Christmas Gifts part 5


By Judith on November 8, 2011
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Information on the November Bee Blessed block can be found here.
Christmas isn’t complete without a wee stocking, or two.
These mini ones make great gifts, either just by themselves, or filled with all manner of goodies!

They are approx. 10″ in height and fun and quick to make, depending on how decorative you want them to be.  And another great way to use up smaller scraps!
And speaking of small pieces of fabric, last week I received my Christmas Charm pack, from the swap organised by the lovely Emily.
There are 2 squares of every fabric you see here!
56 squares of yumminess to play with!  
I just can’t decide what to make with them!  At the moment I’m leaning towards a table runner for my dining room table, which at Christmas time becomes ridiculously long (good ‘ol IKEA!).
Judith xo

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November Bee Blessed Block


By Judith on November 7, 2011
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It’s that time again when we change the block for Bee Blessed Quilts.

Thanks again to those of you who are quilting along with us.  We v.much appreciate your support and contributions.

If you are new to my blog, you are more than welcome to join in our charity quilting Bee and donate some blocks or fabric.  A group of us will then meet every 3 weeks to make up the quilts and gift them to needy local families in Belfast.

This month we will be making Log Cabin blocks.
The measurements and tutorial is below, but first here are the criteria for the blocks:
* We are making these for folks who are senior/elderly & female, so the key words here for fabrics are ‘soft’ and ‘traditional/vintage’.
* For the centre square, please choose a fabric that contrasts with the others, so that it stands out a little.
* For the outer row of ‘logs’ please make this up in all the same fabric, giving a type of border to the block.
* The other ‘logs’ can be as varied as you wish.

Tutorial:  This is the ‘trim as you go’ log cabin method.
Please assume scant 1/4″ seam throughout.
 
You will need 1 x 3.5″ square for the centre, 2″ strips of varying lengths for the middle 2 rows, and 4 x 2.5″ strips for the outer border.
 
1. I find it helpful to roughly layout my design in advance, to get a good idea of colour balance etc.  There are 3 rows of ‘logs’ around the centre square, incl. the outer border.
2. When you are happy with your design, take the centre square and the

first strip & sew right sides together.  Don’t worry if your first strip is too long.  After sewing it to the centre square, iron the seam away from the centre and trim to same length as square.

 

3. Now put a safety pin in the first ‘log’ to mark it as the starting strip.
4. Attach the next strip by sewing it down the right hand side of the centre square & first strip.  Again iron the seams away from the centre and trim to size.
Continue adding the remaining 2 strips in a clockwise direction around the centre square.

When round 1 is complete you may want to square the piece before adding round 2.
The seams should all be lying away from the centre.
5. Start attaching round 2 by sewing a ‘log’ above the strip with the pin in it.

 6. When you have ironed & trimmed this log, move the safety pin to this log – this is now the starting log of round 2.
7.   Continue rounds 2 & 3 the same as steps 2-6 above.   Remember to move the safety pin onto the ‘first strip’ at the start of each round, & square the piece after each round.

8.    By the end of round 3, iron & trim the piece to measure 12.5” square.

Have fun with this block (it’s one of my favourites!).
Looking forward to seeing what you create, and don’t forget to post pics of your blocks in the Bee Blessed Flickr group!

Judith xo

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Today!


By Judith on November 6, 2011
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Today was the most beautiful Autumnal day!

Stomont Castle

Lord Carson & a few other wanabees!

Imagine your driveway being 1 mile long!!

It was almost too bright to be photographing quilts outside ……
… but I wanted to show you a better pic of the 2nd D9P quilt Bee Blessed made yesterday.
Tune in tomorrow for the November Bee Blessed block details!
Hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday!

Judith xo

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Scaffolding & Squares!


By Judith on November 5, 2011
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We have had the most beautiful weather the past few days!  It’s definitely getting colder, but I love the delicious mix of cold air and clear, blue sky.
Sadly, the view outside my window at the moment isn’t very beautiful!
Last week rain water starting coming in through the ceiling (we’ve had LOTS of rain lately!), so we had to call in our trusty builders to get to the root of the problem.  So that meant this week, I had children off school for half term, 3 classes, a birthday tea for my mum, 3 builders, lots of scaffolding & a dog going mental at the ladders and strange men invading her territory!
Not much work done then!
However, I did manage to get Hadley’s Brit Bee (monster) block done:
I love the colours and design Hadley has chosen for her quilt – it’s going to be a stunner!
And today was all about fun and blessings.
Not many pics to show you of our November gathering of Bee Blessed, but we did get our final cot quilt bound & labeled, a 2nd D9P lap quilt top completed ….
…binding & labels made and a baby mat progressed with the leftover blocks.  Well done ladies – we did good!
I promise to bring you more pictures when we next meet.
Thanks again to all my blogging friends for contributing D9P blocks so far.  I know there are still a few more to come in, and they will most certainly be used!
I will soon be posting the tutorial on our next block so watch this space.
Hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

Judith xo

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Jelly Rolling!


By Judith on November 3, 2011
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My Jelly Roll Quilt class finished tonight!  6 weeks of laughter, creativity, and of course amazing quilts.

There were 4 more quilts, not pictured, and sadly my photography does not do justice to the stunning colours and amazing quilting detail in these gems.

Well done ladies!  You’ve been a wonderful group and I hope your quilts will be a blessing to those who get the privilege of using them.

Judith xo

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The Value of Charms


By Judith on November 1, 2011
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Firstly some post news!
November heralds the turn of my hilariously funny bloggy friend Hadley in our monthly Brit Bee.
My wee fabric package arrived in style yesterday with instructions on how to make a 24″ block!!!  
The fabrics are gorgeous and the design is stunning, so I don’t have anything to worry about (only a million hsts to match up!).
And speaking of hsts, I sewed 80 of them together over the weekend to get this:
Too big for my design board!
This is a value quilt/wallhanging I want to put up in my bedroom.  Although I just used some scrappy 5″ squares (including some items of clothing!) I sized the design specifically so that it can be made from 2 charm packs, a patterned one and a solid one (it might make it’s way into my programme of classes one day!).  
I’m really enjoying making this – however, I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to retain accurate points on every sewn hst, without a cutting device like the GO! Baby.  Despite accurate cutting, starching, sewing and painstaking trimming, some of my points just don’t match up!  More practise needed me thinks!
I’m not too bothered with this particular quilt, because it’s for me, but if I was making it for someonelse I wouldn’t feel able to hand it over!

So just the border to add, and then I can get quilting. 

The sun is shining this morning, after a horrendous day of torrential rain yesterday.  The kids are off so no doubt it will be down to the park later with tennis rackets in hand!
Early morning sunshine!
Have a great Tuesday, whatever you get up to!

Judith xo

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Tea Anyone?


By Judith on October 30, 2011
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Firstly let me say ‘thank you’ to all of you who gave me helpful tips, suggestions and links for my Civil War Quilt dilemma.  I am thoroughly armed now with great information & resources to take this project to the next stage.
I was recently given a gorgeous wee gift by my bloggy friend Karen (Listen to the Birds Sing).

It’s a Tea Bag pouch/case to keep in your handbag for those occasions when you’re in someone else’s house, and offered bog-standard tea!  
With one of these handy pouches, you can be all snobby and whip out your favourite Rooibos or Earl Grey!  (Just for the record I love bog standard tea – the stronger the better!)
I thought one of these would be perfect for my mum.  
It’s her birthday next week and she only drinks Earl Grey.  When she visits me, I stick the kettle on – cue mum rifling around the bottom of her handbag looking for a wayward E.G. Teabag!

I thought mum might like a wee Liberty one to match her Boxy Bag:

But because they were so quick to make, I got a bit carried away and made a few more!

Well I guess I have a few extra Christmas pressies sorted!

Keep your eye on Karen’s blog for a tutorial on how to make these!

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What a Cutie!


By Judith on October 29, 2011
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Earlier this year I was commissioned to make a cot quilt, and yesterday I received some wonderful pics via email:
Isn’t he a cutie?  Joshua was born earlier this year, but the quilt was made before he was born.
His mum has told me that he loves looking at the Farmyard pictures and playing on his quilt.  It was such a treat to receive these lovely photos, and to see my quilt being loved and enjoyed.  
Also this week I received some items I’d ordered to help me hatch a plan!
My Dad will be 70 in February, he is a creative person (it was his mum who started me on her old Singer Treadle machine) and has always appreciated my quilts.
But aren’t men so hard to make for?
The old grey matter has been working over time, and I’ve come up with an idea!  Because my dad has always been interested in military history, particularly the American Civil war, I thought for the front of the quilt I’d make some blocks from this book:
This book is similar to the Farmer’s Wife Book, where actual diary extracts are included alongside blocks, by women who experienced first hand both sides of the civil war in the 1860’s.
And for the back of the quilt, I’m going to ask all my siblings, their partners and children to write messages with fabric pens, which I will sew together & make into the quilt back.
Need to post some of these to the English  relatives!
My only problem is sourcing some civil war type fabric – which of course is readily available in the States, but not so much here.  
I’m after some muted reds, blues, tans and creams but don’t want to get slammed extra for customs, so any advice anyone can give me here would be gratefully appreciated.

Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend so far!

Judith xo

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Wonky Cushions!


By Judith on October 28, 2011
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My Wonky Cushion class finished today.  This design was a ‘positive/negative’ front and back, with a hidden zipper in the bottom.
Just take a look at these beauties!

Ooooh the concentration!

A couple of cushions didn’t quite get finished, but you can tell they are going to be stunning!
Well done ladies – you did great!
And before I leave you, a pic of the most scrumptious chocolate cake we’ve been enjoying with the birthday girl!
Tonight a clatter of teenage girls have arrived to eat pizza, ice cream and lots more junk food, and then sleepover (eventually).
Me?  A night in with my 4 favourite men – hubby, Ben, Jerry & Tom (Hanks)!
Have a great weekend!

Judith xo

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Sweet 16!


By Judith on October 27, 2011
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My baby is 16 today!
Shannon is my first born, and she is growing into a beautiful, mature, talented young woman.
I’m in awe of her strength of character, hard work ethic and creativity.

Have a wonderful birthday my precious girl!

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Toastie Toes!


By Judith on October 26, 2011
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I’ve been so tired recently in the evenings that I’ve been forcing myself away from the sewing room (& the computer – failed there!) to sit downstairs, watch telly, eat chocolate (not much forcing needed!) and crochet.
I recently crocheted a hat (my first ever hat!) for a bloggy friend, but forgot to take pics of it.  I was pleased with how it turned out & my kids didn’t hold back in their feedback on how ridiculous it looked on me (I don’t suit hats at all!).
Some time ago I started a pattern for bed socks (I know, I’m a Granny at 40!) just because I’d never made socks before.
After the buoyancy of my hat finish, I regrouped and got the tricky socks out again.  
And voila!
My feet aren’t as big as the Ship Yards they look like here!
I’m really pleased with them, even though the cream wools are different (I ran out half way through!), one of the heels is wonky, and one sock is longer than the other (ahhhh the incognito wonders of photography!).
I might keep these as a wee stocking filler for one of my daughters who LOVES bedsocks and slipper socks (they could be used for either they’re so snuggly).
So 2 new crochet projects attempted and completed. 
Mmmmmm, what shall I do next?
Have a great Wednesday!

Judith xo

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Christmas Gifts Part 4


By Judith on October 25, 2011
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If you have a small gift you would like to give someone, but it looks a bit pathetic all on it’s own, how about putting it in one of these cute gift bags?
Finished size: 10″x7″
These easy makes can be up or down sized depending on what you want to put in them.  I love to buy the old fashioned jars of sweets to put in these – another great teacher’s pressie!
Or how about some novelty socks for that man in your life who is so difficult to buy for!!!
The drawstring channel can be made with ribbon, or you can make your own channel with co-ordinating fabric.
And they don’t have to be made in Christmas fabric either!

Fill your gift bags with cosmetics, smellies, sweets and treats!

The possibilities are endless!

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Christmas Gifts Part 3


By Judith on October 24, 2011
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I have 2 Christmas Gifts classes this year, each lasting 3 weeks.
So I wanted to give folks a variety of gifts to choose from, that were fun and easy to make.
Yes my kitchen is red!
Potholders make great gifts because lots of us love to accessorise our kitchens, and the infinite range of designs possible make these versatile too.
I use Insul Bright heat resistant wadding in my potholders & trivets, so they are functional and practical, as well as stylish.
My pot holders finish up approx. 10″.  They are a great wee project for using up scraps of fabric.

You can also have lots of fun experimenting with different quilting techniques on these mini quilts.

I hope these will inspire the lovely ladies who come to class this year. 

Have a lovely start to the week (despite the awful weather!).

Judith xo

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A Bee-rilliant Afternoon!


By Judith on October 22, 2011
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Another gathering of Bee Blessed happened today!  
We had enough blocks donated in time to make up this beauty:
We also beavered away on more D9P blocks from our scraps box (there are lots more incomplete ones too!):
Sorry about the rubbish pics!
And we are making a special quilt for a friend’s husband who is seriously ill at the moment.  Instead of using white in the D9P we are using trusty Kona Ash:
We were also quilting & finishing off some of the cot quilts from last month & I’ll bring you pics of those when they’re all done.
And no Bee Blessed day would be complete without tea, homemade scones, brownies and lots of chat!

Some of the workforce!
So a very productive and enjoyable afternoon was had by all!
We will continue to work on D9P blocks for the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to see the promised blocks  I know are still to come from several different parts of the world!  
A huge thank you to everyone for being involved!

Judith xo

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Thank you Bee Blessed Donators!


By Judith on October 19, 2011
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I’m overwhelmed (yet again!) by the generosity and thoughtfulness of my bloggy friends and followers.
This month’s Bee Blessed blocks (D9P) are coming to me from all over the UK and beyond, lovely parcels for me to open.  And I can tell you that I feel blessed in receiving these and sharing them with the ladies who make up the Bee Blessed team.  
Just look at this little lot!

Thank you Terri (Tester) and Helen for the beautiful blocks & fabrics I received from you today.  I’ve put them with the others I’ve received so far, and I know there are more to come!  
Thank you all, and I hope I’ve remembered to thank you all personally (Terri can you email me again, I can’t seem to find your email address).

