Friday, 29 May 2015

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's last ever moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Happy Friday, friends!
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Summer Cushions

This is such a quick post, so I'm not sure why I didn't get round to it yesterday! But if, like us, you have rain coming down in buckets today, then here's a little reminder of Summer for you - in cushion form... 

A simple, linen background with wadding behind, I quilted 'straight' (ha!) lines first, then appliqued a sunflower, from repurposed wool.

The centre of the flower is slightly padded.

And then another easy flower applique...

Again a linen background with wadding, and just a simple quilted border this time. These petals came from a thrifted, silk handkerchief.

Very different now it's on the cushion.

At least the rain will be making everything grow, and I think the sun is due to come out this afternoon. Hoping you all get some sunshine too.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cushion Week!

So more cushions then...

I was aiming for a look of the moors with this one, all in wools. And I had a play around with machine stitching strands of wool on to it too, which was fun - sort of machine couching really I suppose.

 Hard to see clearly in photos but I just laid on my strands of wool (I went for quite thick, fluffy scraps - I'm sure all knitters out there will know a far more technical term for it than thick and fluffy, sorry!), and then stitched along it a few times, usually quite a wavy kind of stitch.

A few more details done and then here it is in its natural setting! Sadly on a pretty miserable, grey day.

The purple fabric was from a wool blanket, so I could use the blanket edging for the back of the cushion.

Then a very simple cushion, just made from old linens, layered up...

I think this one would be lovely in a bedroom. I machine stitched around a few of the denser areas of the centre doily and then hand stitched the edging down carefully.

And last one, another from old linens, but this time with some applique and machine embroidery.

And just as with the blankets, repurposing linens means you can make good use of edging for the cushion back, and not have to worry about hemming your fabric...

That's it for today, the sun is shining and outdoors is calling! 


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Cricket Silhouette Cushions

It's 'Ho, ho, ho' time again, a monthly link up, organised by Celtic Thistle Stitches and Mud, Pies and Pins, to help get us all prepared for Christmas. For the last two 'Ho, ho, ho's', I made something for Maria (Clara and Nutcracker Doll), and something for Venetia (Vintage Embroidery Cushions), so this time I'd set myself the challenge of making something to tuck away for either Sam or Theo. Not the easiest challenge! Teenage boys are so much harder to make for than littler girls.

After quite a bit of thought, I decided that Sam could also really do with some cushions for his room, but cushions maybe aren't the most exciting present for a teenage boy. So I thought I'd at least make them a bit more appealing by making them cricket themed (Sam loves cricket). And after further thought I decided to personalise them even more by having 'Sam' himself playing cricket on them.

I found 3 photos from the beach with a little Sam figure in the background playing cricket - unfortunately the little Sam figure really is 'little' and not overly clear, I think these were very much more photos of Venetia dancing on the beach! 

So to be honest, it would have been more sensible if I'd waited and sneakily engineered some much better cricket playing photos - but maybe you know that feeling of having an idea and just wanting to carry it through straight away?! So, after some enlarging and switching of the photos, I had bigger, blurrier Sams!

And I used some bondaweb to trace these outlines, as best I could, on to some white linen scraps (scraps from some of the vintage embroideries I've used in fact!). And then machine stitched, in a darkish grey, all around each one a couple of times, also adding some detail (so they're not entirely silhouettes I suppose!).

I also added a red ball in this one (before I sewed down the white), although the ball does look slightly out of scale with hindsight! Despite that, I think this one is my favouite, I think it has the most 'flavour' of Sam!

The cushions are just simple, envelope cushions.

So if, like me, you have boys (or obviously sport loving girls just as much) you'd like to make something for, but are struggling with ideas, perhaps a sporting 'silhouette' might work for you too? If I'd waited to get better photos, I think it would have been great to do a series of 3 pictures of the bowling action in sequence, with the ball released in the final shot. Or a sequence of 'batting' action shots could be great too. The same kind of thing could work for golf, or I'm sure for lots of others like rugby or football. And obviously you could go for truer (and therefore easier!) silhouettes, possibly in black. I just went with white because I thought it worked for cricket, and then adding the detail kind of followed on from that.

So, one homemade present for Sam done. Theo still to go, and slightly lacking in ideas there so far!

This month's 'Ho,ho, ho' is over at Practically Pippy, who has made some gorgeous, Christmas mice, obviously right up my street and very cute, so take a look. And if you get your Christmas make linked up before the end of the month then you'll be in with a chance to win this month's giveaway.

I think this week generally may have a slight, cushion theme going on; I've made a few recently, mainly as presents, that I haven't got round to sharing here yet. So watch this space!


Sunday, 24 May 2015

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

'Buzzing bee in a pocket' block

We've had some excitement over the last couple of weeks with bees. We came back one afternoon to find probably about 50 bees buzzing around our back door and going in and out of holes in the stone work at the edge of the door frame. There were probably about another 50 that had presumably got a bit lost and managed to find their way into our bathroom, which is directly above the back door. As much as we love bees, I wasn't keen to have them nesting in our wall, right next to the back door. So I got in touch with a local bee keeper, who came out to us with a 'bait hive'. By the time she arrived the bees had disappeared for the night, and she explained that the bees we'd seen were probably 'scout' bees who'd come out searching for a prospective new home for the swarm. She left the bait hive with us (level, off the ground, somewhere not too hot but catching the morning sun, and also near to the back door) and suggested that we block up the holes in the stonework which the bees had already been investigating. (The children thought it was very amusing when she said - 'You don't happen to have any fabric pieces around the house, do you? That might be the easiest thing to use to block those holes temporarily.' Happily I managed to find a couple of fabric pieces!) So then we waited to see what would happen. 

