Sunday, 31 August 2014

August in review

Another month has whizzed past me. We were away for 2 weeks and I thought I would do a lot more hand sewing than I actually did but then I had other commitments that have eaten up a lot of my "free" time, hopefully for a positive outcome soon. Fingers crossed. Anyway, let's have a look at what I can cross off my August list and what will be carried forward to my September list.

Hoping for Finishes!
1. Finish my Flower Power quilt for my Grand-Mum 85th birthday Lazy Bums challenge for July and this is also going to be my pick for August (again) for A lovely Year of Finishes - yes it is finished and gifted

2. Finish my Cat Quilt - need 13 more blocks before quilting etc - yes it is finished and gifted

3. Dumpling Swap - yes it is finished and sent over to my partner

4. Strawberry Swap - yes it is finished and sent over to my partner

5. It's a Sister's Thing Swap - secret sewing all done (blog post to come soon)

6. Make a book bag for Mister Cars and one for Miss Baby - 2 NewFO for August - both are cut and I have started assembling Mister Cars' bag

7. Finish my Wiksten Tank started at the FQR - no progress

Bee Blocks
8. Stash Bee block (June, July and August) - June and August in progress
9. Little Blog Bee block (August) - nearly finished
10. Block Lotto blocks? - none
11. I love Lucy international block (July and August) - both started 

12. flower hexies for the Inchy Hexie Swap (July and August) - both done

13. + and x blocks (12) - none

14.Midnight in the Oasis - no progress
15. Mod Mod Along blocks: Sunrise Blocks x 6, Little Window blocks x ? - no progress
16. You've got Mail wall hanging - need 4 more envelopes - no progress
17 Finish Maud's bag and my work bag - no progress
18. Make a few blocks for my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt - no progress
19. Make more Farmer's Wife blocks - no progress
20. Continue working on my Once Upon a Time Sampler - very good progress as I have now finished the first 5 months, June and July are nearly there and August not too bad!

New projects
21. Flowering Snowball quilt-along - NewFO for August - cutting has started

22. Postcard quilt-along - NewFO for August - no progress

Total number of blocks for the 350-blocks challenge: 17 (13 under the challenge)

Linking to NewFOFresh Sewing Day and Flowering Snowball Along (despite my very little start).

Friday, 22 August 2014

A quilt with Fat Quarters, a look in my archive

The Archive Tuesday linky this week on Val's blog is about Fat Quarters quilt. A few years back I wanted to make a quilt for my friend Barbara that I was going to visit at her home in Sweden, but this was pre-blog day as I made this quilt in 2007. So I decided to revive today and present it to the world(!) in a brand new post.

I knew Barbara likes floral, pink fabric so I bought a stack of fat quarters and a cream background fabric and tried to decide how to use them. I used this lovely book from Barbara Chainey to decide on a design for the quilt.
Because I made the quilt so long ago, before I use to record my sewing, I only have a few pictures of the finished quilt and none of the in-progress project.

The quilt was quilted very simply in the ditch or with straight lines, I probably didn't dare attempting some free-motion quilting on it.

Linking to Val's Quilting Studio.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Hand sewing

In the last few days, there was a lot of time spent in the car for day trip or travelling from one family to another for the holidays. And in the car, I always take some sewing with me, hand-piecing, paper piecing, stitching or cross-stitch.

I have managed to finish 2 sets of hexie flowers for the Inchy Hexie Swap
some bright and spots one for Lynette for July 
and some dusty pink and cream for Maree for August
I have also started my Patchwork of the cross block for the I love Lucy International Bee in 30s fabric for Jennie. I have prepared all the pieces, I now need to assemble the block.
These 4 flowers take my total of blocks for August to 17  for the 350-blocks challenge.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Round the World Blog Hop

You may have noticed that there is a blog hop going around where bloggers introduce themselves in a bit more detail and how/why they do what they do. Well it's my turn this week.

I was tagged by the lovely Gina from The Occasional Quilter a little while ago. Gina gave me plenty of time to prepare, so much so that between the holidays and other secret commitments that I can't share yet, I completely forgot about the blog hop until today (hence a very late post).... when it is now time to post all about me. I haven't met Gina in real life (but I hope I will one of these days) but I have been in bees with her and she also is a very good Insta friends, she is always so kind to me.

In case you are new to my blog, I thought I would give you a little bit of information about me!
I am a French mum of 3 who has been living in the United Kingdom for the last 14 years. My eldest son is 8 and my daughters are 5 and 2. I work (a big) part time in the pharma industry. I spend a lot of time cooking for my family and of course on the usual house tasks as well as juggling the kids activities. So sewing is my sanity. When the kids are finally in bed, I am so happy to escape to the sewing room and spend a few hours in the company of my sewing machine. Usually while my dear hubby is painting in the same room! 
I have been quilting for just over 10 years. I have attended a few classes here and there over the years but I am mostly self-taught. Once I started buying fabric online, I got the bug and became almost instantaneously a fabric addict! I can't stop myself if I see any gorgeous pieces of fabric, they always seem to be calling my name. So my stash is ever increasing. My Mum suffered from the same disorder for dressmaking fabric so I guess this is a genetic issue (not sure the pharma world has ever investigated it to date ;-)  ) 
I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking the family meals but also baking cakes and yummy bread.
I did cross-stitch before I started quilting and I have recently gone back to it with the lovely Once Upon a Time Sampler that is an year-long on-going project.