Your support is so much appreciated and valued.  If you are new to my blog and would like more info on Bee Blessed or how to get involved, click here.

The physical Bee will be meeting on Saturday for lots more sewing (& chatting!) so I will have another update at the weekend.

Have a lovely day!

Judith xo

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Grey in Kona, not in roots!


By Judith on October 18, 2011
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Well I’ve just been down to my lovely sister’s hair & beauty salon and done battle with the old grey roots (again!).  
Kona Ash might be a very ‘in’ look at the moment for us quilters, but not when it comes to the roots of a 40 year old (who still thinks she’s 20!).
I was also bringing down the bags that I’ve made thus far, to sell in the salon.  

They don’t look like much in these rubbish photos!
Thank you everyone for encouraging me through this, and the wonderful feedback about my bags.  I really don’t like selling my wares, I’m way out of my comfort zone here, but the sales of these bags will help me financially, so I just have to get over myself!
I did manage to get another Modern Maud run up yesterday for the sale today, here she is:

I love the texture of the wool in this one!  V.touchy, feely!
 
Before I had left the salon, one of the wee cosmetics bags had sold, so that is encouraging!
I’ll be down again in a month’s time (to do battle with the grey roots again), and will hopefully have some stock to replace those that have sold!

Fingers crossed!

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Giveaway Winner!


By Judith on October 17, 2011
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I am pleased to announce that Mr Random Number Generator has chosen ……………….

 SHEILA!
Sheila said…
Well done Judith, have just been to register for the newsletter.

Congratulations Sheila on being my 100 followers giveaway winner!  These 2 lovely charm packs will be winging their way to you shortly!

Lastly, I forgot to show you yesterday the full picture of the mugrug I made for Karen (Listen to the Birds Sing) for hosting our lovely Kind Stitches day.

Hope you all have a great start to the new week!

Judith xo

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A day of Kind Stitches


By Judith on October 16, 2011
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Yesterday I spent a lovely day in the North Coast countryside with 2 lovely people.
My friend Sarah and I drove up to Karen’s house to spend the day sewing blocks and quilt tops for Karen’s Kind Stitches Charity.
The surroundings were stunning, the food & hospitality was amazing (thank you K) and of course the chat was constant!
But we also got some sewing done!
Remember the Wot Nots? L-R Sarah, Karen, Me
Many of you have been contributing 6.5″ blocks to Karen over the past weeks, and we managed to get a girl’s quilt top finished and a boy’s quilt top almost finished (there are more incriminating pics on Karen’s blog!).
These will eventually be non-wadded quilts for children who have been trafficked in Thailand, and Karen will take them out herself in November.
Thank you Karen for a wonderful day!
For more info on this wonderful charitable project, check out Karen’s blog.
And I’ll leave you with a pic of the fabric I’m contributing to Strawberry Patch‘s Christmas Fabric Charm Swap:
Wallpaper in Red, England Swings by Rebekah Merkl
This lovely fabric & the England Swings Collection is available from River Fabrics.

There are 28 of us each sending a metre’s worth of 5″ squares (56) to Emily, who will mix them all up and send us back 56 different charm squares!
Great idea and my first fabric swap.  
I haven’t a notion what I’m going to make with these charm squares, maybe I’ll be inspired when I have them all in my hand.  
You can check out the fabrics that others in the group are donating here.

Take it easy!

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Brit Bee Blocks for Miss October


By Judith on October 14, 2011
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This week I finished my Brit Bee Blocks for Miss October (aka Laura Jane).  LJ had the inspired idea of theming her month with stars, any stars at all (because we are all stars in her eyes – bless!).

So after much researching my small collection of books, and online, I came up with these:

The ‘Orbit’ star

Spider’s Web

I was nervous about jumping straight into LJs fabrics with new patterns, especially as I had to do some re-sizing (& Carol Voderman I am not!).  So I did practise blocks.

This one is foundation pieced Orbit star, and of course the practise block went like a dream, no hiccups whatsoever!

Until it came to the real thing!  

Foundation piecing is known for fabric waste, and I didn’t want to waste any of LJs fabrics, especially as I had 2 x 12.5″ blocks to get out of the gorgeous fabrics.  So some of the finished seams are smaller than 1/4 “, but they are all hidden behind the foundation fabric, and securely sewn.  So I’m hoping they’ll pass.

The 2nd block is called Spider’s Web, based on this tutorial.  Again I had some resizing issues, but my trial half block soon put me right.  

I love the scrappiness of this pattern, and while you need 4 of these blocks together to really appreciate the spider’s web effect, I think it’s a lovely star block in it’s own right.  I can just see some perle cotton hand quilting going on inside the white star!

I got my siggy block* made too, all parcelled up and ready to twinkle their way to LJ.

(* A siggy block is a signature block, a small square with details of the person who made the block i.e. name, town, Bee, date.  Everyone in the Bee makes one each month for the person whose month it is.  They then have 11 siggys to piece into the back of their quilt as a record of all the contributors to the quilt. See here for an easy peasy tutorial.)

Have a fab Friday!

Judith xo

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Christmas Gifts – Part 2


By Judith on October 13, 2011
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Details of my Celebration Giveaway can be found here.  Giveaway closes Monday 17th October.

Ok, here is my 2nd project for my Christmas Gifts classes to make:


You’ve seen me make some of these tissue pouches before.  Once you get the hang of the pattern, they are so quick and easy to make, and a great way to recycle smaller pieces of fabric. 

There is no wadding in these, and you can decorate them how you like.

I like to fill mine with novelty packets of tissues, but I’m finding them hard to come by these days!  I will have to take a trip to a few garden centres to see if I can pick up some funny ones!



These are also the perfect size for storing mobile phones.
I hope to soon have a Christmas Gifts Part 3, when I get more things made, so watch this space!


Have a great day!


Judith xo

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Christmas Gifts – Part 1


By Judith on October 12, 2011
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Details of my Celebration Giveaway can be found here.  Giveaway closes Monday 17th October.

There’s something about Christmas time that brings out the excited inner child in us all.  

For me, I love the smells of Christmas, spicy cinnamon & orange candles, fresh pines from the tree, home baked mince pies and shortbread. Mmmmm!
So it’s time for me to get ready for my Christmas classes! Folks who come along to class have already been asking me with excited anticipation ‘what will we be making?’.
I have scheduled in 3 weeks this year for making Christmas Gifts.  These will be small items that are quick to make and can be varied and adapted to suit the intended recipient.  
I like to give my class a choice of what they can make, so this week I’ll share with you some of the ideas I’ll be teaching.
First up, a different kind of mugrug:

Last year I came across this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for the Hostess Box.  I asked permission from the designer Jennifer Casa & Sew Mama Sew to adapt the pattern and teach it in class.  Permission was v.kindly granted and so I got to work downsizing the pattern to come up with this mini hostess box.

The box is held in place with velcro, but these wee boxes could easily be makes in themselves, filled with yummy sweets (I particularly like fudge!) and given to teachers as end of term pressies.

And the mugrug could be any design you like.  
I think kids would love these too filled with their favourite sweeties! Jxo
So there you have it!  My Christmas Gifts part 1.  Tune in tomorrow for part 2!
Have a great Wednesday!
Judith xo

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Giveaway Celebration!


By Judith on October 10, 2011
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Hello peeps!
I haven’t been blogging for a few days because I had a lovely friend from England over to stay the weekend.
And guess what happened last week when I wasn’t looking?  
I passed the 100 followers milestone!  Yippee!  Thanks everyone for hanging in there with me through the moans, groans, successes and disasters!
To celebrate I’ve teamed up with the lovely Julia from Gone to Earth to offer my wonderful peeps some yummy goodies. 
Gone To Earth offers all the latest designer fabrics, as well as yarn, sewing & knitting patterns, tutorials and more!  Well worth a visit.
So take a look at what you might get:
View the full collection here.
And …..
View the full collection here.
So, to be in with a chance of winning BOTH of these charm packs here’s what you need to do:
1. Pop on over to Gone To Earth and subscribe to their newsletter.  Then come back here and tell me you did.
That’s it – painless, wasn’t it?
I purposely don’t ask folks to become followers just to enter a giveaway, but if you are genuinely interested in my blog, then I’d love to have you listed as a follower and I always try to revisit the blogs of my followers.

I will choose the winner on Monday 17th October with the help of Mr Random Number Generator.  Please check if you are a ‘no reply comment blogger’ on your blog settings as I won’t be able to reply to you.
Best of luck everyone!

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Headless Chicken-itis!


By Judith on October 6, 2011
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You know what I meant, right?
Always in a rush, so much to do you don’t have time to pick your nose! (euuuuh!)
Anyway, the mornings when I’m not teaching is precious sewing time.  I only teach 2 mornings a week, but you can guarantee they’re the days the postman arrives with parcels, and instead leaves delightful red cards!
That was yesterday. 2 red cards.
So this morning I had to pick up some fabric, then go to 2 different postal depots to get parcels (one being my daughter’s long awaited new mobile phone).  And it wouldn’t do for these 3 places to be in close proximity to each other – oh no.
Well I got one of the parcels (see below), drove through the howling wind and rain to the other depot (which was in the back end of beyond), only to be told the delivery guy had it in his van and was delivering it now, while I’m standing in the warehouse!  ‘NO ONE IS AT HOME’ I wanted to scream!  I had specifically rang the depot yesterday and asked them NOT to redeliver it but that I would come pick it up.  
So I hared off in the car, picked up the fabric, broke a few speed limits and got home in time to graciously receive the parcel with a smile on my face and a knife behind my back!  Only joking!  It was a chain-saw!

I did eventually get to my lovely Pfaff today, but first let me show you what was in one of the packages.
Elephants & cupcakes – what could be better!
One of my lovely Flickr friends and fellow Brit Bee member, Terri, made some gorgeous wonky stars for Bee Blessed. Thanks so much Terri for these, they will most certainly be a wonderful addition to a cot quilt top and a blessing to a little one when the quilt is passed on.
Terri also sent me some gorgeous crochet trim from a table cloth, which I am saving for a special project.  Watch this space!
I’m getting ready to bring stock down to my sister’s salon next week (check out her fab website), for the start of my handbag sale.  I’m at that place when I think ‘why did I ever think this was a good idea’!
Here’s another boxy bag I managed to get finished:

And some cosmetics pouches (am hoping to get more of these done!).

Finally, a sneaky peak at a wee something for someone!

I’m off now to make tea and get ready for class tonight.
My friend is coming to stay for the weekend, so I might not be blogging much.

Hope you all have a creative and productive one!

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Bee Blessed – the next block!


By Judith on October 5, 2011
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Thank you so much to everyone who made wonky stars for our first Bee Blessed project.
So far we have received over 60 blocks, from 5 different countires, and have made 3 cot quilt tops so far, which we are in the process of quilting and binding.  We have a few blocks left over and know that a few more are still to come in, so we may even have a 4th quilt top!  How fab is that?

For our next project we will be making disappearing 9 patch blocks. 

This will probably be either for an adult or a family.  We aren’t setting a colour code this time around, we only ask that the 4 ‘sliced’ squares be plain white (no white on white) as shown in the tutorial below.
As always the unfinished block should be squared to 12.5″.
D9P Tutorial:  Assume scant 1/4″ seams throughout
1. Cut 4 x 4.75″ plain white squares and 5 x 4.75″ coloured squares.
2. Lay these out in rows of 3 to get a simple 9 patch (the centre coloured square will end up as the 4 mini squares).
3. Sew  the squares together in rows.
4. Take the rows to the ironing board and iron the seams as follows:
    Top row: iron seams OUT away from the white square
    Middle row: iron seams IN towards the centre coloured square
    Bottom row: iron seams OUT away from white square
5. Now lay the top row on top of the middle row, right sides together, and butt the intersecting seams (they should fit snuggly together because the seams are lying in opposite directions).  Pin the intersections.

6. Sew the rows together, and then repeat step 5 for the remaining bottom row.
Take care as you sew over the seams that are underneath and ‘hidden’.  Make sure they don’t ‘flip’ as you sew over them.
7. Iron the 2 seams away from the centre.
8. Now take your piece to the cutting mat, find the halfway point and slice in half.
9. Turn the 2 pieces around, find the halfway point and slice in half again.
10. Rotate 2 opposite pieces 180 degrees to separate out the small centre squares.
11.  Sew the top 2 pieces together, and then the bottom 2 pieces.
12.  Take both pieces to the ironing board and iron one joining seam going in one direction and the other joining seam going in the opposite direction.
13. Lay the 2 pieces rights sides together, and butt the centre seams together & pin.
14. Sew the 2 pieces together and iron this last seam OPEN.

15. Trim the block to 12.5″ & stand back and admire your work!

Thank you so much in advance of your support for Bee Blessed and taking the time to make a block or two.
Don’t forget to post pictures of your blocks in the Flickr group.
If you don’t already have my postal address, just drop me a wee email & I’ll send it to you.

Have a great Wednesday!

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2 Faced in Print


By Judith on October 3, 2011
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Remember this?
 

This cushion is called ‘2 Faced’ and I made it to teach at my Oasis class.
Well now it’s in here:

September issue of Irish Quilting – there’s even a photo of me at the start of the magazine!  Although I’m not really from Co.Tyrone, as printed!!!
One more thing to show you.
A lovely lady from my Oasis class had major surgery a few weeks ago, and won’t be able to come to class for a few months.
The others in the class wanted to give her something, so I made this basket and we filled it up with lots of smellies and goodies.

This is an upsized version of Ayumi’s mini basket.

She now has the basket in her safe keeping & I’m told she loved it.  

We miss her and wish her a speedy recovery.

Happy Monday one and all!

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A day of Blessings!


