Thursday, 18 December 2008

More Cushions!

Here are the other cushions I have finished making for my cousin's girls. I'm not sure I want to give them away now they are finished!

I'm going to make one for my other cousin's daughter. I've been told that her room is in black and grey with a splash of lime green!
Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas sewing

Hi, I haven't posted for a while as I've been pretty busy, you know how it is at this time of year.

I've been making cushions for my cousin's three girls for Christmas. They have purple bedrooms and luckily I had some fabrics in purples. I decided to put some applique felt flowers on them. I've never used felt before and was pleased that it was easy to work with. The cushion I've shown here is the first to be completed, the others are nearly done. I think this is my favourite one, the others have a different type of flower. I'll show you them when they're finished.

I'm begining to panic slightly as I'm going to make my Mum a bag as a christmas gift and I've not started it yet!
I better get on.

I've just remembered, thanks to Marie at Marie Quilts for the blog award in my side bar that she so kindly gave me.
Bye for now, Maria.

Friday, 28 November 2008

On the wall at last.

I started this wall hanging about 18 months ago at a workshop at my local quilt shop. The design is taken from a Rikky Tims DVD called "Quilting Caveman Style". No rulers are used, the cutting is done free hand which makes a change from what I'm used to. I've done some free motion quilting on it which I'm pleased with and embellished it with beads.

The colours are more true to life in this picture. I played around with the photos in Photo Shop and altered the first picture too much although I think I prefer the colours of the altered one.
I'm pleased with the quilt but it doesn't lay flat, I guess this is because it has not been measured but I suppose that the whole idea of quilting caveman style!
I finished it a few months ago and have been waiting for it to be hung on the wall. It was going in the hall but I changed my mind and it's now in my sewing room. Despite saying that it's probably not supposed to lay flat I can't bring myself to hang a wobbly quilt where other people will see it. I suppose I'll just have to make another quilt for the hall - eventually.
Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Lots of Lovely Fabric.

Isn't it strange when you think about something and then it happens? Last week I ordered some fabric (more about that later) and this morning I was driving back from the gym (!) wondering when it would arrive. I drove up to the house and there on the doorstep was the parcel.

I ordered the fabric from Karen Gray's etsy shop. She also has a lovely blog that you can find here. The fabric was beautifully packaged and the delivery was very fast. Would you like to see what I ordered?

These are six yummy fat quaters called "Olive Rose" by Valori Wells for Freespirit. I plan to make my Mum a bag for christmas with them. I'll show you it when it's finished.

I love these fabrics from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern range.
I'm planning to make place mats for the dinning room from it with this pattern which the lovely Marie, my bag swap partner sent me.

Finally another look at the christmas quilt I'm making that I showed in my last post. I was planning for it to be a lap quilt/throw but I think it would take too long to make and as there's lots of hand work on it I thought it would be better displayed as a wall hanging.

This isn't the final layout, I've just layed them out like this for the picture (and there are more to make).
Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Christmas quilt.

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to make a christmas lap quilt/throw with some christmas fabric I have. The fabric is the classic reds, greens and gold colourway, now I do love these colours but I saw this christmas stocking in the christmas edition of Country Living magazine and loved the red, white and blue country style. Ah ha, I thought, that's the look I want to go for.

Luckily I found some fabrics in my stash that will be fine, I dont' have to go and buy more. Using up fabrics I have was one of the excuses for making the quilt in the first place! I have included some christmasy holly fabric given to me by my bag swap partner Marie. I think it's got the country style, non glitzy look I'm going for.

I am planning to make blocks of about 8 inches, each block will be different, I will use applique, embroidery and patchwork such as pieced stars. I'm going to make it up as I go along!

Here is an appliqued star I made last night. It is bond-a-webbed with blanket stitch edging using the aqua thread Jemma gave me in the Red and Aqua swap. Tonight I embroidered "Merry Christmas" on cream fabric using the red thread from Jemma, it's coming in useful already.

I'll post more pictures as I go along.

Bye for now, Maria.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Red and Aqua Swap

This blog post comes with a health warning: You may wish to wear sunglasses before looking at the pictures!

