Thursday, 28 May 2015

It's my birthday!

It's my birthday today and I have had a really lovely day.

Early this morning my husband appeared with a beautiful bouquet of 12 deep red roses, such long stems I felt compelled to measure them! 26" tall!

He then disappeared downstairs, only to appear a moment later with a tray bearing two glasses and a small bottle of champagne! I hasten to say we didn't drink it then, rather too early at 5.30am but tomorrow evening we certainly will.  Then tea and cereals in bed.
I then opened lots of cards that had arrived before my birthday and made a pleasing arrangement in our bay window.

The roses were extra special as when I celebrated my 60th birthday in Venice a few years ago the hotel arranged 12 long stemmed deep red roses in our bedroom along with a bottle of champagne. So my dear husband decided to do the same this year - especially as we had just returned from a five day trip to Venice.  He is very romantic.
Off to my regular Patchwork Group's Thursday meeting - more good wishes, cards and gifts!  I really feel spoilt.  Then off to lunch with my husband, daughter and granddaughter and my dear niece who was born on my birthday and amazingly is 50 today!

And here we are!

What a lovely day spent with close family and friends. I am a very lucky girl.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Another entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

I make a lot of Baby Quilts and the one I have chosen to enter Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival is a quilt I completed last October.  Our cousin's daughter was pregnant and I was quite convinced the baby would be a boy, so I made this quilt:

I had previously bought some "Boy" fabrics and used them in this quilt.
The pattern I chose was Fairy Lights by Ruth Buchanan, published in a magazine in 2007.
The selection of fabrics were perfect for this pattern as I wanted to showcase the lovely fabrics: gorgeous elephants, trains, cars and rows of fairy mushrooms.
I loved making the blocks as I always enjoy the process of making HSTs.  When I came to lay out the blocks I discovered that Ruth had used non-directional fabrics whereas mine were directional ones!  No problem - I just added an extra strip of HSTs to the fourth side of each block. More sewing but I had enough fabric and it made the quilt a good size, 42" square, which I think is a useful size for a Baby Quilt.
Here's a close up of those lovely fabrics and the HST borders around the blocks.

The quilt is still with me as my baby prediction was wrong! Helen had a little girl so a very different quilt was gifted.  I still haven't thought of a suitable name for this quilt but I am sure a baby boy will come along and that this quilt will be a perfect gift and the perfect quilt name will come to me.
I would like to enter this quilt in Amy's Festival in the Small Quilt Category.

Re-visiting a favourite quilt

I read Rachael's blog post ( Blue Mountain Daisy) and she is linking to Amy's Creative Side's
Blogger's Quilt Festival.

I  popped over to take a look at the categories and it made me think back to some of my favourite quilts.

Back in 2011 I made this Rainbow quilt which I called Rainbow Nation Quilt.  It was a 60th birthday gift for a friend in New Zealand.  I had previously made a similar one for my daughter and thoroughly enjoyed making another similar one.

Rainbow Nation Quilt

I made 9 large String blocks, using the colours of the rainbow for the centre diamonds of each block.
As there are 7 colours in the rainbow I made 2 red centered blocks( top left and bottom right corners) and 2 yellow centered ones (top right and bottom left corners).
I love rainbows, and this quilt is still one of my favourites. 
I would like to enter it in The ROYGBIV Quilts Category in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival and am linking to that post HERE.Blogger's Quilt Festival: Spring 2015

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Completing a WIP

When I was putting away fabrics and part finished items a couple of days ago I was surprised at how much fabric, scraps and threads I had.  Too much to put away unless I have a big sort out.  I don't have time for that at present but it will have to be done in the fairly near future as I don't always know where certain things are and I will be wasting time hunting for a certain bit of fabric, notion etc.

That made me decide to definitely finish some WIPs that are already neatly stashed in a plastic bin in my sewing room.  There are also sets of blocks in there - some were from Bees I took part in a few years ago.