By Judith on October 2, 2011
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Yesterday was definitely a day of blessings!
While I was rushing around like a headless chicken getting ready for our 2nd gathering of Bee Blessed, Mr Postie delivered a sizeable package, all the way from Galway.
As I was opening it I was thinking ‘it can’t be; it can’t be!’ and it was!
…my 2nd Small Goodie Swap from none other than super swap Mama Cindy (Fluffy Sheep Quilting)!
Cindy very wisely ditched the colour criteria I had given way back at the sign ups stage, and went with her gut.
She quickly realised we both liked a lot of the same things, so she made these gorgeous items which she loves just as much as I do!
Aren’t they adorable?  My eldest daughter was with me when I opened Cindy’s parcel and immediately fell in love with this snap closure pouch!  And the mugrug is so clever because it is reversible!  And as if that wasn’t goodie enough, I also got this cute brooch in an even cuter wee box, a yummy fq of Amy Butler (not in pic) and a box of tea (Cindy knows I like my caffeine in the form of tea)!
Thank you so much to my new bloggy friend Cindy, for making for me, wrapping them all so beautifully, and organising a super small goodie swap!
If you’ve never visited Cindy’s blog, I’d highly recommend it – she makes the loveliest things and is running a series on ‘Start Your Own’ on Thursdays, where guest bloggers who’ve set up their own businesses share ideas and inspiration.  Well worth a look!
Another blog well worth a look is my blogging buddy Susan (Canadian Abroad).  Susan not only writes hilarious posts, she makes gorgeous things and is currently doing a giveaway of 8 Punctuation fqs.  Hop on over for a chuckle and a chance to win.
Finally, a huge blessing came yesterday in the form of our gathering of Bee Blessed.  10 of us squished round Sarah’s dining room table to turn all the amazing wonky star blocks that have been donated into cot sized quilt tops.

No.1 Girl Quilt

No.2 Girl quilt

No.1 Boy Quilt

No. 2 Boy Quilt
This last quilt top was kindly donated by Susan, which was quilted yesterday.
If you don’t happen to see one of your stars in these quilts, don’t worry.  We had a few left over which we are going to keep and either make up into cushions or another small quilt, so absolutely nothing will be wasted.
The team worked liked trojans yesterday – thank you all of you for investing in this project.  Next time we will get these lovelies quilted, bound and washed, ready for handing over to their new homes.  
For those of you keen to get started on another block, I will be posting details soon – watch this space!

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A welcome roundup!


By Judith on September 30, 2011
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Today saw the end of my Welcome Wallhanging class.  Here are a few of the finished ones:

For most of the ladies, this was their first introduction to free motion quilting, and they thoroughly enjoyed this sketching technique.  
Well done girls for being brave and trying something new!  The results are amazing!  Display with pride & big cheesy grins!

Tomorrow is our 2nd meet up of the Bee Blessed group.  We will be piecing together many of the wonky star blocks we have received and made.  Thank you everyone for donating stars – from all over the world (I received 2 today from Morocco!).  I’m really excited about showing you the pictures of the pieced quilts.
I also received these lovelies in the post today:

There’s something retro 70’s about these prints I think!  Or is that just me feeling my age today?

Laura Jane is Miss October in our Brit Bee, and has themed this month as STAR month.  We get to do whatever we want, as long as it is something to do with stars.  Can’t wait!  And thanks LJ for the treats too (what’s the betting I won’t get any as soon as my 3 see them!!).

And last, but not least, a glimpse of a wee charm pack pattern I’m working on (test driving it out on some of the scrappy charms I won from Pickle Dish a while ago – love these colours).

There will be another row down the right hand side – my design board isn’t big enough!

Happy Friday everyone!

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Introducing ….. The Boxy Bag


By Judith on September 29, 2011
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The final instalment in my bag series is The Boxy Bag.

This one was gifted to my mum on Mother’s Day earlier this year.
I use stiff denim for these bags, because it holds the wonderful boxy structure.
This pattern came about almost by accident!  It’s actually taken from the Modern Maud pattern template and I had a moment earlier this year of ‘I wonder what would happen if I did this ….’  and so the Boxy Bag was born!
My mum uses hers for transporting her books around.  They are bigger than those trendy ‘lunch box’ style bags that you see about, and are v.sturdy.
A stylish yet practical bag.
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my wee bag series.  In a few weeks time these lovelies (& more) will be destined for my sister’s salon, hopefully to find new owners!

Have a fab Friday!

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Introducing ….. 'Martha May'


By Judith on September 28, 2011
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We are now day 3 into my wee bag series.
Say hello to ‘Martha May’!

A zippered version

Same pockets on the back as the front

More IKEA fabric!!

These 2 are slightly smaller than Modern Maud, and are actually the result of my playing around with the Bag for Life pattern I sketched out (it’s amazing what you end up with compared to what you start with!).
So what do you think of the new addition to the family?

In other news, yesterday I received my first Small Goodie Swap parcel – all the way from Australia!

Just look at all these lovelies, incl. Denise Schmidt scraps – yum!

The back of the mugrug is as gorgeous as the front!
Thank you Kat for these gorgeous and beautifully made gifts.  When I first saw the pics of them on flickr I almost shouted at the computer ‘pleeeease be mine’, and was gob-smacked when I opened the parcel!  I think I’m the envy of one or two other swap members in the group, tee hee!
We each get 2 parcels in this swap, so I’ve still got one more to look forward to.  Hmmmm, I wonder who it will be from?

And last but not least, I’ve signed up to Emily’s (Strawberry Patch) Christmas Charm Swap.

Emily needs 28 participants, each to purchase a meter of fabric and cut it into 56 charm squares of 5″. We then post the fabric to her, Emily mixes them up and sends us back 28 different prints with 2 squares of each!  Sounds fab doesn’t it?  Now Emily doesn’t yet have 28 people signed up yet, and we can’t run the swap with less than 28, so pleeeeeese hop on over to Emily’s and get signed up. 

And when you do, you’ll have lovely fabrics to get working on the irresistible swap over at Susan’s blog Canadian Abroad!

Phew!  I think that’s all I need to tell you about today.  Have good one whatever you get up to!

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Introducing ….. 'Joanie'


By Judith on September 27, 2011
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Ok, so this is post no.2 on my bag series this week.
I’ve just the one Joanie to show you – she was v.time consuming and demanding to make, as I was adapting a pattern as I went!

This mustard velour wasn’t easy to work with, but it’s super soft and so tactile, you would be forgiven for just wanting to sit and stroke this bag!

The sturdy IKEA fabric adds structure to the bag, and as always, the base is reinforced.

Joanie is really a first cousin of Maud because I adapted the Maud pattern to get this design.
This is a good tip for all you prospective bag makers out there, start with your first pattern design, and then make changes and adapt it here and there to get a new design and a brand new bag. 

I would like to get another Joanie done for the sale in a few weeks time, just so she doesn’t feel like ‘Billy No Mates!’

Well, that’s your intro to Joanie, hope you like her!

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Introducing …… 'Modern Maud'


By Judith on September 26, 2011
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I thought I’d delay the suspense no longer and show you what I’ve been working on the past few weeks.
I’ve decided to sell a few things in my sister’s hair/beauty salon in the run up to Christmas.  First up is ‘Modern Maud’:

zippered inner pocket
Maud was the name of my Grandmother, whose cast iron treadle Singer got me started sewing as a child (I didn’t use an electric machine until I was 30!).
So I thought it fitting to name a bag after her.  I made this pattern last year, but have added a few wee extras, like a zippered pocket in the blue cord version, reinforced handles & base.
I’ve used some IKEA fabrics in these new bags, as well as wadding & some recycled materials (you know me!).  These 2 bags are spacious and sturdy and would make great shopping or book bags.
Hope you like them, and more importantly, I hope they sell!  

Next instalment of ‘Introducing …’ tomorrow.  Have a wonderful start to your week.

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A Glorious Day!


By Judith on September 24, 2011
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The sunshine does my soul good!
It’s been another glorious day here, sunny, breezy at times, and even warm!
In our house today there has been cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing & gardening – and it’s still the afternoon!
Here’s what I got done today:

I got the back finished for my Across the Sea QAL cot quilt.  I wanted to keep a wee bit of white around the crosses so they wouldn’t completely disappear into the solid blue.  Although if I was doing the bordered cross again, I would have those outer white tips blue!
Can anyone tell me why the back is so much bigger than the front?  I know that Nicky found this the case too!  Are we Numpty’s Utd, or is there a logical reason?
My youngest daughter (10) loves to sew and is a natural on the sewing machine.  

Under my supervision, she made this mugrug for herself, choose all the fabrics from my scraps, pieced it, & quilted it with a variegated thread, having lots of fun using Mr Pfaff’s more decorative side!

The cupcakes were made today by my eldest daughter!
And I can now reveal who one of my Small Goodie Swap partners was, cos she opened her parcel from me today!
Do you remember these?
Jan (Isisjem) got her parcel during the week and her mum hid it from her until opening day today! The blue handbag in the middle is based on Jan’s 241 tote bag that she made recently.

Hop on over to the flickr group to see the full package that Jan received (my daughter made her a cupcake pin topper which was v.cute!).

Well that’s all for now!

I hope you are having a great weekend, wherever you are!

Ooops!  Almost forgot to tell you that my Glorious Day today started with an email from Cindy telling me I’d won a Saffron Craig $25 voucher as part of Cindy’s Start Your Own Series.  Thanks Cindy!  

If you’ve ever thought about starting up a wee business, check out Cindy’s guest blogger interviews – v.informative.  


Bye for now!

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Use Every Wee Bit!


By Judith on September 23, 2011
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Well it’s the end of a busy week!
I don’t know about you, but I’m pooped!  But I’m pleased to say we’ve had some gorgeous, sunny days here in N.I. this week, and there’s a lovely Autumn feel to the air!
As always, the things I’ve been working on this week I can’t show you yet (soon I promise!), so I’m going to give you a wee tute on how to use up every last wee bit of fabric shavings, you know those bits that end up all over your cutting mat after trimming blocks and hsts?
We’ll here’s a cool way to turn them into a new type of fabric.  
As far as I know this product doesn’t have an official name – I learnt it at college and it wasn’t called anything then, but if you know the official name of this craft, please let me know.
1. Save up your fabric shavings & wee bits of offcuts that are too small to be useful (you can also cut up wee bits of fluffy wool, ribbon, sparkly threads etc.).
Bigger pieces will need to be snipped down smaller.
 2. Take a piece of plain sheeting/calico and lay a load of shavings on top.  You can colour code your savings as I have done here, or have a multi-coloured mess!  Make sure it’s thick enough to cover the backing fabric, but not too thick to sew over.
3. Lay a piece of water soluble fabric over the top and pin/sew round the edges.  This stuff is really cool – you can get different brands in a craft shop or online.  I’ve used Avalon Water Soluble Embroidery Fabric by Madeira.
4. Now sew, sew, sew over the top of the w.s.fabric, either by free motion quilting or straight & wavy lines all over.  Try not to leave any big gaps where the shavings can later escape from.
5. When you have stitched this to within an inch of its life, take the pins out and under a luke warm tap or in a sink/basin, allow the w.s.fabric to melt away (it goes a bit slimy as it melts off so rinse it well).
6.  Give your new piece of fabric a good squeeze to get the water out and then allow it to dry on the radiator.
7.  When dry, draw your desired shapes on the back and cut out.  If you want to, sew more stitching on top to highlight details, for example veins in leaves, or sew on beads, sequins etc.
8. You can now use your fabric shapes to embellish/decorate cards, cushions, make letters or Christmas decorations etc. etc. The possibilities are endless!
Another way to use this wonderful water soluble fabric is to roughly sketch a shape on to it & then put it into an embroidery hoop.  Repeated sewing and shading with thread will close all the gaps, so that when you take the fabric off the hoop and dissolve the w.s.fabric you are left with a completely embroidered shape.

Have fun & let your imagination run wild!

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Wee Blocks!


By Judith on September 21, 2011
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I love the opportunities that this blogging community offers us to help and care for others.
A friend of mine, Karen (Listen to the Birds Sing) is a very talented patchworker, who is going to Thailand in November.  Karen is appealing for block donations for patchworked bed covers she is bringing out for the child victims of sex trafficking.  Have a look at her original post here, launching her charity bee Kind Stitches.
These wee blocks are super quick and easy to make (only 6.5″).  Why not rustle up a few for Karen, and have a look at what others have made in the flickr group.
Here’s a few I’ve made:

Today I was on the receiving end of this blogging community goodness.

Thank you to Leanne for these fab wonky star blocks for Bee Blessed, all the way from Canada, and the adorable coasters for me and Sarah!  
I saw these on Leanne’s blog when she made them and drooled over them!
Folks from my church are amazed when I tell them that Bee Blessed is supported by blogger friends from all around the world!

Finally, photographic evidence that I have been working on my Across the Sea QAL back.

I really don’t want to apologise for the sun shining in, but it doesn’t make for a great pic!
One of these days I’m going to reveal to you all the other delights I’ve been making and squirrelling away, but I think I’ll hold off a little longer!

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Look Who's Watching!


By Judith on September 19, 2011
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I got my Across the Sea blocks done for the quilt back:
I felt I still needed a wee bit of white in there even though the main background will be this boyish, mid blue.
And look who was watching me the whole time I was sewing!
How brave am I even taking a picture of this critter (I was only about a foot away from it!)?

He’s still in my sewing room somewhere – I can happily live in harmony with spiders as long as they stick to their side of the room!

Happy Monday!

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Finally – 2 finishes!


By Judith on September 18, 2011
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I don’t like not getting things finished.
So it was great getting the fabric I needed yesterday to finish Susan’s Brit Bee blocks for September:
2 really bright Drunkard’s Path blocks!
These will be in the post tomorrow Suz.
I also managed to wade my way through the mess and corduroy shavings in my sewing room and finish the cushion I was working on:
18″ of touchy, feely goodness!
 

I love all that this cushion represents in terms of style and concept; it is very me!  But alas, I can’t keep it.  It will be sold (hopefully) in the weeks to come (more on that another time!).
I also managed to get the bordered block done for the back of the Across the Sea QAL.  Just a couple more small ones to do and I’m up to date.

We’ve had fab weather this weekend in Belfast, so I’ve been out and about doing family stuff rather than hiding myself away in the sewing room too much. 
The work stuff can wait til tomorrow!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend.

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Blown Away!


By Judith on September 17, 2011
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I’ve been completely blown away today by the generosity and thoughtfulness of one of my lovely bloggy friends.
I was waiting for a wee bit more fabric from Susan (Miss September), after I slightly messed up her Brit Bee Blocks.
When I saw the large parcel at the front door today I thought ‘that’s a bit big for 2 wee strips of fabric’!
I eagerly tore through the brown paper wrapping to find lots of lovely goodies – I was speechless!
Of course the fabric I was waiting for was there, as was 2 more Bee Blessed blocks and my PIF (Pay it Forward) gift.