I seem to have done most of my posts about swaps recently as most of my sewing time seems to have been taken up with them. The Red and Aqua swap posted by Apron Thrift Girl and Peas and Bees has been great fun. I was partnered with Jemma from monkey make do, also from the UK. It was a direct swap which I enjoyed as it was fun to be in contact with your partner throughout the swap and you knew you could trust them to fulfill their side of the deal.

I returned home in the dark from taking my son swimming on Thursday afternoon and there waiting for me was my parcel. I had left a note taped to the front door asking the post man to put the parcel round the side of the house as I couldn't have beared for it to have been taken back to the depot!

Jemma made a beautiful job of wrapping the goodies in the colour theme of the swap.
She enclosed a note saying that the small parcel was something pretty for me to wear. In this parcel I found a gorgeous silver and aqua bracelet.

The note said that the middle-sized parcel was something to keep me warm. In this package I found a beautiful soft scarf. It is in a twisted design and has a sweet, red velvet ribbon woven down the middle. Sorry about the picture.

The large package was a fabulous selection of sewing goodies as Jemma said she new I love to sew. The little boxes have been painted and contain some funky buttons.

Thanks Jemma. I was thrilled to receive your gifts.

We were asked by the organisers if we have any particular preferences. Jemma said she likes 1950's style and polka dots so I kept this in mind when collecting my items for the swap.

I won't go through eveything but here is what I sent her.
I managed to find some fabric with a 1950's kitchen theme as I learned from looking at Jemma's blog that she likes cooking.

Below is a bag I made for her. I couldn't find any polka dot fabric but managed to find some with little red dots. When I was making the bag I kept thinking that it looked rather bright but as I kept telling myself this was the theme of the swap!

Jemma has written a lovely account of the swap on her blog.

Thanks to those ladies who left quilting suggestions for my quilt on the last post. My machine didn't want to play the game with free motion quilting so I've gone for a rather boring grid pattern.

I am feeling the urge to make a christmas lap quilt/throw as I have some christmas fabric to use up so I may start that as well.

Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A poor, forgotten quilt.

I started this quilt at a workshop a few years ago and it has been folded up in the bottom of the cupboard waiting to be quilted. Tastes change over the years and I'm not that keen on it anymore. I now prefer brighter, more patterned fabrics.

A quilting friend came over today and reminded me about the quilt. She knows I hate tacking the layers together and helped me do it a couple of years ago. I'm not sure how to quilt it. I did start doing some freemotion quilting in a variegated thread which really was the wrong colour so I have started unpicking it.

Despite saying that I'm not keen on it I feel quite inspired to finish it and am in the mood to have another go at the quilting.

This picture shows the back (looking somewhat creased). I made too many blocks so used them as a centre for the backing.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to quilt it?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Another Swap.

Hi, there. It's been a month since my last post. Oh dear, I don't know what happened there. Not much to say I suppose. I have been reading other fabulous blogs though.

The picture shows the items I have made for the Stitching Angels swap. They should be winging their way to their new owner at the moment, or more likely sitting in a pile of other parcels waiting to be sent. I always feel nervous when I hand over a parcel that it won't arrive. The fluffy thing is a scarf, not a pink cat trying to stow away in the parcel.

I received a lovely pin cushion, a cute little tin and a charm from my partner but I still don't know who she is, can't wait to find out. I'll post pictures soon.

I have recently been tagged by Julia at primrose corner, I will do a post soon stating 7 fact about myself but I'm still thinking about what to write.

Well I better go as I've noticed that our stairs are in desperate need of a vacuum - or shall I go and do some more to my quilt........................?

Bye for now Maria.

Friday, 3 October 2008

I'm a lucky girl!

This is the lovely bag I received from my partner Marie
in linda's bag swap. I love it. The colours are bright and cheerful and I love the unusual handles which are tied. It has some cute covered buttons too. The bag is big with plenty of room for lots of sewing stuff. It also has not one but two pockets on the inside. This is the first bag that Marie has made and I think she has done a fantastic job.

Marie has been more than generous with all the wonderful gifts she included with the bag. She sent quilting magazines, scissors, a little angel brooch, cute bottons...............................

