Tuesday, 1 December 2009

This "n" That.

Hi there, during the last week I've been working on a few items that need finishing. I decided to make a pieced back for my wonky log cabin quilt using the many scraps I had left over plus some fabric that just needs using up. It's taking ages to put together as there are many small pieces, I could probably have finished it by now if I'd not pieced the back but it's nearly done now. I'll show a picture when it's completed.

I showed this christmas mini quilt last year when I started it and surprise, surprise it's not finished yet, I'm doing hand work on it now and hope to get it done for this christmas.

My "Summer pools" quilt has finally made it onto the wall. Sorry about the poor photo.

I tried a new craft the other day inspired by this wonderful post by Lucy at Attic24. It's called decopatch and involves tearing up pieces of paper and glueing them to an MDF frame. I bought mine from here.

I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out, I much prefer Lucy's though. They were sold out of the style of letters she used and I was too impatient to wait for more. It was fun to do and I think I may do another one which spells "home".

Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Colour Therapy.

One of the main reasons I love to sew is that it gives me the oppurtunity to play with bright, colourful, cheerful fabrics. We're having a very dull, dreary November and even a quick glance at my unfinished quilt laying over a chair brightens my day and immediately makes think of sunshine and summer.

Last night when it was dark and cold outside I went into my sewing room and looked at my other bright quilt laying on the work table and felt so happy that I have quilting and fabric in my life. Maybe all us lovers of bright, colourful, quilty gorgeousness should start a new movement. I vote that we all make some bright, happy quilt blocks
and hand them out to people in the streets
to bring some sunshine into their days too!!

I've been plodding on with quilting the quilt I showed in my last post. It's getting slightly less frustrating but I'm still having trouble keeping the stitches the same length and also with manouvering the weight of quilt. Here's some of my progress so far.

Next I need to finish the blue triangles and then its onto the pink diamonds, just got to decide what pattern to try in the diamonds.

Last week I was very lucky to win a give-away by Rachel of Contended. Look at the lovely pressies she sent.

Don't you just love that cute owl fabric Rachel made the zippy bag from? The little heart now hangs from a cupboard door in my sewing room and I wore the flower brooch at my sewing group and it received lots of compliments. Rachel also sent these pretty cards.

There were also some jelly beans and bath bombs but they're both long gone! Many thanks for the generous gifts Rachel.

Well I better go and get on with some quilting, er sorry, housework now!

Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Quilting frustration!

  Hi there, it's been a very long time since I've posted on my blog. There's no particular reason other than I've not had much new sewing wise to show. I've still been blog reading and I hope there is someone out there who hasn't forgoten me and may pop by to say "hi".

I've been working on a wonky log cabin quilt from a tutorial by John from Quiltdad who was the guest tutor (if that's the correct term) on the Old Red Barn Co. Quilt Along on fickr.
I used fabrics that I already had and wanted to use up. I recently did a direct fabric swap for some Park Slope strips with Viv from Highway cottage
and they went really well with the fabrics I was using so I added those too.
Here's some photos of the completed quilt top. I'm piecing the back too in a random make it up as you go along, let's use up some of the scraps style.

This is where I've spent some of my time this morning getting very annoyed and frustrated (you should see how hard I hit the key board when I wrote that).

I've been quilting a large double bed size quilt top, which I started making nearly two years ago, and my frustration is not the fault of my lovely new Bernina but down to the fact that the quilt is just too big to manouvre when free machine quilting. I'm not happy with how the quilting is looking but I'm just going to have to live with it.

Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Mini-Quilt finish.

I've finished my quilt for the flickr Doll quilt swap an flickr and It's now in the mail. Have a look here for some photos of what other members of the swap have been upto. There's some beautiful work.

I showed a picture of my quilt in my last post when it was in the nearly finished stage.
I'm pleased with how it turned out. The pattern for the applique flower is from a book called "Making scrap Quilts to use it up" by Lynne Edwards. She is a local author (Suffolk, UK) who was recently awarded the MBE for her work as a quilter and author. My mother-in-law remembers her when she first started patchwork. She used to sit on a bench hand stitching hexegans whilst my husband (when he was a child!) and her children played in the village play area.
 The quilt in the book uses lots of the flowers, I'm afraid my patients only stretches to one though. I just used the pattern for the applique and designed the rest of the mini-quilt myself.

Bye for now, Maria

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sewing and some culture.