A crocheted purse.  I can’t tell you how adorably soft this is AND it’s fabric lined – exquisite!
Then I opened this fun kids monkey quilt top, all pieced and ready to be quilted and bound (binding also provided!).  Susan is very kindly donating this to Bee Blessed – what a woman!!
The monkeys on the fabric reminded me of the toy sock monkeys that were the rage a while ago – here’s one my daughter made out of a pair of her socks last year!
Isn’t he cute!
At then, I came to a really heavy shoe box, and guess what was inside?
Mmmmm! Delicious!
That’s right, a bucket load of delicious choc chip cookies!! I can honestly say I’ve never received a shoe box of cookies in the post before!  
Susan – you are a legend!  No wonder you were anxiously asking me yesterday had the post arrived!!
I haven’t stopped smiling all day!  Thank you just doesn’t seem to cover this, but I hope my friend Susan knows that she is v.much treasured by me (& many others) and she has truly touched my heart with her friendship, thoughtfulness and personality. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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I'm a Criminal!


By Judith on September 15, 2011
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I had a very busy day yesterday!  
I don’t do busy v.well!  
I get v.tired and cranky (just ask my kids!).
By 6.30pm I had shipped the kids out to their youth group at church and met a friend for coffee in the neighbouring coffee shop.  We had a good old rant about the busyness of life, moody kids etc. etc. and felt much better for it.
So engrossed were we in chatting (and then chatting to others we knew in the shop), we walked out of the coffee shop not realising we hadn’t paid!!
It wasn’t until I was in the car driving home that I realised we had bare facedly walked out of our local community coffee shop without paying.  I almost crashed the car!!  This is the same coffee shop that advertises my classes with a poster in their window!!

Of course the kids thought this was hilarious and took great delight in calling me a criminal.  I telephoned my friend who was still in the vicinity of the shop, and she went back in and paid – phew!

I’m happy to say that today was a lot less dramatic, but no more productive in sewing terms.  I did however get my Across the Sea QAL back pieces cut out (great cutting instructions Sarah – you’re a brain!).

I may or may not put white around the crosses!
At first I wasn’t going to go for a pieced back, but instead put a fleecy back on it.  But then I realised I already have loads of solid blue leftover from my colour brick quilt plus a spare cross block that I didn’t use in the quilt front.  
So my idea now is to make this quilt like a day & night quilt – the front with the white background is day time napping, and the back with the solid blue and darker crosses is for night time napping!  It just adds a little bit of interest, and I really like quilts that have a bit of a story to tell.
I’m teaching again tomorrow, visiting a friend in hospital and then down at church in the evening, so I don’t suppose there’ll be much sewing done tomorrow either.

Roll on Saturday!

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Going Bananas!


By Judith on September 13, 2011
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This is what my sewing room looks like right now (8.25pm)!
What a shocker!
After finishing up yet another handbag this morning (can’t show you pics yet), I needed an injection of creative fun, and this is what it looks like after several hours!  
Mess, mess, mess! You should see the floor – I get so into ‘The Zone’, I no longer even try to aim all those thread & fabric ends into the bin, they get absent mindedly dropped onto the floor!
I’m beginning to think that sewing brings out one’s alter-ego, ‘cos in real life I’m a tidy freak (I know, you’d never know it looking at that horror!).
Still, I had fun, and if untidyness is the price to pay, then it was well worth it.
I’ve discovered 2 things about myself lately.  
1. That despite falling in love with fabric all over again because of these wonderful new designers, prints, fabrics and colours that abound, I can still return to my first love, recycled fabrics, with the same amount of zeal and passion. 
I don’t know why I get such a kick out of reusing clothes that are now too small or out of fashion, or breathing new life into old, forgotten about curtains.  But I do!  Most of what you see on that table there is corduroy clothes and some curtains I’ve gathered up over the years.
2.  I love making cushions (pillows).  Again I don’t know why exactly – I seem to be able to experiment more with ideas and creativity with a cushion.
So as a complete indulgent treat to myself (no not Ben & Jerry’s & Baileys on ice!!) I started on a design for a recycled cushion.
This is what it looks like so far:
Sorry pics are dark but it’s almost my bedtime!!
I probably would have finished it by now, but a certain teenager needed help making her proto-type GSCE textile project for art (it just happens to be a handbag and she just happens to have a mummy who knows how to make them! Win, Win!).

 Oh, and I made these last night to use up spotty bananas the kids wouldn’t eat:

Banana muffins!  There are 15 altogether – but not for long!

Now those of you who know me well know that I hate cooking, so this is something for me!  

The fact that after I put them in the oven I completely forgot about them until I started smelling them from 2 rooms away, is neither here nor there!  This morning they got plastered with a not so healthy dose of cream cheese frosting and down the hatch they went!  I’ve already had 2 today, might just sneak in another one for supper!

Hope you’ve had a great Tuesday.  

Huge hugs and kisses to a special friend who had surgery today. xoxo

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Top of the Tots!


By Judith on September 12, 2011
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Firstly, can I ask the owner of ‘Under The Maple Tree’ blog to send me their email address.  You very kindly sent me an email, and I would love to reply, but unfortunately you are showing as ‘no reply comment blogger’.  I’ve visited your blog, but there is nowhere to leave a comment, sorry. Please get in touch!
I managed to get my Across the Sea QAL quilt top finished, and within schedule (just!).
No chance of photographing this on the washing line today!  Katia might like it too much & whisk it away!
This will be a cot quilt for a pregnant friend (if she has a boy that is!).

The next stage of the QAL is making a pieced back, with ‘floating’ crosses.  However, I might put a soft, fleecy back on mine instead, which will make this wee quilt super snuggly.

Hope you are having a great start to the new week.  Hold on tight to your umbrella!

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A-Tissue!


By Judith on September 11, 2011
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This morning I got a wee lie in – much needed after 2 really hectic days on Friday & Saturday.
After church, I threw a korma together in the slow cooker for tea-time, and headed up to the sewing room.
All the stuff from yesterday’s Bee Blessed had been dumped into the sewing room, and the door firmly closed behind!
So after a sort through and tidy up, I did actually get some sewing done.
I made 3 tissue pouches, one of which is for my Small Goodies swap partner B (but I’m sworn to secrecy which one!).

The others are for friends who need a little lift!

I’ve also made some progress on my Across the Sea QAL, but more on that tomorrow!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend.

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Bee Blessed – the first gathering!


By Judith on September 10, 2011
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Many of you will already know about a new charity quilting bee that Sarah and I are starting up, called Bee Blessed.  
Well this afternoon, the first official gathering of Bee Blessed got underway in my house.  I have been amazed by the enthusiastic response to this exciting new venture!
There were 8 of us today, and that was with 4 apologies from others who couldn’t make it! 
Some of the ladies hard at work!
The furniture got pushed back, the tables & ironing boards were set up and the tea, cake & bicsuits were out.  Lots of chatting, laughing (& some sewing!) was the order of the day!
New friendships were made, along with more wonky star blocks to make into cot quilts.
We even had the lovely Karen (Listen to the Birds Sing) travel all the way down from Coleraine to sew with us.  
Sarah & Karen
It was a privilege meeting Karen, who is a recent blogging friend, and she touched my heart with her generosity, gifts for me & my girls, and her warm personality.  Sarah & I have arranged to meet up with Karen for another sewing day, up in her neck of the woods, next month!

L-R: Karen, Me, Sarah

So well done ladies on a fabulous start to Bee Blessed.  I look forward to sewing alongside you again in 3 weeks time (I’ll try to talk less and sew more next time, honest!).

Next time, we will start putting the blocks together into quilt tops, and chat about what our next project will be. 

To those of you who have already donated wonky star blocks and fabrics – a huge THANK YOU!

Also a big THANK YOU to River Fabrics for donating some gorgeous kiddie fabrics to the Bee.

For more Bee Blessed pics, see our Flickr page.


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Momo Free Bird Giveaway Winner!


By Judith on September 9, 2011
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Well I’m delighted to announce that Mr Random Number Generator picked number 17, who is Leanne (She Can Quilt)!
(I’m afraid I couldn’t work out how to copy the Number Generator widget into my blog post so you’ll just have to trust me!)
Congratulations Leanne – 10 fqs of Momo Freebird coming your way!
I’m privileged to call Leanne a blogging friend, and she makes the most amazing things!  Check out her wonderful blog and admire her recent makes.

Thank you to everyone else for taking part, and especially for signing up to the River Fabrics Newsletter and supporting this local business.

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Blocks Away!!!


By Judith on September 6, 2011
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My Oasis class starts back next week.
I’m looking forward to seeing my group of lovely ladies after the summer break.
This term, we will be making a sampler quilt, which will be raffled off & the proceeds put back into the Charity.
I haven’t done much block work with the ladies, so this will break some new territory for them, and build on their already growing skills.
There are so many fab blocks out there in blogland at the moment, traditonal and contemporary.  Here’s 4 I dabbled with today, in a red & aqua combo.
I’m afraid my fabrics aren’t v.exciting at the moment, but these are samples and will hopefully give enough of a design idea for the ladies.
Hole in the Barn Door – tutorial here
Greek Cross – tutorial here
Mosaic  – tutorial here
Dutchman’s Puzzle – Tutorial here
All of these blocks are 12.5″ unfinsihed.
This last block (Dutchman’s Puzzle) went slightly arry – while the points in the centre met up deliciously, the outer edges were out by 1/4″ with each other, meaning if I trimmed them down I’d loose the edge points when it gets sewed onto another block.  I obviously went wrong somewhere so I’ll be doing this naughty boy again!

I have a few more blocks I want to try out, but this is what I’ve been up to day.

Hope you’ve had a productive Tuesday.

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Revealing Mugrug No.2


By Judith on September 4, 2011
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If you are visiting to enter the River Fabrics Giveaway, please see here for details.  Giveaway closes Friday 9th September.
Ok Goodies Swap Partner no. 2 – here is your mugrug:

I can’t show the back of this mugrug because that will most definitely reveal its soon to be owner!
All I need to work on now is a small goodie to travel with these handbags!

Hope you like it partner!

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River Fabrics Giveaway!


By Judith on September 3, 2011
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I’m so excited to be able to host a wonderful giveaway, thanks to River Fabrics.
Yesterday I spent a lovely morning with Janette from River Fabrics, an online fabric shop.  Janette is a very down to earth mum, passionate about quilting and yummy fabrics.  She has been running River Fabrics for over a year now, and working v.hard to make this small business work.
I hadn’t realised how hard it is for UK fabric shop owners to make a business from selling fabric.  In the US, shop owners can buy fabrics directly from the manufacturers, but not in the UK.  UK buyers have to buy from a distributor, a ‘middle man’, which is why in the US fabric can be bought and sold much more cheaply than here in the UK.
Janette stocks only top quality fabrics, lots of familiar designers, and has a lovely range of Kona solids too.
She has very kindly given me 10 fqs of Momo Freebird to giveaway, and I’m going to let you choose which ones you’d like.

No. 1 Brown Colourway

No. 2 Green Colourway

No. 3 Blue/Orange Colourway
So here’s what you need to do to win, each step is a separate entry:
1. Tell me which 2 bundles you’d like from the numbers above e.g 1 + 3, or 1 + 2.

2. Visit River Fabrics website, check out the gorgeous new England Swings collection and sign up for their newsletter by clicking on(top right hand side of screen).  Then come back here and tell me you did.
3. Blog about this giveaway.

For a bonus entry, visit River Fabrics on Facebook, click ‘Like’ & tell me you did.

This giveaway will run for one week and a randon number generator will draw the winner sometime on Friday 9th September. International entries welcome.

Do be careful to leave your email if you are a No-Reply Blogger. You can check if you are or not following this tutorial.
Let’s support our local small businesses!  Best of luck everyone!

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Project 51 Revealed!


By Judith on September 2, 2011
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At last I can tell you all about the elusive Project 51!!
I’m in a group of 12 ladies called the Brit Bee.  We were born out of the flickr group Brit Quilt, and were the first 12 people to sign up in April.  Starting out as a group of strangers we have got to know each other well and have lots of giggles and laughs each month as we try to make blocks for each other.
Sadly, a few months ago, one of our members experienced a very stressful time in her life, culminating in a diagnosis which no-one ever wants to hear.
Being the scheming, conniving group that we are (!!), the rest of us decided to make our friend (let’s call her ‘T’) a secret quilt, in some of her favourite colours, to let her know how much we are thinking of her at this time.
After months of planning, piecing, sniggering and quilting, yesterday T received her quilt!  I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere near where the 12 of us are!  
That is a king-size bed!  The design is based on Moda’s Starry Eyed Quilt.
T has been through the mill. She came home yesterday from a hospital appointment to find our parcel waiting for her to open!  Talk about perfect timing!  
The flickr discussion threads have been full of ‘virtual’ tears, laughter and more than one rude ‘cupcake’ joke!  But the most important thing is that T loved her quilt and it brought her a wee bit of comfort and some quilty hugs from far away friends.

I am in awe of T’s strength, courage and humour in what has been a hellish few months for her & her family.  She has an amazing outlook on life and gutsy determination to take on this illness and fight it.  It has been a privilege to be part of this Project and indeed the Brit Bee group – what an amazing group of caring & talented people.
A special thank-you goes to Laura-Jane (our Brit Bee mama) for organising us so well, for piecing all our Project 51 blocks together, and to Trudi, for the amazing quilt back she pieced, quilting on her long-arm, and binding and posting this huge quilt off to T.  You are 2 in a million!!
The back, with all our individual messages & well wishes to T.

Close up of Trudi’s wonderful quilting.

I love being part of this virtual quilting community!

Finally, the lovely Laura is hosting a blogiversary giveaway today.  Hop on over for your chance to win some beautiful fabrics.

And I’ll have my v.own giveaway here v.soon!

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August Roundup!