Fabulous fabric.............................

A pattern for table mats and coasters, a yo-yo maker, a book on binding quilts and last but not least....CHOCOLATE!

Thank you so much Marie I feel that christmas has arrived early.

Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

This is a peek at the bag I am making for Helen's Stitching Angels bag swap. It is from a gorgeous pattern by May Britt. There are more photos of the beautiful items the stitching angels have been making for the swap at this flickr group.

I really must finish it soon as we have to make a minimum of three items and I'm still on my first.

I was pleased to learn that the bag I made for Linda's bag swap has safely reached it's new owner Cheryl. I am sure she won't mind me saying that she has been unwell recently so has not posted for a while but she sent me a lovely e-mail thanking me for the bag. I must say it brought a tear to my eye to hear that she was so thrilled with the bag. I am so pleased that she has gained so much pleasure from receiving it.

My son had a friend over for tea after school a few days ago. While they were playing in his room I stole a few minutes in my sewing room. His friend came in, pointed at my sewing machine and said "Whats that thing?" For a moment I was rather shocked by his question but then I thought about it and realised there was probably no reason why he should have seen one before as his Mum does not sew and I presume no grandmothers or aunties in his family do either. I was brought up with a Mum who used to make me little dresses when I was small so I've always been around sewing machines. I showed him how it worked and explained that a similar machine (I couldn't face explaining overlockers/sergers) had been used to make his t-shirt. I think he went away very pleased with his new knowledge.
Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Bags aren't just for the girls!

This is what I made with the fabric I showed you in my last post.
We borrowed my Dad's sat.nav. on our recent holiday in France. As he didn't have a bag or case for it I thought I'd make him one.
It has a little pocket on the inside to keep the sat.nav. unit in and the wires go in the main part of the bag.

I spent some of yesterday at a sewing friend's house. We sometimes have a sewing session while the children are at school. When I got home I went to my bag to get my rotary cutter out and IT WASN'T THERE! I'd left it on her sewing table. I'm sure you sewers out there must understand what a trauma it was to discover this. I'm not seeing her until Monday and I can't last that long without it so I've got to drive over to her work today to collect it. She lives about 35 mins away from here so luckily her work is closer.

Bye for now, Maria.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Bye, bye bag!

This is the finished bag I made for ********* in Linda's bag swap.
I hope she likes it.

I felt really sad to see it go. I just hope it arrives safely and that the mail services in both countries look after it well.

Here is the back. I didn't have time to do the same stitching as on the front so did this design. It is from a quilting stencil I have.

I bought these fabrics to make a birthday pressie for my Dad. It felt strange buying this colour pallette as I'm a girlie colour type of girl. I didn't think he would appreciate pink though! I'll show you what I made in my next post as I can't get the camera to load onto the computer. Hubby is off playing football and I need him to sort it out - as he does with most things!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A duchess, a stately home and cornish pasties!

I'm hoping to go to the cinema soon to see the new Kiera Knightly film "The Duchess".

One of my reasons for wanting to see the film is some scenes were filmed at Holkham Hall in Norfolk.

We visited Holkham this summer. It is a beautiful stately home on the North Norfolk coast set in gorgeous grounds with a lake and wild deer roaming freely. The interior is beautiful and is lovingly kept by the owners, the Earls of Leicester. The Viscount Coke and his young family live in the hall in private quarters but they use some of the rooms in the main hall at times. We were told that guests had stayed in one of the very grand bedrooms the weekend before. The room has a fabulous four poster bed and an amazing en-suite bathroom with a huge bath in the middle of the room.

My son took the picture below. Not bad for a six year old. When I first saw the picture above I thought it was the same conifer but now I look closer I don't think it is.

They also have a museum at the hall with lots of old exhibits including carriages, fire engines, farm machinery, kitchen equipment, etc.
I particularly loved these old sewing machines. Not a Bernina in sight.

Here is another peak at the bag I'm making for the bag swap. It's not finished yet and is supposed to be posted by Friday - I think I know what I'll be up to this week!

