Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sewing from the week

This week has been heavily disrupted in our house. First I spent Monday night in A&E with Miss Strawberry Shortcake but all is well and we eventually came home in the small hours of the night. And on Tuesday I received the call I feared from my brother to tell me that my Grand-Dad passed away. So we packed and went home for the week-end to say our last Good-Bye and be there for the funerals. My Grand-Dad turned 88 last Sunday so he has been blessed with a long and happy life but regardless, it was very emotional and hard to let him go one last time.

Needless to say that all the plans for this week have gone through the window and little got done. Today is Mother's Day in England and I must say it has been a slow day for me, I have been feeling physically exhausted, I guess this is the consequence of the last week.

I have spent a considerable amount of time in the car to travel back and forth to France, which has helped to work on my Once Upon a Time sampler for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. Of course, I haven't caught up yet but I am very happy with my progress this month. From here at the beginning of March
to there tonight

I also managed to get started on my other project for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge, the You've Got Mail wall-hanging. I completed 3 envelopes and one pencil blocks. This was also my NewFO Challenge for March, I am glad I started it, now to finish it... one day.

My NewFO project for April will be the Triangle Quilt-Along. I have selected my fabric, now to get started (and hopefully finished) in April. Wish me luck!

And of course with plenty of hand sewing time, I finished my block for the I Love Lucy International Bee for March (#13 on my March aLYoF)

I also finished my block for the Little Blog Bee (#15 on my March aLYoF)

These make my total of blocks for March so far for the 350 blocks Challenge at 22 blocks. I need 8 more by tomorrow night, not sure I'll manage to meet this month target once again.
Linking to 30/30 Sewing Challenge, Anything Goes Monday, Building Blocks Tuesday, NewFO Challenge.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Baby quilt - a look in my archive

Another pre-blog quilt today for Val's Tuesday Archives. I started quilting in 2002 with a project far too difficult for a beginner, an applique quilt based on a traditional French Game called Jeu de l'Oie.
 I found the pattern in a French magazine and the instructions were not very detailed onto how to make it. But with no fear, I went ahead, started shopping for red and white fabric and started applique (by hand) all the little squares that were required for the quilt. I didn't know anything about needle turn applique or reverse applique or even fusible applique or machine applique at the time so I used a straight running stitch on each of the pieces (I discovered needle turn applique a couple of years later while working on my Dear Jane blocks).

 I made all the blocks and assembled the top over several months and I eventually went to a quilting class at my local quilting shop to discover how to quilt. I kept my quilting quite basic for a first quilt but then it was the first time I was dealing with a quilt sandwich!
I learnt how to bind the quilt with mitered corners from a book from Harriet Hargrave and after several months, my first quilt was finished ready to give to my new baby cousin. I have come a long way since this first quilt and learnt a lot and looking back, it wasn't probably the most recommended project for a first quilt, but never mind, I made it, gifted it and was happy I had completed a quilt. Then of course, I had caught the bug! Linking to Val's Quilting Studio.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Some sewing from the past week and some projects

This week has been good I think, I was hoping to get caught up with all my bee blocks, well that doesn't quite work as I caught side tracked. The only block ready to go is my block for Bee Europa and one more block for the 350-blocks challenge

But this is what I spent most of my time on: I picked up my cat quilt in-progress to try and finish the top. This is my chosen project for the March Lovely Year of Finishes and the end of the month is coming quickly. Most of the blocks I had were made by my fellow bees last year for Bee Europa but I decided that the top was not big enough and I needed to have it 6 x 6 rather than 5 x 5. I made one extra block last year but I still needed 10 more.

So I made 10 more blocks this week (and that's 10 blocks more for the 350 blocks challenge!), Miss Strawberry Shortcake arranged them yesterday and I finished the top. Now I am planning to quilt it next week-end.
350-blocks challenge: 17 this month, just about one week to make 13 more!

And on the 30/30 Sewing Challenge, I progressed my cross stitch a little. I started March (OK I haven't finished January and hardly started February, but never mind!)
And I also made the first block of my You've Got Mail wall-hanging (finally!), which is also my NewFO challenge for March

Oh, and I also need to show you the lovely pin I won on Barbara's blog last month for the NewFO challenge. It couldn't suit me better, could it?

And finally (as if I didn't have enough projects already), I will take part in the Triangle Quilt Along which started on Friday.
I went shopping today to buy some blue for my quilt that I am planning to make for my friend's birthday. (A few came from my stash!)

Linking to 30/30 Sewing Challenge, Whoop Whoop Friday, NewFO Challenge, Anything Goes Monday, Brit Sewing Thursday Linky, Triangle Quilt Along.

Just Sew Sue


Monday, 17 March 2014

Hand stitching and a last-minute PE bag

As usual I had great plans for the week ahead and the week-end last Monday but most of them went out of the window. On Tuesday evening about dinner time, Miss Strawberry Shortcake announced that she needed a PE kit for...tomorrow. Of course I had some fabric to make drawstring bag but I hadn't made it yet as it hadn't been required. So after my exercise class, I did set off to make her bag. In all honesty, it didn't take long, probably about 30 minutes in total but that wasn't on my to-do list! But anyway this is another OPAM for March and another one off my Finish Along list.