What am I working on
I am never disciplined enough in my sewing to work on one project from start to finish before picking up another one. When I first started patchwork, I couldn't understand how people could have UFO rather than finishing what they started before picking something else. How naive I was at the time, lol! I very very quickly got up and had my very own growing list of UFOs!

I have several type of projects I am working on at the time. I am a swap-aholic so there is always a swap going on. I am currently working on my Secret Sister swap and all I'll show you is some fabric!

And of course the various bees I am in too. I have a couple of blocks on the go

Then there are the quilt-alongs of course. I am planning to get started asap on the Flowering Snowball-along but so far I have only picked my fabric and cut my templates
and there is also the Celestial Star quilt-along that I haven't started either.

And I need to make a school bag for Mr M and one for miss A

There is also my Dear Jane quilt that I haven't touched for years 

and my Farmer's Wife which hasn't been touched for month

my Midnight in the Oasis that I started this year

and now since the FQR 2014 the Green Tea and Sweet Bean as well!

I won't go through my long list of UFOs here ;-)

How Does My Work Differ from Others
I quite often follow patterns, quilt along etc but I also occasionally create my own. I am very proud of My Hungry Caterpillar quilt, which was my own design

or my Maisy quilt which was inspired from a Star Irish Chain but made so much more unique by the centre Maisy blocks that my fellow bees helped me create.

More recently, my Flower Power quilt was my own design too to use up a pile of old BOM blocks 
or my Siblings Together quilt

Of course, my choice of fabric or colour palette is mine as well. 
I do all my quilts from A to Z myself, I do the cutting (I have never used pre-cuts so far), piecing, quilting. I don't own a long-arm but I have a quilting frame that I occasionally use.
Why I do what I do
Sewing is my sanity! And I obsessed with fabric, which probably explains why I do what I do. I love playing with fabric. It is my relaxation!How Does My Creative Process Work 
It depends what I am trying to do. When I follow a pattern, there is only the fabric arrangement to play with. Whereas when I make an original design, I work with pen and paper, occasionally Excel! I don't own a fancy software to design quilt so this is quite limited. 

That's it for me for today. Hope you weren't too bored!
I am tagging some fellow European bloggers so you won't have to travel to far between now and next week. They will be posting next Monday 25th August.

Lou at I' m Studio Lou. Lou has started her blog just over a year ago. A few month back, she started the Little Blog Bee which is when I met her "virtually". I don't think her blog would fit in the Little Blog category anymore, and this is quite right as she has lots of lovely work. Check her dressmaking as well as her patchwork skills. 

Pippa at  Pippa's Patch - Pippa has done the reverse from me. She is a Brit living in France! I have got to know Pippa through several bees and finally met her this year at FQR 2014. Go and read her adventure.

Happy blog hopping!

Friday, 15 August 2014

And another quilt!

 The cat quilt is finished too (and gifted!). I had a sewing marathon last week to finish all the cat blocks I was missing. I made 30 in total 3 in each 10 colors I had picked.

I tasked DH to arrange them while I was at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and pieced the top on Thursday evening on my return.

I kept the quilting simple, with a diagonal grid all over the quilt. I had started marking it with masking tape but found that my lines were woobly
 so I tried marking with my Hera marker (that I had never used for marking the quilting) and found that was so much better, something to remember for the future!

I used the grey background fabric to bind my quilting and this time I added the binding the "traditional" way, machine sewing on the front and hand sewing on the back.
Et voila, another one of my Q3 Finish Along list, another OPAM and another gift!

Quilt stats:
Cats fabrics: assortment of scraps from my stash
Background and binding fabric: Kona charcoal
Backing fabric: Bike track in black and white
Size: 36' x 42'
Machine pieced and machine quilted with Superior Thread.
Started May 14, finished Aug 14

And that gives me 13 blocks for the 350-blocks challenge for August.

Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday, Whoop Whoop Friday.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lovely swaps

If you read me regularly, you will know that I am a swap addicts :-D and I can't help but sign up to all those gorgeous swaps that come up on Flickr, Instagram etc.. And last week was the deadline to send 2 of these lovely swap packages. The first one I sent out was The Strawberry Swap. This one had been a 2-parts swap for me as I had gathered half of my package before the FQR 2014 where I knew my partner would be. I arranged for someone else to pass my parcel to Vanessa so she wouldn't know yet who I was. I made her one key pouch all with strawberry fabric and gathered a few strawberry/chocolate goodies.
To add to my first half of the parcel, I made a mini with a big paper-pieced strawberry (pattern from with the lovely little strawberry fabric that seems to have been very popular with lots of the swappers. I added a few pieces of strawberry fabric to complete the package and sent it to my partner last week.
And just as I was finishing to put together this package for my partner, I received a gorgeous box from Tracy, filled with fantastic goodies.

How cute is the mini with all the stamps on? I was a very lucky swapper!

The other swap I joined was the Dumpling swap. The theme this round was Ocean and my partner said she loves Union Jack and all things British so I mixed a bit of both in her dumpling, piecing waves of fabric together.
I hadn't made a dumpling pouch before but they come together quite easily once you place the zip in the right direction. (For my first attempt, I had the zip in the wrong direction so my lining fabric is on the outside.. oups!)

 And this is the goodies I gathered for Paula, hoping she will like them.
And I was spoiled by Janine, she sent me a gorgeous package with a lovely dumpling and also the most adorable needle book as well as plenty of ocean gorgeousness!

So these 2 little swaps give me another 2 OPAMs for August and also cross 2 items of my Q3 Finish Along list.


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