By Judith on September 1, 2011
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It is with mixed emotions that I enter September!
I’m glad to get the kids back to school after 9 weeks off (phew!) and get some precious quiet time to myself, but I’m sad that our short summer season is at an end, and a disappointing one at that!
At least I got a lot done in August, both work & leisure projects.
And check out what my eldest daughter spent most of her summer doing:
These tiny little creations are made from Fimo, baked in the oven, then glazed and details painted on.  She has been making her own jewellery and fimo beads for several years, but this summer she got into the YouTube craze of Japanese style charms and ornaments.
Harry Potter & Friends – Poor Harry’s lost his wand!!
Alice In Wonderland Characters, with a female version of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter!
A couple of weeks ago we did a car boot sale and Shannon sold some of her creations there.  They were v.popular and she earned herself some extra pocket money.
These wee guys are tiny!
A cute milk bottle!
I’m in awe of her talent and patience to spend hours on the details of these tiny creations.  I don’t think she gets that from me!
I’m linking this up to Lily’s Quilts Fresh Sewing Day.

Happy first of the month everyone!

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On a Roll!


By Judith on August 31, 2011
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It’s back to school time in the Hollies’ Household!
My 2 oldest girls return to school today, and the ‘baby’ starts her final year of Primary School tomorrow (where did the time go?)!
This means I will be able to get some guilt free work done, instead of letting them vegetate in front of the TV while I run up another project.
While I can’t yet show you what I’m currently working on (all will be revealed in time), I can show you something I ran up a couple of weeks ago, as a potential teaching project.
A Jewellery Roll:
There are pockets for rings, bracelets & brooches, as well as loops for necklaces and a felt flap for earrings.
I’ve had several requests for one of these, so thought I’d have a go.  I’m wondering is it a little on the long side, but the advantage of this means you can get lots of different types of jewellery into the one roll.
With wadding inside, it keeps the jewellery well protected.
So if you are travelling, or heading away for that wonderful romantic weekend away (dream on!), then this would be a practical little accessory.

I’m sorry I can’t write a tutorial for this one, as it is on my list of patterns to sell (watch this space!).

Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday!

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One Finished Goodie!


By Judith on August 30, 2011
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Well instead of Bank Holiday Monday, yesterday turned out to be Mugrug Monday!
I got this goodie finished for one of my swap partners in the Small Goodies Swap.
The design is based on Lily’s Quilts Little Big George, and while I don’t like sewing curves, I’m really pleased how flat this turned out.
There is a reason why the mugrug is fan shaped, but to explain it would giveaway too much about the recipient!

I also made a brooch, but not sure yet which of my partners is going to get it!

So what do you think partner?  Like any of these?

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Mugrug Fun!


By Judith on August 29, 2011
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I love mugrugs!
They are really just mini quilts, an excuse to get down and creative on a small scale.  But they make great wee gifts too.
I recently made this one for my friend Sarah, whose birthday I missed!
Sarah recently encouraged me to try out some new/modern hexie designs that have been floating around the Hex-a-long flickr group.  I was delighted with how this one turned out (check out a great tutorial for this hexagon here).
If you are wondering ‘why the monkey face?’ it’s not because Sarah has a particular fettish for them (at least I don’t think so!), but this is her profile icon for her fab blog and flickr page.  
If you’ve never visited Sarah’s blog – check it out!  Sarah has an amazing ability to make even sewing disasters sound funny!  She’s a very talented quilter, writer, Brit Bee member & friend.
You may remember I signed up to the Small Goodies Swap being hosted by Fluffy Sheep.  This involves making a mugrug & small goodie for 2 people.
We’ve all now been assigned our partners – I’m really pleased with who I’ve got but I’m sworn to secrecy.  All will be revealed at the end of September.
Suffice to say, I have already started on one of the mugrugs ….

….and have some ideas on what small goodies to make too.

All will be revealed in time!

Enjoy your bank holiday Monday, Brits.

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Roundup of Summer Classes


By Judith on August 27, 2011
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Today was the final day of my Beginners’ Saturday School which ran for 4 Saturdays through the summer.
Here is a mosaic of the lovely ladies and their gorgeous makes, together with a few beach-hutters from July & a Boxy Bag workshop in August!

Well done everyone!  I hope you are inspired to keep sewing!

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A Bag for Life!


By Judith on August 26, 2011
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I’m a great one for carrying around a couple of those ‘bags for life’ – you know the ones?  
Where you paid 50p for a smart looking plastic bag that you could fold up and keep in your handbag, and proudly whip it out just as the cashier is about to pack your items into a standard plastic bag!  Love that moment!
Well it turns out these ‘bags for life’ aren’t so immortal after all!  I keep 2 in my handbag, and they are both wrecked!
Now as a ‘bag lady’ you would think I would have had one of these babies made a long time ago, wouldn’t you?  I guess it’s just another one of those things I haven’t gotten around to.
But we can thank the lovely Ayumi for inspiring me into action (check out her gorgeous grocery sacks).  I designed this shopping bag to fold up neatly and keep in my handbag:

Truth be told there is another reason why I needed to get on with making this.  I’m in the process of designing a new handbag (not as a ‘bag for life’) and I wanted to experiment with some shapes & sizes.
  
Not one to waste anything, I thought rather than ‘waste’ fabric on a trial design, I’d make good use of prototype 1 – ok the fabrics aren’t that inspiring, despite an original bit of vintage thrown in, but it is sturdy!
Really this is an early draft of what I will tweak with and play some more on until I get the bag that I can see in my mind (just not yet in reality!).
I would like to make a few more of these ‘bags for life’ style ones, but to also work out a cunning way of holding it together when it is all folded up, like the strap you secure an umbrella with. 
I don’t often get the time to just ‘play’ and design, I miss it and would like to do it more.  If only I didn’t need to sleep or eat!!
I’ll leave you with my inspiration mosaic for the upcoming mugrug & goodies swap being hosted by Fluffy Sheep.

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Decisions! Decisions!


By Judith on August 25, 2011
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Last week (on holiday) I had planned to get stuck into a gorgeous bespoke charm pack I won some time ago from Pickle Dish.
I wanted to do v.little to these cute squares, and thought about a stacked coin style design.
But then I got to thinking (oh no!) that these colours would look really good in my bedroom, and I have a large & long space on a wall which is crying out for a quilt.
So to fill this space on my wall I’ve added a few more squares from my stash, 
cut up an endless number of white hsts, 
and the plan is now to make a flying geese style quilt, similar in style to this one.
From Red Pepper Quilts
Problem is, I can’t bring myself to cut into the charm squares in case I change my mind again!!!  I just need to take a deep breath and go for it!
I also don’t know what to call this quilt, so I may run a wee Naming competition/giveaway – watch this space!
The cutting that I did manage to do yesterday, was for the Across the Sea QAL.
What a lot of squares and rectangles – so glad I only signed up for the cot size quilt!

Have a fab Thursday, whatever you get up to!

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Rail Rolling!


By Judith on August 24, 2011
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Last week I got a cot size Jelly Roll quilt top completed.
This pattern is called Rail Fence
This is to teach at one of my Autumn Classes.
I used half of a Kate Spain Central Park Jelly Roll i.e. 20 pre-cut 2.5″ strips, separating the strips according to colourways.  
Yesterday I got it finished, quilting it with diagonal lines and Free Motion Quilted flowers in the diamond gaps, and bound in aqua stripes.
Might do a bit more quilting in the border.

The back – this is actually aqua, but evening light doesn’t show it up.

FMQ flower

The finished quilt measures 42″ x 48″ (each block is 6.5″ finished) however you could easily make this quilt bigger by adding more borders.  
Using more strips from the Jelly Roll, you could sew some together lengthways to make a scrappy border, followed by another plain border, finishing with your binding. You could even make your binding from more leftover jelly roll strips.

Jelly Rolls are great to use because they take a lot of the work out of cutting your material, the 40 strips are all co-ordinated because they come from the same fabric series, and they go a long way – you can get lots of projects from one JR.  I still have enough left over to make another cot quilt (which will be in different colours from this one), and with the trimmed strip ends, I made this trivet:

If you’ve never used a JR before, have a go, shop around for some bargains, and make sure you get 40 strips in your roll (you can buy half JRs on Ebay, and some designer JRs only have 30 strips).

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Bee Blessed Gets Started!


By Judith on August 23, 2011
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The introductory blog about Bee Blessed and what it’s all about is here, just in case you missed it during the holidays.
My good friend Sarah and I would love it if you could join our charity bee – making blocks & projects that will be pieced and quilted and donated to needy families in Belfast.
This is an actual group that will meet in homes, starting in September (for dates see the Bee Blessed page), but also supported by this wonderful online community.
The flickr group is here.  Please become a member and post your pics of the things you make.  We will in turn be posting pics of the finished projects & keeping you informed about who they are gifted to.
Our first block for September is the Wonky Star block (again check out the introductory post to see Susan’s inspirational quilt).  
We will be piecing these blocks to make cot quilts.  If you can make 1 block that will be great.  However, please don’t feel you can only make one!
This one is for a baby girl quilt
Blocks Criteria:

* Blocks will be 10.5″ finished (once they are all sewn together) using 4″ squares.  When you have made a single block it should measure approx. 11″.

* Please use cotton fabrics in either pinks, blues or yellows, and using a white (or white on white) background.
  
* Feel free to mix and match patterns whichever way you like, as long as the finished block looks girly, boyish or neutral.  The finished quilts will be washed in non-bio washing powder before being donated.
There is a really good tutorial here on making wonky star blocks.  As there is no point in reinventing the wheel, I’m going to ask you to use this tutorial, using 4″ blocks instead of the stated 4.5″.
I would rather not give out my postal address here, so when you have finished your block, please email me (ragstobags@hotmail.co.uk) and I will send you my postal address.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.

Thank you so much in advance of your support to this new venture.

“We make a living by what we get.

We make a life by what we give.”  Winston Churchill

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SUCKER!!


By Judith on August 22, 2011
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Yes, I’ve fallen for it again.
I’ve signed up for a swap AND another QAL (Quilt-a-Long)!  What am I like!  I need therapy!
I could renege all responsibility and blame it on my other blogger friends, who have signed up too!
Let me justify my actions (well one of them anyway!).
My new friend, Sarah of Fairy Face Designs, is a fellow (& v.talented) Irish woman who is jointly hosting a QAL with Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts called Across the Sea.
I like the simplicity of this pattern, I like Sarah, I have a cot quilt to make for a friend – is that justification enough?
Here are my chosen ‘boy’ fabrics.
Signing up for Fluffy Sheep’s Goodies Swap was a purely impulsive ‘because I like making small things and giving them away’ justification (I’m so weak!).
We will only have to make 2 items for 2 people – a mugrug each (love making these cuties) and one other small item each.  I’m sure I can manage that on time (famous last words!).
Anyway, I have lots of ideas from recent small makes that I could draw on for this swap.

Hope you are joining in too!

Before I finish, just time to tell you about a giveaway my friend Karen is doing.  Check out her fab stash of Creative Grids equipment she’s giving away – some really useful stuff in there!

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Kaleidoscope Quilt Top


By Judith on August 21, 2011
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Firstly can I just say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who gave me creative and constructive feedback yesterday on my Hexie Dilemma.
You have given me lots to think about & I’m going to take some time out pondering (oh no! now I sound like Susan!) on what the next step should be.
When I was away last week I was able to complete 2 quilt tops.  Today I’ll show you one which has been long overdue the Don’t Call Me Betsy QAL deadline!
Yes, there are 3 random pink blocks in amongst the green ones!
I don’t think there is one point in this whole quilt that matches up (which is why I’m not showing any close-ups!)!
I discovered half way through that my downloaded template wasn’t symmetrical, coupled with ‘under pressure’ (aka ‘That’ll do rightly!’) sewing, and accuracy was well and truly compromised.
However, life is too short to be worrying about such things when they are about learning a new pattern and what to do differently next time.
This quilt will be for my youngest daughter and she’s really pleased with it so far.  (Quilt currently measures 62″ x 72″).
I’m slowly but surely updating all the rubbishy early works that my kids received from me, when I was a fledgling quilter!
One day I might even let you see them (but only when I’m feeling especially brave & secure in myself!!).
To finish, a little bit of crochet.

I haven’t a ‘baldy notion’ what this is going to be (bit like the hexies!).  It’s only 13″ x 10″ so it has the potential to become a cushion front (one day!).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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A Hexie Dilemma!


By Judith on August 20, 2011
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I love EPP (English Paper Piecing) because it’s sociable!  You can sit with the family in the evenings, watching TV, sewing away.
This is what I did this week on holiday – growing my hexie collection (as inspired by Lily’s Quilts Hex-a-Long). 
I’ve done my usual thing of not planning out a design in advance, and just going with the flow.
Well the flow has stopped!  I’m not liking the floral shapes the hexies are making, nor my ‘filler’ hexies.
While I choose vintagey fabrics, I didn’t especially want a traditional design.
I don’t even know what I’m going to turn these into – a cushion, a quilt?
What to do?
1. Unpick the hexies and resew them into a more modern shape e.g. pyramids, giant hexie?
2. Stick with what I have, add a few more & make a cot size quilt?
3. Abandon all hexies made so far, and start again, making a few more intricate hexies (as seen on flickr) which could then adorn a cushion front?

Vote now!!!!

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Hello again!


By Judith on August 19, 2011
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Hi everyone!
I’m back from the wonderful & rugged S.E. coast of N.I.  And I’m pleased to report that the sun shone (most days) and we had v.little rain – hooray!
That meant lots of time spent on ‘our’ beach, which is the stoney, rock-pool exploring, beach combing type of beach – the kids spent hours on it.
I did manage to get some sewing done too, and surprisingly a lot of hexie hand sewing & crocheting in the evenings (pics to follow shortly).
I’m slowly but surely catching up with everyone in blog/flickr-land.  Thanks to everyone who left comments on my pre-programmed posts (relieved it actually worked!).  Sorry if I haven’t managed to reply to all of them (there were 56 in my Inbox!).
In the meantime, I’ll bore you with some inspirational pics from our forest walk – I see patchwork patterns everywhere!

Hope you all had a great week!

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Another Pouch, sorry!


