroidered).

Friday 18 January 2013

Les sniffles

Hadleys monster Diamond Nipples block

bit of progress on the two giant stars

the start of a cushion

I have cheered up a bit.  My cold is almost gone and I've been bug free all week too, and boy has it been gooooood.  I've been able to get some sewing done.
I've also (finally) been to the new cinema!  Yes, CINEMA!  With proper big comfy seats, massive screen, awesome sound...  and there were proper cinema go-ers there - people who actually went deathly silent the second the film was about to start!  I haven't experienced that in years.  So, what did I see?

Oh yes.  2 hours and 40 minutes of awesome.  And I think I cried for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes of it.  I went through 3 tissues, the quality thick ones too...  I dabbed at tears til my cheeks felt raw, I bit my lip, sniffed a lot... by the time it got to this song I gave up and just sobbed openly.  (at about 2.20 seconds on that clip)  You know what else?  I wasn't the only one either.  I could actually hear others blubbing too...   It was wonderful!

I'm sure it wont be to everyone's taste, the fact that about 90% of it is sung might have something to do with that.  I've read loads of reviews of it, and I have to say, I thought Russell Crowe was brilliant.  Admittedly, having read reviews I was expecting him to be a bit crap and it wasn't going to bother me;  but quite honestly, he was my favourite!  Maybe my ears aren't as well tuned as some of those movie critics, but he sounded damn good to me.   (I'm a big fan of Mr Jackman but I did notice a few questionable noises from him... so I'm pretty confident my ears work fine!)

I was telling my man all about when I got a phone call, and poor thing was completely bemused... "you cried all through it, and you said you enjoyed it?!"  Yes.  In fact, "enjoyed" just doesn't quite cover it.  I LOVED it.   Clearly he thinks I'm daft.  Its quite possible he's right, it has been known, but perhaps not in this instance.  The phrase exists after all, to 'have a good cry'.  A *good* cry.
Apparently 88% of people feel better after crying.  I've been reading up on it, apparently emotional tears have a completely different chemical make up to eyes-watering tears - crying actually is your body washing out chemical imbalances; it releases stress, reducing chemicals linked to heart disease, cholesterol, and diabetes.  Who'da thunk it?

So in the interest of my health I've been compiling my own compilation weepie; songs and movies that make me bawl.  (So much to choose from, I'm such a softie).  Such fun!  (I know, even as I write I realise how mental I sound...)   But you know what?  I feel so much better!

Saturday 12 January 2013

the ever lurking WIP's

After such a wonderful stint with ma here and a lovely big list of finishes, I honestly thought "oh bugger.  What am I going to enter in the next Finish Along?".  No kidding.  I was contemplating taking one of my "this fabric is for this pattern" baggies and chopping the bits for a block, just so they'd qualify as officially started!!  Fortunately I had a rummage first.  Ho hum, well there's those two quilts I'm working on; they're top of the list.

Ooooh yeah, and there's those charms I cut for that cushion....  My first go at tumbler blocks.

...and wasnt there a cushion I didnt finish on one of last years lists?  Oh yeah, there it is.

That reminds me, there's that bunch of hexies for a cushion sitting somewhere in the living room.

And, goodness, isn't that a hoop in there too?  Man I thought I'd finished that donkeys ago.

And what was I planning after those two quilts?  Wasnt there another one to finish?  What was it?

Bingo.  The vintage stripes quilt...   Blimey.


That's a few more than I thought...  Best stop looking...

Thursday 10 January 2013

FA anonymous....

I am so glad this isn't my first post of the new year....  Technically its my third as I forgot to tell you I was moonlighting at Rhondas last friday....  Oops.  Aside from that though, starting the new year with a cold wasn't nearly enough, so I managed to pick up an extra bug or two and a migraine just to make sure things were real low down and crappy.  I honestly do not know how I do it, do bugs sneak in with the mail?!  Anyway, if I missed anything feel free to point me in the direction for general catch up.

Let's put the last 5 days in the (unfortunately over-used) lavvy.  I usually have a crash period after something good, and last year was a pretty good year overall, so that sounds like a much nicer explanation!  I have a few plans brewing for this year, some of which I will share in time.  I want this year to be even better, which is a tough ask given that last year I met so many new friends and had my wonderful, blissful sewing getaways.  I should be going to Fat Quarterly Retreat again this year, touch wood, so that's a start!

As part of my FQ Retreat Saving Plan I really, really need to try and curb my fabric shopping addiction.