And then after a long week at work and also emotionally, my Mum called to say my Grand-Dad wasn't well so we decided to make a flying visit to the family in France over the week-end. My Mum and Grand-Mum were cheered up a little by the kids' company and could go to hospital and spend time with my Grand-Dad. I am not sure whether he knew I was there with him but anyway, I sat by his bedside for most of Saturday afternoon.
And I did some hand-stitching while I was there. I finished my last 2 blocks for the Get Your Hex On! Bee

I also spent a lot of time in the car so more hand sewing time, which means I also finished my 2 hexie flowers for Joke for the Inchy Hexie Swap (entry #4 on my March list!)

That gives me 4 more blocks for March for a small total of 5 so far, I need 25 more for the 350 blocks challenge!

I have hardly turned my machine on last week so no progress on my You've Got Mail wall-hanging as yet. All I have managed is to print the paper piecing templates (I guess this is a start) but I have made some progress on my Once Upon A Time Sampler - reporting for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge

And finally I came home one day last week to a wonderful package from Melissa for the Sewing Room Swap.
 Yummy clamshells
 And look at the circle of geese pincushion.

Yes it is the Sewtogether bag filled with lots of yummy goodies, which is wonderful. I used it already this week-end and showed my Mum and Grand-Mum who were both impressed! A useful pouch for my EPP blocks. Another fantastic swap where I really feel spoiled.

Linking to Berry Barn Design and Building Blocks Tuesday.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sewing Room Swap

I am a queen of last-minute, nothing new here, but I have been particularly last-minute for the Sewing Room Swap. I am not sure how it happened, but it did happened. Anyway, before the week-end started, I hardly had anything done (I knew what I was making - pattern, fabric etc) but my progress was ridiculous. I picked a mini from my partner's mosaic as inspiration and decided to make a similar one. The mini is made of 4 Arkansas Stars from Lee's tutorial here in the Summer Sampler series.
I didn't cut out the diamonds for my blocks but used strips that I sew together before cutting the diamonds out. I used 2 5/8' strips but next time I would use 2 3/4' or even 3' strips as some were slightly on the shorter side. So by Thursday evening all I had done was my diamonds, I paper pieced half of the blocks on Friday night and the second half on Saturday. Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day here, sunny and warm, and I guess that's what gave me some energy to get going. I assembled the top for my mini Sunday afternoon

before making my small items for the swap. I had decided on the sewing kit and pencil pouch from the Zakka Style book as I had already road tested those before (I had to play as safe as possible by then!) I used some grey Essex Linen with the same assortment of blue fabrics from my mini for a coordinated look. A couple of hours later, I had a lovely sewing kit and pencil pouch ready to go!

I quilted my mini after dinner after the kids went to bed. I wanted to make the stars/diamonds stand out from the background so I quilted very close wavy parallel lines all over the background. It really makes the blue diamonds to raise above the surface, I love it!

I really like the effect on the back too with the stars and diamonds that are drawn.

While making the sewing kit, I used a single fold binding for the pockets, I thought it could be a good choice for my mini too because the binding is much narrower than a double fold and I really wanted to keep it as discreet as possible. So for the first time ever I used a single fold binding on a quilt which I attached all by machine (another first!)

So it is now all in the mail ready to go to its new house but I must say I could have kept this parcel for myself! I hope my partner likes it really!
In conclusion, last-minute works well for me. I am better under pressure usually other I can waste so much time procrastinating! And of course, there is a few OPAMs in there: 1 mini quilt, 1 sewing kit and 1 pencil pouch, that's my first 3 for March and it also crosses off my first item of my March list!

Linking to Brit Thursday Linky Party, Needle and Thread Thursday.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Another pre-blog quilt - Applique

The themes for Val's Tuesday Archive linky party today are Applique and Apple. I knew straight away which quilt I would refer to for the applique and really thought it wasn't that long ago since I made it but actually I finished it a few month before I started my blog so I will be twisting the linky party "rules" again this week. I have a picture in this post here from the blog festival in 2010 and a little bit about the story too but I thought I would write a post about the quilt now.

The quilt I am featuring today is made of 40 blocks from the Dutch Treat book. All the blocks are made in blue and white and are inspired from the delft ceramic tiles.

My Mum came to visit some time in 2008, while her new house was being built and looked at the book, admiring the quilt and blocks. So after she left, I set to make her a house-warming quilt with some of the blocks. I picked 40 blocks either for their designs or names and made all the blocks by hand using reverse applique. I made the blocks on my commute to work over quite a few months as some were really intricate and took quite a few trips to complete!
Apart from the sashing, I used fabrics that I had already used to make her bed quilt so it would be in harmony. I assembled the top by machine and choose a seminole border for the top and then quilted by machine.