By Judith on August 18, 2011
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My middle daughter is a keen football fan.  She loves playing it, and supports Division 3 Bournemouth Town (the fact that her daddy is from there is of no consequence!!).
That means that when she wants me to make her stuff, it’s usually in the Bournemouth (aka ‘The Cherries’) team colours – red & black.
First there was a bag to carry her books in:
Sorry about the dark pics!  It’s evening time.
Then she wanted a long cushion for her bed, with a footie theme, to match her bedroom:

Took me ages machine stitching those footballs!
And the other day, she saw me working on my corduroy pouches, thought they were amazing (bless) and hastily put in her request for one to house her DS and mobile phone when she’s travelling in the car.
So I let her pick out her fabrics (red & black of course) and the buttons (she designed the ribbon stripes) and voila!

She’s over the moon with it.  The cow print fabric is a fq she bought me for my birthday.  How fitting to be able to put it into one of her makes (or did she always intend that, mmmmm?).

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Travel Sewing Pouch


By Judith on August 16, 2011
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I remembered a pattern I’d been given at ‘Quilting college’, for a travel sewing case, that I’d never got around to making.
Using some free curtain fabric swatches, and half an hour later, I had this to show:

The 3 pockets in this case could easily be re-sized for specific items, and it could even be used for holding other things e.g. notebook & pencils.

Another very handy pouch!

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Quilt Tops!


By Judith on August 14, 2011
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I’m heading to the coast with my family today.  A few days of R&R, walks along the beach (if the weather holds!), up into the Mountains, no computers, and of course time to sew non-work related projects.
You remember back at Easter time, I took away with me the Dresden Wallhanging (part of Lily’s Quilts QAL), my Crazy Daughter Quilt Blocks (which were in their infancy then) and some crocheting.
This time I hope to get some quilt tops finished and some started.
1. A Jelly Roll Quilt top (ok, so this one is a class project, but it’s the only piece of work, honest!):
2. Another Jelly Roll Quilt top with the leftovers from the same Central Park Jelly Roll.
This is the one where I had to unpick 100 wrong-sized hsts!
3. A small quilt from my winnings from Pickle Dish earlier this year – been having some thoughts on what I can do with these yummy charm squares.

4. And finally, the Kaliedoscope quilt, which was a QAL hosted by Don’t Call Me Betsy finished long ago, but as usual I’m playing catch up!

All 30 blocks made.  They now need to be trimmed and pieced together.
I’m not planning on doing any quilting this week.  If I get all these quilt tops made you’ll know the weather was pants & I was indoors A LOT!
I have a few blogs saved for publishing this week, but I won’t be able to respond immediately to comments.  I’ll enjoy reading them all when I return.

Hope you all have a great week, wherever you are.

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Practise Pouches


By Judith on August 10, 2011
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I’ve been experimenting with gift ideas that my classes can make in the run up to Christmas.
Pouches make great gifts, and can be made in various sizes and styles.
So far I’ve made 2 sizes, thinking that the smaller one would house a packet of tissues to keep in a handbag.  However, it’s still a bit on the big side. I’m after a really snug fit so I will adjust the measurements and have another go.
My daughter has her eye on the larger one for her DS!  I thought it would make a great Kindle case or travel sewing pouch.
These pouches don’t have zips, which makes them manageable for all ability levels.  
They can be decorated in a variety of ways (I sketched applique the hearts on, but they could easily be hand sewn on) and are multi-functional, which means you can tailor them to suit a particular use/person.

I also ran up a trivet with the off-cut ends from a Central Park (Kate Spain) Jelly Roll.
This trivet has heat resistant wadding inside (Insul Brite), which makes it perfect for taking a hot pan/dish on the table.  
I machine sewed the binding on, instead of hand sewing it over, which made it much quicker, but you definitely need accuracy and patience for this method to still look good from the back.
I’ve more ideas for dressing a table, but haven’t had the time to develop them (I suppose if I just didn’t sleep then I’d have another 8 hours to play with!).

Before I go, if any of you reading this are bloggers from Ireland (North or South) then you are most welcome to join this flickr group, share ideas and maybe even get involved in a quilting retreat next year! 

Hope you are having a great week, whatever you’re up to!

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New Autumn '11 Programme of Classes


By Judith on August 8, 2011
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My new programme of classes is now available to view here.
To book a place, please drop me an email to ragstobags@hotmail.co.uk.

Remember, you could also buy a voucher as a gift for a friend or relative to attend one of the projects.  More info on vouchers here.

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Wonky Corners Block Tutorial


By Judith on August 7, 2011
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As promised, here is a tute on how to make this block, which I made for Sarah in the monthly Brit Bee.
I’ve called it ‘Wonky Corners’ because I couldn’t think of anything else!  But if this block has a ‘proper’ name, please let me know!
The effect of this block is achieved by alternating coloured strips with a dark solid (black in Sarah’s block, and navy in this tutorial example).  It works up to 12.5″ finished.
1. Gather together scraps of fabrics.  Varying lengths are good, and you could also use jelly roll strips.
2. Start with a 2.5″ coloured square.  Try to keep this in the same position – I keep mine to the top left hand corner of the block, and add strips to the right & bottom edges.

3. Angle the side of the starting square by approx. 0.5″.

4. Pin a strip of dark fabric to this wonky edge.  Flip it over to make sure that it will pass the top edge of the starting square.
5. Once in position, sew a 1/4″ seam along the edge and press the seam away from the starting square.
6. Position the piece back on the cutting mat, making sure the starting square is lying square on the mat.  Angle the side of the first dark strip & also the bottom edge.
7. Now pin, position & sew the 2nd dark strip along the bottom edge.  Remember to overhang the dark strip slightly beyond the outer edge of the starting square.
Again, iron the seams away from the starting square.
8. Angle the side of the 2nd dark strip and square off the opposite 2 edges – these are the edges which include the remaining raw edges of the starting square.  They are the measuring point for keeping these outer edges square.  I like to put a sticker in the left hand corner of my starting square to remind me to keep these 2 edges square.
9. Now add 2 more coloured strips in the same way as before. 

10. Angle them, square off the outer edges, before adding another row of dark solid.
11.  Continue adding alternate rows of coloured & dark solid fabrics, increasing in width as the block gets bigger.

12.   I stopped adding strips when I got to 12.5″ and then squared off the entire block.  However you could stop or continue to whatever size you choose.
Variations to this block could be ..
* using white or pale grey solids with darker patterns 
* keeping the fabrics the same in each row (I used different patterns in my coloured sections)
* using light shades on the top row and dark shades on the bottom row
* using thin strips of solid with wide strips of pattern, or vice versa
* increase the ‘wonkiness’ by increasing/varying the angles
* not having contrasting solids at all!
I would love to see your version of this block, should you decide to have a go.  
Please send me a pic of your finished block, and I’ll put up a mosaic of all of them on my blog to inspire others to have a go!

Happy sewing!

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Bee Blessed


By Judith on August 6, 2011
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Exciting News!
My friend Sarah & I are setting up a new quilting venture called Bee Blessed.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/beeblessed/
This is a charity quilting bee, where folks can either come along to a group that meets in a home, or participate via Flickr.
The purpose of this group is to make quilts and other projects that we can gift to needy families/people/groups in our local area.
Starting in September, we aim to meet once every 3 weeks, and we will kick off in my house on Saturday 10th September, 2pm – 5pm.  Anyone is welcome to come along for a bit of chat, tea & scones, and of course some purposeful sewing!  
I know that there is always a great response to charity bees out there in blogland, and so we would love for fellow bloggers to be involved too.
I am starting up a flickr group called Bee Blessed.  If you would like to support us by making the required blocks or donating fabric, please feel free to grab our button and post what you make on Flickr.  We will aim to post pics of all our finished projects on Flickr.
Our first project will be cot quilts made from wonky star blocks.  I will soon be posting the block requirements, but I want to show you the most gorgeous wonky star block quilt made by my friend Susan.  What an inspiration!  AND she hand quilted it!
Another friend of mine knows the head Social Worker in Belfast, who has details of the most needy mums in our area & who will most benefit from a cot quilt for baby.

I realise that the needs of some folks out there is massive, especially during these hard financial times.  A small quilt or similar gift may be a drop in the ocean of what is needed, but we hope that our Bee Blessed gifts will bring some light and hope into otherwise dark and sad places. 

So watch this space for more information on our first project (& please be patient with me as I try to figure out how to set up & administer a flickr group!!! Helpful suggestions from those of you in the know always gratefully received!).

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Wonky Star Cushion


By Judith on August 5, 2011
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For my Friday morning class, I wanted a project that would introduce them to zippers.
Inserting zippers into cushions is much easier than most people think, and I find this is a great way to start breaking down those fears of zippers.
Wonky stars are popular in the quilting world at the moment, so I designed an 18″ cushion with an ‘opposite’ pattern on the back.

I will adjust the pattern slightly for the class, making the centre star smaller and the final border wider (which can’t really be seen in these pics!).
I have used linen here, but I don’t recommend this for anyone who considers themselves a beginner/basic level sewer.  Linen has a lot of movement and natural ‘fluidity’ which requires much patience and control when working with it.
The zipper in this cushion is ‘hidden’ in the bottom.  
As long as you have a zipper foot for your machine, you can make this project.
Zipper feet vary in shape and size depending on the make/model of machine you are using.
My zipper foot looks like this….
But they can also look like these …..

If in doubt, Google your make/model of machine or look up the manual that came with it, and you will find listed the zipper foot and how to attach it.

The design & quilting possibilities for this wee cushion are many.  I’ve only used 3 fabrics, but you could easily introduce more e.g. make your star scrappy with different fabrics, or have one large border instead of 3 thin ones.  You could even keep all your fabrics plain and let the quilting lines do the talking!
This project will kick off in October on Friday mornings.  

Looking forward to taking you through it.

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A Very Useful Barrell Bag


By Judith on August 3, 2011
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Time for another advance look at one of the projects I’ll be teaching in September.
Despite my name – Rags to Bags, I’m not all about bags!  However, today’s post is!
I adapted a pattern I’d seen in a book to make this quilted barrell bag, which can be used for lots of things – knitting/crocheting, toys, fabrics, sewing projects etc.
The construction of the bag is easy enough, despite having an inserted round base (& I added a piece of cardboard in the base to give it extra stability).  
I used cotton fabrics, but because they are quilted, the bag is surprisingly sturdy and upright.  You could easily use denim or curtain weight fabrics for this project, as long as you use a jeans needle in your machine.
For my own use, I think I’ll shorten the handle, but that’s the good thing about making stuff – you can adapt it to suit your own preference.

I added a crocheted flower to my bag because I’m going to use it to keep my crochet projects in, but you could ‘theme’ your bag whichever way you please.

So this simple 3 week project will be in next term’s programme, which I will be adding to my blog very soon.

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Apologies!


By Judith on August 2, 2011
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Good manners are v.important to me, and I’ve tried hard to instil a sense of good manners in my children.
I am thankful to my followers who so kindly leave me comments regularly – I really appreciate your feedback and friendship.
It is important to me to reply to every comment where I can, because to me that’s just good manners.  When someone pays you a compliment, you say ‘thank you’; when someone makes a suggestion you acknowledge it; when someone says something rude funny, you LOL with them (virtually of course!).  
I’m a little annoyed when I take the time to comment on other people’s blogs and they don’t reply, but I know that there are differing opinions out there about blogs & flickr and when there is a need to respond.
As far as my own blog is concerned, I’ve noticed recently a few folks leaving comments, but when I try to respond they are ‘noreply-comment@blogger.com’ meaning there’s no email address for me to reply to.
I would like to apologise to those of you who have been leaving comments but have had no responses back from me.  I’ve tried tracking you down via flickr, but where I haven’t managed to contact you, would you mind leaving me your email address for future, so that I can always reply.  I wouldn’t want you to think I was being rude and ignoring you!
For example, a reader suggested I write a tutorial on the recent block I made for Sarah (Brit Bee).  I would like to let her know that this is a fab idea and I will get right on it.  Thank you for your compliment and a great suggestion!
I appreciate every comment I receive, and while I try not to place too much credence on the number of followers I have (it’s quality not quantity right?)  I am touched and often amazed that I have so many and that what I have to write about is interesting enough for folks to read and leave lovely comments.

Thank you again for your patience this morning!  If I could I would send you all some flowers from my garden, but as I can’t here are some pics to enjoy instead.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Clematis

Crocosmia

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Where did July go?


By Judith on August 1, 2011
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Happy August everyone!
Half way through our summer holidays here already!
Sadly the weather has been more grey than blue, but this weekend I had a lot of fun with greys and blues of a different kind!
Sarah, Miss August, sent the Brit Bee luvvies a wonderful package of fabrics, and free reign to come up with 2 non-traditional blocks.
One of my favourite patterns recently has been colour-brick ….
… and I decided to go all wonky for the 2nd one (nothing at all to do with the crazy Kramola Foam drink & classic music from the 80’s & 90’s Sarah sent us!)
These will be on their way back to the Shetland Isles this week.  Can’t wait to see how Sarah’s quilt shapes up when she gets all the Brit Bee blocks back.
To finish here is my July roundup mosaic, which I’m linking to Lily’s Quilts Fresh Sewing Day.

Have a wonderful 1st of the month everyone!

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Crazy Daughter Quilt Complete


By Judith on July 30, 2011
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And here she is!
This quilt is called Crazy, not because my daughter is crazy!  No, crazy because the patchwork technique used to make the blocks is called crazy patchwork – one of my favs because you get to use up all your scraps.
This was a first for me using basting spray, and I have to say it made the quilting of this large quilt much, much easier under a conventional machine. 
I quilted diagonal lines through the blocks & wavy lines through the sashing.
A few down sides to using it are:
1. It’s not cheap at £7 a can (& I used 2/3 can on this baby) 
2. My LQS told me to spray a section at a time and iron the quilt top down on to it as you go (& same again for the back).  Tricky enough with a large piece on a small ironing board and not letting bubbles of fabric appear.  But made more tricky if you have a hairy, thread covered carpet like mine, as the large quilt, drapped over the ironing board somehow managed to pick up lots of extra threads which I was forever picking out of the spray glue!
Note to self: Hoover carpet before spray basting, and don’t start it at 10.30pm at night when you need a bit of muscle power to work with it!
Apart from that, I would definitely recommend spray basting quilts, especially larger pieces.  You get a slight stiffness to the quilt, which is what makes it easier to quilt, but then you MUST wash the quilt afterwards (I’m not a huge fan of the ‘wrinkly goodness’ look to washed quilts I’m afraid, but no biggy for the benefits of easier quilting!).
So I guess I can now remove the Crazy Scrappy Quilt-a-Long button from Aneela I’ve had on my sidebar since April! 
 