At last some sewing to show. I've nearly finished my quilt for the doll quilt swap over on flickr.
I've hand appliqued a flower with each petal made from a different fabric and I'm in the process of hand quilting around each petal. I've used a fairly thick embroidery thread rather than a standard hand quilting thread. In the centre of the flower I've embroidered some french nots but I think it needs a few more.
The rest of the quilt will be machine quilted. Hopefully this will be one of the last quilts I machine quilt on my trusty old Janome as I'm off to order a new Bernina tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Months ago I explained that we'd started decorating our living room. Well it's been quite a big job and I'm not sure whether we started it at the best time as my husband has been very busy over the summer and progress has been slow. We need new cushion covers to go with the new decor and I've made the first one. It's in a log cabin design and uses a different fabric for each log. I'm pleased that I managed to insert a zip in the back and piped the edges with piping I covered myself. I plan to use the same fabrics for the next three but they'll all use a different patchwork design.

And now from some culture!
In my last post I showed a photograph of a lighthouse I took from a beach in Cornwall near St.Ives. I explained that I couldn't remember the name of the beach, well Carolyn of Love Stitching Red lives in St.Ives and recognised it. She kindly informed me that the beach is called Godrevy and she told me that it's the lighthouse that the major twentieth century author Virginia Woolf writes about in her novel "To The Lighthouse" (first published 1927). I've now learned that Woolf spent time as a child at Talland House which overlooks St.Ives bay and Godrevy lighthouse. Although it is the inspiration for the book the lighthouse in the book is set in Scotland. The house has now been turned into luxury holiday apartments.
I bought a copy of the book today but I must admit that it's not the kind of book I normally read, I've read a review that states that many readers find the novel strange and difficult but I'll see how it goes.

When I first saw the book cover I was somewhat disappointed as although the image was beautiful it appeared to be modern. It was in fact taken in 1913 by Lieutenant Colonel Mervyn O'Gorman and is called "Christina walking on the beach", Christina was his daughter and two more of his photos of her can be seen here and here. The photos are autochromes which were the first practicable colour photographs and to me they have a beautiful dream like quality and bring the past to life more than black and white photos.
Sorry about my photos, the light was poor.
Bye for now, Maria

Thursday, 3 September 2009


Thought I would show a few pics of our recent trip to Cornwall. We stayed in Newquay, I was rather worried about staying there as lots of youngsters go there for surfing and lots of partying but we found it to be OK.

We stayed in this lovely house nestled into the cliffs overlooking Newquay bay.

Here it is from one of the beaches. You can see some fishing boats going into the little harbour.

This little chap and his (or her) friends live in the harbour and follow the fishing boats after food.

The weather was mixed but mostly dry. A certain little boy spent lots fun time body boarding. I'm afraid his Mummy was a wimp and didn't venture into the sea at all! It was too cold for me.

I can't remember what this beach was called but it had a beautiful view of a light house which sat on rocks out in the sea.

We visited St.Ives which we loved. Lots of lovely galleries and individual shops. We went on holiday with friends so while the husbands and children were on the beach myself and my friend had a great time shopping!

We had a very enjoyable day at the Eden project. It's amazing to think there's a rainforest in one of the domes complete with a waterfall.

They have enormous bees in this part of Cornwall!

I have been doing some sewing but haven't taken any photos yet, I'll be back soon to show what I've been upto.
Bye for now, Maria.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Lucky old me.

Hi All. We've just returned from a week away in beautiful Cornwall so I'm refreshed and ready to start sewing again. As I mentioned in my last post I received a fabulous package of goodies from my Christmas in July swap partner Kelly. She sent lots of beautiful gifts, here they all are.

We had to make a Christmas stocking or santa sack. Kelly made this lovely, huge bag.

This Santa has been appliqued onto the bag with blanket stitch.

I love these jingle bells sewn onto prairie points.

Kelly also made this beautiful wall hanging.

I love the hanger, it's so pretty.

This is a shopping bag. What a great saying.

Look at this selection of delights. A magazine, Australian fabric, sewing theme badges and a pretty address book.

I even received some pretty jewellry which I've had the pleasure of wearing and a cute little bag which I used to take my jewellry on holiday in.

Just look at these cute little chaps, they'll look great on our christmas tree.

Thanks very much kelly, you sent a very generous, beautiful parcel.

Due to circumstances I received two wonderful parcels in this swap from Stephanie and Kelly and I've therefore decided to do a give-away which will be open just to other membersof the Christmas in July swap. As I've received so much I thought it would share things out a bit. I'm not giving away anything that Stephanie or Kelly sent though, they're all mine! I'll come up with a parcel of goodies, not sure what yet though. I'll post about it when I get my act together.

Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Swap, Swap, Swapping.

Lots of pictures today all swap related. I recently took part in a seaside swap organised by Rachel. My partner was Viv from New Zealand. I made her this mini-quilt.

Slightly wonky stitching on the beach hut doors but I'm sure Viv doesn't mind.
Viv sent me a very New Zealand themed parcel which I love. It's great to be sent something personal to the area where the sender lives. I'm sure there are many seaside items that are mass produced and sold all over the world. I told Viv the story of when I bought a handbag in a small boutique in France last year thinking it would be different to what other people at home had but I've seen bags exactly the same on our local market and loads of people with them in the town.

Anyway, here is the super parcel that Viv sent. I love the New Zealand
Paua shell, it is beautiful how it shimmers in the light. There's too much to mention each gift but here they all are. Thanks a lot viv.

Another swap I recently took part in was Linda and Stephanie's Christmas in July swap. I recently showed what I sent my partner. Well unfortunately it has turned out that the lady who was partnered to send me a parcel has been ill and we thought that she was no longer taking part, Stephanie kindly stepped in and sent me a beautiful parcel.

I gasped when this beautiful bag full of gifts popped out of the box.

Here's the bag in all its polka dot glory.

Isn't this fab? It's a christmasy craft apron. Don't you just love the fabric and the way Stephanie has fussy cut the fabrics on the pockets? Unfortunately I haven't got all the pockets in the photo.

Stephanie also sent some t-cloths, recipe cards, polka dot note cards, a needle case, a super soft flannel pillow case and a knitted dishcloth. Many thanks Stephanie, you are very kind.

We have since heard from my partner and she has sent a parcel too so it looks like I'm going to be the lucky recipient of two parcels!

I haven't been very productive with my sewing over the last week but I've started my quilt for the Doll Quilt 7 swap on flickr so I better get going with that.
Bye for now, Maria.

Update: I have just received a wonderful parcel from my original Christmas in July swap partner Kelly, I will do a post about it soon.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Paying our respects in France.

Yesterday we returned from a brief trip across the Channel to France. The reason for our trip was to visit the grave of my great uncle who died, aged 21, in 1918 during the first world war. He was the eldest of six children who came from Hunstanton, a small coastal town in North Norfolk , England and was the brother of my late grandmother.
He was (I think) a motorcycle despatch rider from the Royal Engineers regiment
and he was sent to a camp
to deliver mail or messages. As it was getting late he was told to stay at the camp overnight before returning in the morning, but tragically his tent received a direct hit and he was killed.

The cemetery is just outside the town of Hazebrouk in northern France. It was used chiefly by field ambulances and fighting units of the 29th division from April to August 1918 for the burial of Commonwealth casulaties sustained during the German offensive. There are 226 first World War burials in the cemetery.

The cemetry is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Comission and we assume a local gardener maintains the land. We were hugely impressed by how beautifully kept it is. There are red roses and other plants growing in front of and between the graves and the grass is neat and manicured. It is wonderful that the final resting place of these young men, who appeared to be mostly in their 20's, is kept so lovingly and respectfully over 90 years after the war in which they died ended.The picture below shows the headstones from behind and doesn't show the planting to full effect.

The image below shows the headstone of my great uncle Charles Robert Nelson Crown. We were unaware that the the headstone was carved with the crest of his regiment (as were all the headstones) and a personal inscription which we believe his parents must have chosen. I had imagined something far more simple.

Charlie's parents or siblings never had the opportunity to visit his grave so I feel proud that three generations of his family - my dad, myself and my son - have now visited and paid our respects. His parents died in the 1950's and they never had the oppurtunity to visit their son's grave. To them France would have seemed so far away but to us it is just a few hours away. We drove to the Channel tunnel which is about 2 hours, drove onto the train and arrived in France after about 30mins and the cemetery was about another 30 minute drive. I wonder what my great grandmother and grandfather would have thought if they had been told that one day in the not too distant future you could drive onto a train that would take you under the sea to France.

Sadly my grandparents also lost their youngest son Sydney but this time during the second world war. He died age 27 as a POW whilst building the Burma-Siam railway and his grave is in the Chungkai War Cemetery Thialand. Maybe one day we be able to visit his grave too.

When we returned from our trip I stole a few minutes to look at a few blogs and was amazed by the co-incidence of the post by my seaside swap partner Viv. She wrote about an exhibition she had attended in New Zealand where she lives which was about the battle for Passchendaele, Belguim by New Zealand soldiers in 1918 during WW1.

Until next time, Maria.