Yesterday I took out the almost completed top which was on top of the pile in this box.  It only needs borders to be finished. For the backing I decided to use a lovely piece of fabric recently donated to me by a patchwork friend. It's a good sized piece, measuring 56" by 70", more than big enough to back this quilt, with some sizable pieces left for a future project.

Here is the top, backing and possible border fabrics:

I added the first border using the same lilac Kona Cotton I had used for the sashing.

This measure 40" x 45", already a good size for a baby quilt.
Now I am wondering if I really need to add a second border and, if so, which of the four fabrics should I use? What do you think?

As I won't be doing any sewing for the next 10 days or so the decision can be left on the back burner - or in this case, laid out on the bed in my sewing room! I will bind the quilt with the backing fabric and I think that may just be enough of a pop of colour to pull together all the colourful Crumb blocks and define the edges of the quilt.  .....................  I think I have already talked myself out of adding another border and that will help me finish the quilt faster.  I have a baby girl in mind for this quilt and as she was born a couple of months ago I do need to finish the quilt.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Overcoming jet lag and exploring connections

We arrived back in our home in Warwickshire late on Sunday night after a weekend's travelling from New Zealand. It's a long journey, over 12,000 miles.

We have spent a wonderful three months on the other side of the world and now we're back, picking up the reins of life here in the UK. It has been lovely to see our daughter, son-in-law and beautiful little granddaughter who was so excited when we went to have dinner with them on Monday that she went pink in the face and literally jumped up and down on the spot - just like Tigger!

So now we are trying to overcome jet lag! On Monday night we suddenly crashed and had to go to bed at 7.30pm. I did quite well on Tuesday, managing to stay awake until 10.30pm which meant I slept through till 6am. Last night it was back to feeling weird (tired out, not thinking straight) so off to bed at 8.30pm.  Having these too-early bedtimes means we are awake for ridiculous periods during the middle of the night.

So, what do I do?  Look at my iPad, gaze at Flickr pages, flit from BlogSpot to BlogSpot.
This brings up some very interesting connections:
I have had a Flickr page ( Koshka2 ) since September 2009, quite a long time.  Over the years I have 'Favorited" many photos, 2,737 in total! During one of my extended wakeful periods I looked back through my Favourites.

Firstly it was very evident from my choices what sort of things appeal to me:  Bright, Scrappy, Stars, Log cabins, Applique ( not the Baltimore style, more na├»ve flowers ), String Quilts, Pictorial Styles ( like Gwen Marston or Freddy Moran would produce ), Coin Quilts etc.

And then if you look at the quilts I make, there are the same themes again.  No surprise there, I guess.

And my Favourites include many creations from blogs or Flickr people I follow:
Blue Mountain Daisy, Little Island Quilting, s.o.t.a.k. handmade, I'm a ginger monkey, niftyquilts, Elmosmate, Helene408, roccogal, Mary@Molly Flanders, littleguineapigs, Linda Rotz Miller Quilts, Peoniagialla and many more.  If these folk are new to you, check them out on Flickr - you will be in for a treat.

During my nightly flitting though blogs I discovered a new name, Mary Johnson.  Her blog is or, if you Google "Mary Johnson blog quilts" you find a different blog of Mary's with another whole pathway of links to follow. An Aladdin's Cave!
I spent ages and ages scrolling back through Mary's blog, following her older posts, her Links, Instruction sheets, her tips for improving your quilts and so on.  Along the way I found her HeartString section, quilts she and many other people following her instructions, make for many different charities.  Here I found a definite connection as one of my recent finishes was a String Quilt which I named "Heartstrings".  How about that for a connection? I emailed Mary and received a lovely long email reply. So kind.

I am off to my Patchwork group this morning. It will be lovely to meet up with old friends again and catch up with their news and see what they are currently working on.  Me?  No quilting as I haven't been in my sewing room yet but I do have some knitting that I started in NZ when I hadn't yet started a new quilt.  It's a white basket weave style premature baby-size blanket which, when finished, will be donated to our local hospital. I am accumulating a stash of items to take: premature sized quilts and little knitted hats.