I have a nice stash.  I should not be so ashamed of that!  I have a nice stash.  I am a compulsive bargain hunter, coupon gathering, limited offer obsessive, you bet your ass I've used that to my advantage and eeked as much as possible out of my pennies!   I'm sure I don't need to point out to most of you that I am simply not capable of doing enough sewing to cope with even a quarter of my plans and wishes!   I am really going to need every penny for this years mid summer FQ Retreat... So,  enough is enough.

If I am being completely honest with you, a big part of my over spend on fabric is down to depression.  It makes me feel happier to think that there is a gorgeous, exciting envelope of fabric, which is in itself full of dozens upon dozens of possibilities for sharing, planning, and making, always "on its way to me".   It is comforting, and lifts my spirits.  As much as I really do love to plan what to make next and daydream about what's on the sewing table there is a touch of self loathing and disappointment mixed up in that as these expectations are almost always quashed by my limited capabilities.  Doing a wee bit of fabric shopping is something I can more or less control.  A week or two is a much more manageable wait for something nice to happen,  and that bit of fabric winging its way to me will still turn up, even if I am too tired to simply put it away never mind cut into it there and then.

I am not going to declare myself on any kind of "no new fabric" limit though.  I know myself too well... There is always something missing when it comes to completing a project, and then I cave.  And then because I've caved I have failed, that extra bundle that's on sale right now really doesn't matter in the scheme of things...  And anyway.  Ultimately I do not believe that there is anything wrong with me buying "some" fabric.  I could be getting a takeaway or going out for dinner once a week and dropping £20+ in a few chews... (Have I bitched mentioned before that I don't get much opportunity for going out with my mates?!)   I could still be spending £15 a week on tobacco... But I am not.  So no, I will not be proclaiming myself any kind of "no shop zone"..  A complete ban would not work.   But seriously, I most definitely do need to cut it down a bit a lot!

Make no mistake, it will NOT be easy for me.  I've been coping so far this year, hell, even I cant shop for fabric when I'm ill in bed....(I'm lying, I probably could have but there is no broadband signal in the bedroom...)  and well, its also half due to my last 2012 purchase still not having arrived yet!
It's one thing to tell myself "well, you managed to quit smoking, buying less fabric should be a breeze" but the truth is, I have no idea how I managed to stop smoking!  Its still something I think about, I still miss it, I still want to do it.  So how do I cut down on another addiction I really don't want to do without?!  I might have to cut down my Internet time this month too.  (please don't stop emailing me!)

So for now I'll leave you with a picture of my last purchase of 2012; what I'm really looking forward to in the post, sometime.  Anyone who has a good "how I went ... months without buying fabric" story feel free to let me know!

Mmmmmm  dots..... in a rainbow....  that sparkle.....  What more could you need?!  Photo stolen from the shop wot I ordered 'em from, which (a free ad to make up for the photy stealing) is HERE

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Finished 2012!

Ahh the last Finish Along with Rhonda at the Gap...  Thank you Rhonda, you've done an awesome job.  I shall be playing along again next year, joining in with Leanne too!
A massive effort was put in to make this final quarter a better, more successful finish along effort.  Well, third quarter and no finishes was just pitiful!  So, this post will be a quick list review (and blatant excuse for putting lots of pretty pictures on my first 2013 blog post).
Original post here...

1. The Mouthy Stitches Triangles Tote.

2.  The specials panels - FAIL...  still sitting in the WIP box...
3.  Sirrius  -  This is a finish, but its a finish for mum so if this entry wins anythin I promise cross my heart it will go to mum!

4.  Soda pop.  Dammit this is a finish... there was nothing in the rules concerning what quality or standard of finish was required, and it IS a finished quilt, just not a very good one, it just has bits that are going to need fixed....

5.  the Embroidery rolls - FAIL.  What's more, they're never going to happen.  Well, I love mine, but there are so many other patterns out there and looking at them I'd choose to make them over mine any day so, no, not gonna.
6.  EPP cushion.  Done, sent, recieved and I do believe liked!

7.  Supercute girly cushion for besties wee angel, done :-)  Girly enough for you?!

8.  The last mini.  Done.  Nuff said. 

What a shame I stupidly said
                 "And I have my own Stained II to finish but I'm not putting it on the list cos that seems to jinx                                it..."
Cos its done and now I cant include it...  Oh well, I am still relieved to have finished it.  

Six out of Eight!  That'll do pig, that'll do.