I'm being spoilt this rainy Sunday afternoon, hubby is in the Kitchen making Cornish pasties for tea. He saw them being made on the "Hairy Bikers" programme and wanted to have a go. He's never made pastry before - he's in the kitchen with Delia learning how. Should be interesting!!!

Bye for now, Maria.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Just Playing

What am I doing? It's now 01.20, yes 01.20 and I'm playing on the computer.
I decided that my photos on the blog look pretty c**p and as we have photo shop I've had a play with a couple of the photos I've posted before to try and make them look better. So this is me just experimenting.
I don't actually know what I'm doing with photo shop but I've managed to brighten the colours a bit.
I really, really must go to bed now.
Maria x

Monday, 1 September 2008


Bonjour! We are back from a wonderful holiday in the Vendee region of south west France.

I knew we wouldn't be out living it up in the evenings so I took some stitching with me.

This is a piccy of my endeavours, it is part of the bag for my bag swap partner. It looks, on the picture, that it is sewn onto the pink fabric but I just put it on that for the photo. I will be using some of this fabric in the bag.

I have only recently started hand embroidery and wanted a book of stitches. We went to the local supermarket on our arrival at our holiday home and I wandered over to the magazine department as I like to look at the French home, gardening and craft magazines, I don't speak/read French but they have gorgeous pictures. Well, there on one of those twirly racks, staring straight at me was this book.

I think it was waiting for me. Even though I don't know what the instructions say the pictures are very clear so I should be able to work out what to do. As luck would have it one of my friends in our sewing group is french so I can ask her to translate any bits I need to read. You may be able to get an English version but I wasn't going to wait to find out! I had to have the book immediately.

Other people's holiday photos can be very boring so here are just a couple of ours. This is one my hubby took of our holiday home, it looks like it comes from the brochure but he managed take it before anyone went in the pool and withought anyone in the background. Our liitle house was the one with the green shutters. It had a little garden with a patio and the rest was sand, it was like having your own beach outside the door, great for a little one to make sand castles.

We took our car with our bikes on the back. There are some fabulous cycle paths around this part of France, we were very impressed with them. This picture is of William and me by a beautiful lake during a lovely cycle ride. He's not really the tall, he's standing on a rock!

We visited a beautiful chateau in the pretty village of Apremont, here's me and William again.

I should have some more previews of my bag swap bag soon.

I've had a message from the organiser of the swap, Linda, to say that she has heard from the lady making my bag to say that due to a natural disaster in her area she will not be able to get my bag sent on time. If she is able to read this I just wanted to send my best wishes and hope all returns to normal soon. I'm sure you all send your best wishes too.
I better go now as loads of washing and ironing etc. to do post holiday.
Bye for now, Maria x

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Festival of quilts and some shopping!

On Sunday myself and a friend visited the Festivalof Quilts at the Birmingham NEC. We had a fabulous day admiring the quilts and shopping (!). We felt that there seemed to be a trend amongst the professional quilters and also with some of the "amateurs" to use what we saw as dull, murky colours. Many of the prize winners had also used those colours. I'm more of a cheerful colour kind of girl and don't think I'll be following that trend.

My friend could bearly contain her exitement as we entered the hall and said she wanted to run around looking at everything. Our sewing group has decided that next year we'll stay overnight and visit for two days and probably do a workshop.

I managed to be fairly restrained with my buying. Here are some pics of my purchases.

I bought two gorgeous skeins of hand dyed fabric from Oliver Twists and some anchor perle thread, these threads may appear in my bag swap bag which I really must get on with.

The fabric is has already been cut up and used in the quilt I showed on my previous post.

I also bought this necklace which I thought was a bargain. You chose your pendant which was £2 and matched it with the ribbon of your choice which was £1. I haven't been brave enough to include my face in any photos so far!

The picture above is a preview of the bag I'm making for my secret partner in Linda's bag swap. "What?", I hear you say, "that's a bag?", yes I know it doesn't look much like a bag at the moment but it will when I eventually finish it.

We are off on holiday tomorrow to south west France so I must get on with some more packing. I hope the weather is better than here, I really need some sun. I plan to do some hand sewing on the bag and will take it with me. You need something to do when it rains!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bye for now, Maria.