Job done, lovely quilt, happy daughter (who’s really not crazy!).

Quilt dimensions:  Finished size 50″ x 70″

                           Block size 11″ x 11″

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August Brit Bee Blocks


By Judith on July 29, 2011
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A truly wonderful, fizzy, whizzy package arrived for me today.
All the way from Lerwick in the Shetlands (that’s practically in Norway!) and my lovely bloggy friend Sarah.
Sarah is Miss August in our fab Brit Bee, and has thought of everything from mood music (while we sew), to energy food (that’s chocolate to you & me!), fabric of course and a nostalgic fizzy drink powder called Kramola Fizz – what fun!!!!
And to top it off, Sarah has given us free reign as to what blocks we come up with using her gorgeous selection of fabrics.  Yippee!  

Time to get the creative thinking cap on!

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Hello Joe!


By Judith on July 28, 2011
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My friend had a baby boy this week, and I found out yesterday he’s to be called ‘Joe’!
So this morning, I made a cushion for Joe:
Yes, more sketching applique – I think I’m addicted!

I hope Joe’s mama likes it!

  

Hap-bee Thursday!

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A Sketchy Welcome!


By Judith on July 27, 2011
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I’ve been working on my new programme of classes, starting in September, and thought I’d do a few posts about some of the projects I’m planning to teach.
I try to make/design things that I’d be happy to have in my own home.  Today I’ll show you my Welcome Wallhanging!
I wanted a rustic yet modern banner for my hall, and so combined linen with New England colours, and applied an applique technique called ‘Sketching’.
  
Sketching is a form of Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) and it is great fun because to achieve the desired look, you really want a few wiggly lines in there – perfect!!  Poppy Teffrey’s book ‘Free & Easy Stitch Style’ was my inspiration.
I adapted a Microsoft Word Font to get the lettering just right, and have templates printed out for the class to use. The wire quilt hanger (16″) was from The Cotton Patch, but I’ve also seen them on Ebay and other online suppliers.

In order to free motion quilt on your machine, you have to be able to either drop the feed dogs (the zagged edged feeders under the needle plate) or cover them over with a specially fitting cover.  Have a look at your instruction manual for how to do this on your machine, or take your machine to your local Sewing Machine suppliers & they will show you how.

You will also need a FMQ foot (or Darning foot) for this technique.

This is for a Janome, but most FMQ feet are similar in shape.
The finished size of the wallhanging is 8″ x 20″.  At the moment we are in the process of painting our hall/stairs/landing (in a 3 storey Victorian semi!!!).  I’m looking forward to getting the painting finished so I can hang up my ‘Welcome’.
I have to let you into a secret!  This is the 2nd Welcome Banner I’ve had to make.  The first one ended up looking like this after the dog decided she wanted her own personal welcome…….
She has a fetish for buttons!  She ate all 5 of them!

She did me a favour really, because in making the 2nd one, I decided to iron in some vilene (which helps the banner hang better) and I shortened the hanging tabs.  Having said that, I’m not ready for her to become Quality Control on future designs!

I hope this 4 week project appeals to folks, who can easily adapt the colours and style to suit, use up some scraps, and also get a fun introduction to FMQ.

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Fluttering Hearts and High Blood Pressure!


By Judith on July 26, 2011
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I’ve had one of those days.
You know the ones where you wake up feeling energised and ready to get a lot done, but as the day goes on, everything gradually unravels?  ‘The best laid plans ….’ and all that!
I’ll spare you the infinite details, but they boil down to this:
1. Trying 2 fabric shops looking for a particular shade of green fabric for a class project – fail!
2. Making a start on said project regardless, but sewing 100 hsts to 100 rectangles before realising the hsts were meant to be cut in half again, making 200 hsts to sew on either end of the rectangles – fail!
3. Getting myself comfortable to work over lunch & unpick horrid hst mistake, when my parents call for an impromptu 2 hour visit – lovely to see them, but no work done – fail!
So this evening, I recut the unpicked hsts, put them to one side, and made 2 applique heart blocks for Caroline’s Heart Appeal instead – Success!

Plus, the sun shone ALL day – yippee!

So not a total failure of a day!

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Have a Heart!


By Judith on July 25, 2011
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Caroline of Serenity Quilts is having a Heart Appeal in aid of Cancer Research.
Basically she needs as many folks as possible to make & send her a simple 8″ square with an appliqued heart on it.  Caroline will then make up quilts to auction.  She wants to raise £400 in August, and has many personal reasons for doing so.  
My mum is recovering from breast cancer so I definitely wanted to support Caroline in her efforts.
I already know what type of heart I’m going to do.  Here’s a mini version I made a few weeks back:

If you would like to help in a really easy way, please check out Caroline’s blog for more info.  She’d love your support.

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Beginners' Makes


By Judith on July 24, 2011
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Well my Beginners worked liked trojans yesterday and got their log cabin cushions finished.
This was day 3 of 4, and it all came together for them – they loved it.  Some of them haven’t sewn before, or in a long time, and certainly haven’t made a cushion before, so the smiles were just a picture.
How creative they were, recycling lots of textiles.
With some time remaining, they quickly got stuck into cutting and starting their handbags.  
They’ll get these finished on their final day with me next month, and I’m sure I’ll have more smiley pictures to show you.
A big ‘thank you’ to my right hand woman, Sarah, for her amazing support and assistance during the day.  You make life a lot sweeter!
And today?
The sun is shining brilliantly in an amazing blue sky, and I’ve had almost a whole day sitting outside enjoying my garden and sewing hexies.
My shins have turned a lovely shade of spit-roast pink (think they might be sore tonight!) but that’s okay – in 2 days time they’ll be back to apple-white!

Before I go, I must recommend a book I’ve just finished – The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield.  

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, AND it has a satisfactory ending (how rare is that?).  I got this one from the library.  If you like a bit of mystery with an historical edge thrown in, then you’ll enjoy reading this one, and it’s brilliantly written.

Have you read anything good recently, with a really good ending?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Steaming Ahead!


By Judith on July 22, 2011
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Today was (almost) bliss!
The sun was shining, and all 3 children were out of the house at the same time, for at least 2 hours!
I am fairly well caught up with work projects (starting my Beginner’s group on a new project tomorrow) so thought I would treat myself to some of the many ‘fun’ projects I have on the go!
Firstly, I started quilting Crazy Daughter Quilt …………..
Going for diagonal lines through each block.  Not sure what I’ll do in sashing yet.
……… but then ran out of chalk and thread!  
Despite eating into my precious free time to take a wasted trip to my LQS (they didn’t have the thread colours I needed!), I was undetered, ordered some thread online, and hastily returned to my sewing room to start on something else.
The something else was my very neglected Kaleidoscope quilt.
I chain pieced like a demon and just to make sure the half blocks will align in the middle, I completed a block to reassure myself.
There’s a heck of a lot of sewing stages to this wee gem, which is playing havoc with my indecisive creative mind, meaning I’m constantly changing designs the more I see this evolve.  
(More on that later when I finally decide on what this thing is going to look like.)
Finally, I went bin hoaking!
Just into my recycling bin to find some glossy/magazine type paper to use for my hexie papers.  I was taught to use slightly thicker/better quality paper as templates, and they are much easier to sew around.
So, cut, cut, cut, cut and I made lots of papers to stash in my vintage tin.  
When I was cutting a folded over leaflet, I had a bit of a eureka moment!
(This doesn’t happen to my slow brain v.often so please humour me!)  
Let me demonstrate with this piece of A4 paper folded in half lengthways:
The fold is at the bottom, look closely at those little triangles in between the hexies.
After cutting out the hexie shapes, I noticed some other shapes appearing in between the hexies, and it turns out, when you open them out, they make great kite shaped papers. 
These can then be sewn up in fabric, to make a lovely addition to the hexies.
The design possibilities are endless!
I’m sure lots of you have already discovered this & have probably been making them since before you were weaned!  But I thought it was pretty cool.  
I don’t have sophisticated design software to cleverly magic up shapes and designs, so I tend to arrive at these things ‘old time’!  I would like to incorporate them someway into a hexie designed project, but it might be a bit of a stretch for my inept mathematical mind!  
Maybe I’ll have another eureka moment this time next year!
Have a great weekend!

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A Step Back In Time!


By Judith on July 21, 2011
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Last night I decided I would indulge in a little hand sewing while watching utter rubbish on TV!
I’ve picked out some vintage inspired fabrics (some are genuinely old!) to get started on my hexies (part of the Hex-A-Long being hosted by Lily’s Quilts).
While rummaging through the ‘stuff everything into it and forget about it’ drawer, I came across my old hexie templates and even some old papers I’d used before, as well as some gems that a family member had passed onto me a few years ago.
Scissors still in their original leather zippered pouch!  And that’s velour in the lining!

I think this is a heron?

The cutest thing ever …. look what they become ….

Tiny fold out scissors – and they’re really sharp!!

Most of the original needles are still there!

And what could this be?

A needle canister!
There’s something about English Paper Piecing that stirs up romantic notions of an era gone by!  So I decided to make this project truly historical and vintage by combining really old (but fully funtioning) equipment with my vintage inspired fabrics.

And so, with a vintage tin to keep everything in, I’m sorted and ready to hex-a-long!

Happy Hexing!

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Dreadfully behind!


By Judith on July 20, 2011
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I have been extremely busy this week designing and making projects for my next program of classes, starting in September, as well as preparing for new classes this week, as well as trying to keep 3 bored kids happy without feeling like a really selfish, guilty mum (actually I think Guilt just comes with the Placenta)!
Next week I hope to do a series of posts on the new projects that I’ll be teaching, with some pics of course (oh but that means I’ll have to get them all made -eeek!).
Anyway, I didn’t wanted you to think I’ve been spending all my time sunbathing in this glorious, grey summer we’ve been having!!
Tomorrow night is the start of the Beach Huts Cushion class:

This is a great wee project to introduce folks to Foundation Piecing (one of my favs!).
Despite our cold, drab weather, I’m hoping this sunny project will make us all feel brighter!
So because of all this hard work, I’m ridiculously behind in my Kaleidoscope Quilt (a QAL being hosted by Don’t Call Me Betsy) and I haven’t even picked out fabrics for the recent Hex-A-Long (hand sewn hexies). 
Here’s as far as I’ve got with my Kaleidoscope quilt:
I’m doing my usual ‘changing the design as I go along’ thing, seeing what it looks like as I go.  I just need a bit more ‘go’!
On Sunday I try not to do work stuff, and if I get any free time, I’ll try and work on other WIPs.  
So I got Crazy Daughter Quilt basted.  I used basting spray for the first time, following the instructions of my LQS to do it over the ironing board, bit by bit, ironing it down as I go.  
This technique pretty much worked, but as with doing anything with large quilts, it took a chunk of effort and time. The effectiveness of it will be tested by the quilting – whenever I get round to it!
So that’s it for now.

Sorry if this has been a bit moany!  I’m tired and need a holiday (or just some rays would do!)

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Log Cabin Cushions Completed


By Judith on July 18, 2011
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I finally got the last of my lounge cushions finished today (or ‘pillows’ for my international friends!).
I’ve pieced & quilted 10 fronts & backs, and button holed 2 envelope backs, using a mixture of new fabrics (my winnings!) and chopped up clothes e.g. corduroy skirts, trousers, & other clothes belonging to my family!

Here’s the first set – 2 x 22″ log cabin cushions and 2 x 18″ scrappy stripped cushions.

These 4 cushions all have zippers
And the purple set – 2 x 18″ cushions with button hole envelope backs.

My daughter’s corduroy trousers & some old duffel buttons made the perfect envelope band!
It’s lovely seeing them on my previously ‘naked’ sofa.
Now I just have to keep the dog off them!!  (easier said than done!).

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Come Hex-a-long with me!


By Judith on July 17, 2011
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A new summer quilt-along group has started up, by Lynne (Lily’s Quilts) and Gayle (Gayle Brindley’s Blog).
The idea is to get familiar again with the age old patchworking technique called English Paper Piecing (EPP).
EPP is hand sewing pieces of fabric over paper shapes (e.g. diamond, square, triangle, hexagon etc.), then hand sewing the shapes together before finally removing the paper inserts.
I have fond memories of paper piecing when I first started my City and Guilds Textile & Design course.  EPP was the very first thing we did.  
Early works! My college samples – hexies

Triangles

Diamonds

Scallops – my least favourite!
I discovered a joy in hand sewing that I didn’t know existed.
It’s lovely to be re-inspired by this traditional technique, especially with all the wonderful new designs and fabrics that are around at the mo.
And this is the perfect project to pack away and take on holiday – compact, quick, easy, transportable, perfect!
The Hex-a-long will focus on paper piecing hexagons and this is the inspiration quilt that started it:
“Candied Hexagons” by Liz from Broderie

Fancy joining in? 

Check out the flickr group for more stunning projects & ideas and then join the Lily’s Quilts group.  

See you there!

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I've been Published!


By Judith on July 16, 2011
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It’s only a small project, but a few month’s back Irish Quilting magazine saw my Beach themed mug rug and asked if I would adapt it to co-incide with their special American July Issue.

I obliged, and with a limited selection of fabrics, came up with an ‘Irish’ string of bunting and an ‘American’ string of bunting.

I received in the post today a copy of the magazine, with my very own name in print!!

The text in this pic is a bit blurry, but my name is there, trust me!
To ‘Celebrate’ this first for me, Irish Quilting have very kindly given me a few extra copies of this issue to giveaway.  

So, to the first 3 readers to leave me a comment, I’ll be delighted to send you your very own issue (if you don’t already have a copy that is!).

Irish Quilting are interested in some of my other makes, so I hope to soon be telling you of more projects published. How exciting!

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Hi's and Lo's!