The very next morning the bees were back, buzzing around the blocked up holes and possibly not too impressed that they couldn't get back inside (hard to tell whether a bee is not impressed though). But literally within a couple of minutes several of them were off exploring the new bait hive, about 3 or 4 metres away. And within another couple of minutes there were many more heading that way to check it out. It was fascinating to watch them.

They were buzzing around madly all day, but we didn't see a swarm at all. The beekeeping lady explained that it might take them a good few days to make up their mind. Apparently bees are very democratic and considered in their decision making, and many, many bees will come out for second, third or fourth viewings to be sure the property is the one for them.

So we carried on watching and waiting. Every day after that the bees were buzzing around consistently, going in and out of the hive. After just over a week the lady thought it was safe to assume that they had properly moved in, sadly I think we must have been out when they swarmed in full. We would have loved to have seen that. And yesterday evening she came along to check and take them back to her place. When she removed the lid, they were all settled in and looking very at home,(although the children were worried about late comers who were still arriving in dribs and drabs as she secured the hive, hopefully we got them all tucked up in the end), and so off they went with her, back to their new place. We were very sad to see them go, and have missed them today, it hasn't felt quite right to not see and hear them going about their business as usual. Theo and I have frequently thought we'd like to keep bees one day, and having them here temporarily has definitely increased our interest.

Anyway, the 'making' point of this story is that I had been dithering slightly about what to put in Maria's last few quilt blocks, and a bee had been one option. As soon as our own bee excitement began, that decision was made, there definitely had to be a bee.

So here it is, another pocket block, and you can just see the bee peeking out here...

He's on a long strip of giant ricrac, and you might be able to see his pocket is made of honey comb, hexie fabric, his favourite!

I might give him some eyes too, I haven't quite decided yet.
And, of course, the bee needed some flowers, so that was the next block...

A lift the flap block for this one...

So another two down, three left to go still.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Take 5

1) It's the time of year for the Spring Bloggers' Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side, so many amazing quilts to see already over there. Voting starts on 22/5, so if you want to enter a quilt you've still got time. I decided I'd enter my 'Fishing' Baby Quilt, into the Small Quilts Category, it's 160" in perimeter so fits nicely in there.

My quilt was inspired very much by my 'fish a day' sewing that I started earlier in the year, and after finishing the quilt, I'm back on the daily fish wagon:

Some of the jellyfish which appeared in the fishy bag, some rainbow striped fish and a little turtle. I'm starting to see the end quilt in my head as kind of an 'I spy under the sea' quilt.

2) Charity Shop buys - some lovely wool blankets...

And they said cushions with flowers to me. So, especially as I have no hand sewing on the go at the moment, I've been sitting cutting out petals and flowers from gorgeous, colourful wool scraps...

I might even get round to sewing them soon!

3) Calling all new Quilt bloggers, there's a blog hop, specifically for you, about to start. I participated in the 2014 Blog Hop and it was really useful, full of lots of tips - both quilting and blogging, and also a great way to get to know other bloggers. Here's the very basic info:

If you are interested in participating in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and have been blogging
  1. mainly about modern quilting*,
  2. for less than 2 years,
  3. writing at least 4 posts a month,
  4. are willing to agree to be actively involved in the blog hop through visiting and commenting on the other blogger’s hop posts,
  5. and have or are willing to open a Facebook account to participate in the group discussions,
*Modern quilting to you is modern quilting to us.
Note that we will accept 100 participants for the blog hop this year. The sign up form will be available until May 31, 2015, or until we reach 100 participants.

You can find out more and sign up over at Quilting Jet Girl, who is one of the hosts this year. (And she also has 2 gorgeous quilts entered into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, so look out for them.)

4) Another, very different, link for you - have you heard about 'Den Making Day' ? It's running from the 29/5 to the 6/6, in aid of Save the Children. The idea is that children are sponsored to create dens - whether that's behind a sofa, or at school, or in their gardens.

There's an adorable clip on You Tube, to promote the campaign:

Particularly with the disaster in Nepal so recently, supporting this campaign seems more important than ever. Save the Children estimate that just in Nepal, 2 million children have been affected by the earthquakes, 320000 children made homeless and 5000 schools destroyed.

And if you're looking for ideas and inspiration, as usual Pinterest is a very easy source - try this board with lots of child friendly ideas. I think my favourite on there might have to be this colourful teepee.

5) Following on nicely from that, I'll just share a few photos from my Saturday night at the weekend. I went camping in our local woods with the boys and 2 of their friends. Happily it was a lovely, sunny evening...

I had a small, pop up tent, but of course that was far too tame for the boys. Sam and one of their friends found a brilliant little den area, very sheltered and secluded within a clump of trees...

But Theo decided to build his own sleeping platform in a tree. There's a little source of scrap wood very nearby, which a building site puts out for the local community to use - I think the expectation generally is that it's free firewood, but Theo trotted off to scavenge some 'suitable' pieces there and brought them back to create this temporary (no nails or anything!) structure!

It was very difficult to capture the full glory of his sleeping platform on camera I'm afraid!

It was probably about 2.5 metres up in the tree, and despite its very precarious angle, Theo did demonstrate to me how difficult it was - due to the positioning of posts and branches - to actually completely fall out of bed. His pillow did slip off during the night, but when I went to check on him, just before 5am after being 'woken' (in inverted commas because I'm not sure I actually 'slept' at all during the night!) by an amazing dawn chorus, he was very much still asleep in his bed!

Despite it being a lovely, sunny evening, the night was really cold. And although I was in my tent, fully dressed in several warm layers with a woolly hat on all night, in a sleeping bag with 3 blankets and a coat over me, I did feel very chilled all night. And it brought it home to me a little more, how hard life must be for so many, children and adults, in Nepal at the moment who are struggling to find warmth and shelter.