I gifted my Mum her quilt in February 2009, a few months after she moved into her new house and about 10 months after I started it. And I wrote a letter explaining the reason behind the choice of each blocks. My Mum loves her quilt, which is finally now proudly hanged into her bedroom above her bed.
Linking to Val's Tuesday Archive linky party


Monday, 10 March 2014

30/30 Sewing Challenge

I was planning to post on Saturday my progress on the 30/30 Challenge but with a birthday boy in the house, I never found time to write a blog post. This is one of the thing I did instead on Saturday

Now the birthday season is over in our house, back to some sort of normality hopefully! Anyway, during the first week of the challenge, I didn't manage to get started on my new You've Got Mail wall-hanging (also because I was busy finishing a swap) but I did spend my commute time on my cross-stitch sampler. So I know it doesn't look like a lot of progress but I actually made some progress: I started on the border on the left of the stitchery and also added the mirror in the first box and the crown in the second.

Let's see what another week of commuting brings! Linking to Berry Barn Design.

Friday, 7 March 2014

February in review

So this last month I joined for the first time A lovely Year of Finishes challenge with a (too) long list, let's see how I did
1. Finish off my mini quilt and small item for the Sew Sew Modern 4 swap - all sent on time
2. Make a mini quilt for the Super Swap - sent on time
3. Catch up on my Simply Solids blocks (December and January) - January done, December still to do
4. Make my Siblings Together 2 blocks (January and February)- January done, February still to do
5. Inchy Hexie swap (finish January and February) - January and February done
6. Block for the Lotto - 0 block
7. Double chevrons blocks for Mod Mod Along - all 4 blocks done
8. Start my Once Upon a Time Sampler for the New FO challenge - started
9. Make some pillowcases for the kids -all finished and in their bed
10. Finish my hearts panel (if I can locate it again) - not found again so no progress
11. Catch up on my + and x blocks - none done
12. Make more blocks for my Cats quilt - none done

In addition to this list, I made 12 (!) birthday cakes in various shapes (2, 5 and 8 as well as Hello Kitty and Teddy bear) for the kids various birthday celebrations

I also completed 10 Farmer's Wife blocks

So quite a busy month all in all! Here is a mosaic of my makes for the month!
Linking to Fresh Sewing Day

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Lonely snowflake

Only one block completed so far this week, this is my last (belated) block for the Simply Solids bee. This block was for Jo. She asked for a snowflake like the ones you make with paper that you fold and cut out. I finally got around to try and make her this block with a snowflake inspired from a charm on one bracelet I recently bought:

That's another bee which is finished and one of my goal for March (#2) completed!
If you want to try cutting out a six-pointed snowflake, visit this website for clear and detailed instructions.
Linking to Jen at Building Blocks Tuesday, Sue at Brit Thursday Sewing Linky, Kelly at Needle and Thread Thursday.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A new Linky party - a look at the past

Did you see this new Linky Party Tuesday Archives at Val's Quilting? The idea is to share all sewing/quilting post based on the theme Val's give on her blog. This first week it is about Alphabet Quilts or Album Quilts.

Val's Quilting Studio

Now I made an Alphabet quilt for my friend's baby girl about 7-8 years ago but that was pre-blogging time. So I'll do a special post about this quilt now!
I did each of the little applique square on the train to and from work. It is all needle-turn applique. Here are a few close up of the quilt.
 Some of the squares also had some embroidery to complete the design.
 It is also a rare (maybe the only one) that I quilted by hand.
 No if some of the images don't make sense to you with the letters, it might be because it is in French.
It took about 6 months to complete it and it was made and gifted in 2006.
Linking to Val's Tuesday Archive


Monday, 3 March 2014

March goal setting

Once again, it is time to set goals for the month! and try to get things finished with so many sources of motivation with 2014 - A lovely year of finishes, as well as the OPAM and Lazy Bums

The 350 blocks challenge for March is to make 30 blocks! I was shot of 5 blocks in February so let's hope the 3 extra days this month make it easier to finish 30 blocks.
What else can I add to the list?
1. Finish off my items for the Sewing Room swap
2. Catch up on my Simply Solids blocks (December)
3. Make my Siblings Together 2 blocks (February March)
4. Inchy Hexie swap (March)
5. Block for the Lotto
6. Beads on a string blocks for Mod Mod Along
7. Start my You've got Mail wall hanging for the NewFO challenge
8. Finish my cat quilt

9. Finish Maud's bag - Lazy Bums challenge for March
10. Catch up on my + and x blocks
11. Make 10 Farmer's Wife blocks
12. Finish the central medaillon of my Midnight in the Oasis
13. I love Lucy international block (March)
14. Stash Bee crazy block (March)
15. Wonky star for the Little Blog Bee (March)
16. Bee Europa blocks (March)
17. Join the Triangle Quilt Along
OK I will stop here because it is probably already once again far too long and ambitious, although there is onely 1 birthday this month to cook for (I made 12 birthday cakes last month all together!)
The project I will pick for my March Finish is # 8, my Cat Quilt for Miss Strawberry Shortcake.

Linking to 2014 - A lovely year of finishes,


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