By Judith on July 13, 2011
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It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post.
Today the sun was shining, and I managed to finally finish a project I’d been grabbing snatches at all week.  It’s a project for my new program in September, designed from scratch.  
I was chuffed to bits with how it turned out.  Here’s a sneaky peak.
I left it on the dining room table and skipped out the door with my kids for an hour’s fun playing tennis in the park.
When we came home, I discovered a tragedy!  I can’t even bear to tell you what happened, but it involves my new project and our dog!!!!!!!! 
So to avoid another (pre-meditated) tragedy from occurring (also involving our dog!), I threw myself into making the tea, with way more gusto than I ever show (I hate cooking!).
Maybe when my emotions are a little less fragile I’ll fill in the blanks.  For now, look at these pictures of the lovely flowers in my front garden, and hopefully you won’t hear the screams of despair in the distance!

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100th Post & Crafty Kids!


By Judith on July 11, 2011
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I started blogging at the very end of December, after being tempted lurred inspired by my good friend Sarah of Sew Me.
Today is post no. 100!  Woohoo!  
Amazing, because I really don’t ever think I’ve got that much to say, nothing terribly interesting anyway (I can churn out shed loads of nonsense!).
I was hoping to have a giveaway to mark said achievement, however the particular item I’m planning to giveaway hasn’t arrived in the post yet!  Sorry, but I will hopefully be able to do the giveaway soon.
So you will have to make do with a round up of a crafty day spent with my kids yesterday.  
Hubbie and no.2 daughter were both away this weekend, so the house was unusually quiet!!
We started off in my sewing room (gone are the days when play dough and finger paints would entertain for hours!), where my youngest made a pincushion for her friend’s birthday …
The only part I played in this was the rotary cutting and hand sewing it closed!  She did everything else herself!
….while the big girl got all arty with fabric scraps and my soldering iron!
Next, the ‘baby’ wanted a go with said soldering iron (eek!) …………..
Melting off the top layer to get lots of texture!

Ta dah!
….while the big girl did something similar with water soluble fabric.
Then we moved downstairs to the dining room table and got felting!  Great fun!

The ‘baby’s’ works – I suggested some stitching over them but she likes them as is!

The Big Girl’s felted beads – part of her GCSE Art & Textile module.
As for me, I was hoping for a sneaky nap yesterday afternoon –
no chance!
I got a hanging sleeve put on to my Eye Spy Quilt and No.3 daughter is delighted to now be displaying it in the perfectly sized recess above her bed!

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with …………… T!
She’s looking forward to many games of Eye Spy at bedtime!

Hope you all had a creative weekend!

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July Brit Bee Blocks


By Judith on July 10, 2011
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The very lovely Judith from Needles & Lemons (aka Miss July) gave us free reign this month, to make two blocks using the red & white Oakshot cottons she sent us.
I had intended on making one traditional block and one modern block.
But I accidentally cut too many triangles for the first, traditional block I was making, so used the leftovers to make another traditional block!  
What a block-head!
‘Nautilus’ – Judith asked us to include some of our own red fabric

‘Card Trick’

The reds in these pictures are darker than in real life!

A first attempt at stamping a label – these are called ‘siggy’s’!
Judith kindly gave us permission to post about our blocks when we’d made them, rather than waiting until the next Bee month.


Keep an eye on flickr over the next few weeks to see all the blocks being put together.

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Project 51


By Judith on July 9, 2011
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I’ve entered into an urgent top secret mission called Project 51 (most spontaneous of me, I know!).
My Mission:  To make 2 x 16.5″ blocks in reds, whites & aquas (some pink allowed)!
Target: Classified (if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you!)
Deadline:  End of this month
Mission accomplished (this was no Mission Impossible, being the super spy that I am)!

This post will self destruct in 10 seconds!

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Anyone for a Picnic?


By Judith on July 8, 2011
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My Thursday night class have been making rag quilted picnic rugs.
Just take a look at some of these beauties!

Marion’s ready for the beach – just need the sunshine & a bikini!

This was Norma’s first ever quilt – a gift for her grandchildren – isn’t it fab!

Sally’s right on trend with her Sailor style red, white & blues recycled fabrics. Gorgeous!

Sarah’s Heather Bailey Nicey Jane quilt is so summery, another stunning gift!
I’ll have another picture to show you, when Heather gets hers finished.  These ones are now ready to be washed & tumble dried so the seams can get lovely & fluffy!!
Well done ladies, fabulous quilts.

And thank you for the sweet birthday cake, that mysteriously arrived on my table when I was out of the room!

How cute is that bunting!

You’re all so naughty, but nice!

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Free Motion Applique


By Judith on July 7, 2011
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I was at the library the other day and picked up this interesting looking book.
It’s a beautifully presented book that totally lurred me into having a go at an embroidery technique called ‘sketching’.
Sorry about the blurry pic!

This technique is everywhere in blogland at the moment, and I love the naive & imperfect look of it.
So today, with the torrential rain and thunder banging outiside, I thought I’d have a go.
In the book, the author uses an embroidery hoop.  I find mine tricky to use on the Pfaff, and actually not that freeing!
Practising with random squiggles & shapes!
So for me, a different approach was needed.  
I grabbed the first scraps that came to hand, and diverted from the book slightly by introducing some trusty bondaweb and ditching the hoop, and ended up with this!

Essentially, this is drawing and colouring in, only using your sewing machine as the pencil & felt tip pen.
The idea is not to have perfectly formed stitches or lines so that the ‘sketchy’ look is achieved.

From the back

As an experiment I’m quite pleased with it.  

While the bondaweb holds the fabric in place, I’m not so keen on the ‘neatness’ it offers, and would prefer a softer, more organic look, as in the book.  However I will practise more with different techniques until I’m happy with the look I’m after. 

I don’t know yet how easily quilting could be incorporated, but I’ll keep playing around with some ideas & see what happens.

Happy Thursday everyone!

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A Lovely Surprise!


By Judith on July 6, 2011
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My very special friend, Sarah, surprised me last night with a belated birthday pressie!
Just look at all this lot!
Sarah knows me so well, and I love nothing more than homemade cards and gifts.
She made the card by creating her own ‘fabric’ using water soluble fabric & lots of stitchery magic!
Look at my lovely mug rug – there’s no way a drippy cup of anything is going near this beauty!  This is going up on my wall!
All my favourite colours!

Mine all mine!

Just look at this amazing stitching.
And Sarah knows that I’m not a ‘big mug’ person (the old bladder’s just not what it used to be!) and bought me this adorable, perfectly sized mug.  It’s so cute, I love it!
Finally, as well as making this adorable basket, it was filled with stamping goodies!  I’ve been wanting to start stamping my own quilt labels, and now I can!

What a lovely surprise.  Thanks friend.  You are one in a million!

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Fabric Giveaway at Lily's Quilts


By Judith on July 5, 2011
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There’s a gorgeous new range of Happy Zombie fabrics out called Happy Mochi Yum Yum!

Lynne is hosting a giveaway, curtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop – hop on over to be in with a chance to win one of these gorgeous fat quarter bundles.

(P.s. Trying to update the look of my blog page.  Bear with me as endless ‘tweaking’ is inevitable!)

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June Brit Bee Blocks


By Judith on July 4, 2011
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Just a quickie post to show you the blocks I made for Fiona (Miss June) in our monthly Brit Bee.

Fiona sent us all the loveliest Dream On fabrics and a delightfully easy block remit – disappearing 9 patch, which starts life looking like this:

And then gets chopped up and twizzled around to look like this:

Fiona’s had nearly everyone’s blocks back and you can see what they all look like here.

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A Cracker of a Day!


By Judith on July 3, 2011
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Today was one of the warmest, sunniest days we’ve had so far this year.
Not only was it the Wimbledon Men’s final (commisserations Rafa!), but it was a true summers day.
Having fun in the sun!  With a sprinkler!!
I got my sewing machine back from the shop yesterday, but didn’t get near it until today.  
Who would have thought that a teeny clump of lint could cause such a noise (and I do clean my machine regularly Mr Sewing Machine Fix It Man, honest I do!).
I’m way behind in the Kaleidoscope QAL being hosted by the lovely Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy.  It’s lovely seeing everyone’s designs coming together over on flickr, and I haven’t posted a single photo there yet!
At least I’ve chosen my fabrics.  This is the stash I’m going to eat into to.
I’m sure I won’t need all of these but I like to keep my options open!
Today I made some headway in the cutting, lots and lots of cutting.  120 triangles, 240 kaliedoscope sections!
And I’ve also finally got a design sorted.  This will be a quilt for my youngest, who is passionate about the colour green, but I’m sneaking in some pink there too!  Hope she doesn’t mind.
I hope to start piecing soon and then I’ll show you some pics.
I have also been sewing more on my lounge cushions (12 fronts and backs = 6 cushions) but will show you pics when I’ve completed them.
The wadding is ordered for Crazy Daughter Quilt, the blocks have been sourced for Miss July’s Brit Bee Blocks and I have a tonne of teaching notes to write for up coming classes.  
All this with my 3 children off school and looking to yours truly to start chanting ‘Let Me Entertain You!’!  Don’t hold your breath!
Anyone fancy being my P.A?  I could really do with one!!

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It's the first of the month, again!


By Judith on July 1, 2011
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If you are a regular (& treasured) visitor to this blog, you’ll know that Lily’s Quilts hosts a Fresh Sewing Day round up of the previous month’s slog work.
Here is what I managed to complete during the month of June:
When I created this mosaic, I was disappointed that it didn’t seem to reflect that much in the way of projects.  However there are a lot of WIPs that I have been working hard on that are not included in this mosaic (I like my monthly mosaics to show completed works, with the Brit blocks being the one exception).
One of my favourites from last month was the Grosgrain handbag I made for my daughter’s teacher.  School finished yesterday, and the handbag was presented and received with delight! Phew!

For more amazing creativity and talent, hop on over to Lily’s Quilts and click on the links to other bloggers’ projects.

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More Post! Extra Woohoo!


By Judith on
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My Brit Quilt Swap arrived this morning!
I had no idea who was making for me, and it turned out to be Lis Harwood from Piece ‘n Peace.
This quilt is called ‘Out of this World’ and isn’t it just!

Lis has put so much detailing into this, sadly not picked up by inadequate photography, and clearly picked up on my love of purple.
And look at the lovely extras she included.

Thank you Lis for a beautiful mini quilt and the time and effort you spent on this, just for me! 

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POST! Woohoo!


By Judith on June 30, 2011
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While going through the mudane motions of the last school day before our summer holidays (gathering up the laundry, packing the dishwasher etc.) the doorbell rang.
It was the postman, much earlier than normal.
He didn’t just have one package for me, not two either, but THREE!  Yippee!
The first one I opened was from my Mad Hadder friend Hadley.  
These are the nicest fabric scraps I’ve ever seen.  And how cute is that mini pincushion!
Some time ago I signed up to Hadley’s Pay It Forward project and got all these amazing lovelies!  Thank you Hadders for your great taste and amazing generosity!
Even the greeting card is adorable!
Next I opened a package from Prints to Polka Dots.
I just adore those birdies!  These fqs were all less than £2 ea.
I had ordered some bargain fqs from their website and got 4 of the 5 ordered.  Nice huh?
I specifically chose pinks because I’m making the Kaleidoscope quilt for Bethany’s room, which is mainly green with some pink accents.  (More on the Kaleidoscope QAL later, when I get my finger out and get cutting!).
And finally, Miss July Queen Bee from our Brit Bee, Judith, has sent through her fabrics and instructions for the blocks she’d like us to make.  
Her inspiration is a red & white blocks quilt, and we get to choose what blocks we make – hooray!  I think one of my blocks will be Monkey Wrench, which will look really effective in the two colours.  Will keep you posted.
So this was a really lovely postie morning. I have been back at my sewing machine, but I can’t show you yet what I’ve been doing – oh I love being mysterious!

Unfortunately, my machine is making unfamiliar clicking noises and I think I’ll check her into Sewing Machine Clinic for a wee MOT before clicks turn into clunks!

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Fabric shops – a dying breed!


By Judith on June 28, 2011
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Hubbie & I had a lovely day up in L’Derry yesterday, spending my birthday money!
I got some much needed jeans & t-shirts & accessories.
The highlight of my annual trip to L’Derry is visiting one of the cutest quilting shops we have in N.I.  – Quilt Cottage (nee Mission Hall Quilts).
I had my shopping list ready ( moda jelly roll, fat quarters etc.) but when we got there it was all closed!!!! Disaster!
We found out from a neighbouring shop owner that the owners have gone into liquidation and the shop is no more.  The stock was bought up by a shop owner in Belfast.
This is a real blow for good quality fabric shops in N.I.  There are so few here.  I know there is a lot of online buying these days, especially of designer fabrics, but I still love the experience of walking into a wonderful sea of colour and pattern and being surrounded by creativity and inspiration.  
So this is all I’ve managed to pick up so far.
I’ve had to turn my attention to online buying, which is sometimes risky when you can’t gauge colours so well.  But what can a ‘girl desperate to buy fabric’ do?
There is one more place I might try before relenquishing the plastic to the virtual fabric shop.  It’s half an hour drive away and I would need to be sure I’m going to buy something there to make it worth the petrol expense!!
Will keep you posted.  

P.s. We’ve had sunshine all day here!  So glad I didn’t go to Wimbledon for my 40th!!!!!!

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Trunks Away!!


By Judith on June 26, 2011
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I’ve had a wonderful day!  
Another day of celebrations thanks to my lovely sister, who hosted a lovely get-to-gether at her home.
I live 25 miles away from my parents & my sister and her family, so this was their day for celebrating birthdays with me & my youngest.
L-R: Sister, mum, me, dad
There was champers …………..
………..little gifts ………………
and the one I was really hoping for …………….

A trunk!
This is what I’ve been wanting to store my quilts and cushions in at night so our dog won’t chew holes in them.  Isn’t it fab!
I was so worried someone was going to jump out of it when I opened it!!
This is a joint gift from my sister and brother, who lives in England.
And while I was there, I managed a pic of my nephew and the colour brick quilt I made him for his birthday earlier this month.  He loves his quilt and insists on sleeping under it, even in summer!
The ‘big’ nephew is the quilt owner!  Cheeky chops just decided to get in on the action!
And of course there was lots of food and birthday cake!

The other birthday girl with her new camera!

My wonderful, crazy family!

Thank you to you all for scheming, keeping secrets and making this a wonderful birthday!

Tomorrow – shopping!

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