Monday, 28 November 2011

Guess where I am today?

You're right, it could be anywhere so I'll tell you...


Head over to Cindy's blog to read my version of The Name Game (don't forget to come back!) and welcome to anyone who has followed the link on Cindy's post and has popped over to see me - I hope you enjoy your visit!  I was thrilled when Cindy asked me to take part in this feature and I'd like to say a big thank you to her for asking me!


In my last post I showed you the cushion I'd received in the Brit Quilt Swap Pillow Fight but I realised later that night that I'd forgotten to tell you who my cushion was for!  It was such a relief when Trudi emailed me to say she loved it - visit her blog to see the fabulous cushion she made and see some more photos of the cushion I made.  Trudi, it was an honour to have you as a partner and I'm thrilled you like what I made!


Last Thursday my run of good luck continued when I opened my email inbox to find an email entitled 'YOU WON!!!!!!!!!' from the lovely Kristyne.  Can you believe it (I can't!) - I've won her wonderful giveaway!  (I've been waiting for permission from Kristyne and Gigi to use the photos from the giveaway before I shared this!)

Want to see what I've won?  (I still can't believe it!)  I'm the proud owner (or I will be when they arrive all the way from California!) of this pincushion and pin topper set, made by the amazingly talented Gig@Pinks and Needles (visit her blog to see lots of lovely things and then visit her Etsy shop and have fun choosing an early Christmas present for yourself!)

Photo taken (with permission) from Kristyne's blog - credit Gigi@Pinks and Needles

And a close up of that beautiful rose - I can't imagine how she made something so detailed and so tiny, maybe magical folk visit her at night!

Photo taken (with permission) from Kristyne's blog - credit Gigi@Pinks and Needles

 

Aren't they wonderful?!!  If you haven't visited Kristyne's blog before then you're missing a treat - pop over and enjoy all the fabulous things that she makes, don't forget to tell her how fabulous she is!  I'll show them off when they arrive - more postie stalking, how wonderful!

 

I'm afraid I don't have any stitching that I can share - all my sewing time is being spent on a project I don't want to share until it's finished (sorry!) but so that anyone visiting from Cindy's blog don't think 'Is this really a blog about quilting?!' I thought I'd share a quilt I made for my mam and dad which was finished in about March this year (before I started my blog).  It's a king size quilt (about 108"x115") and is machine pieced and hand quilted - Dad emptied their front room of everything but the telly before they went on holiday so I would have somewhere to lay it flat and tack the layers!  



The quilting took months but I think it was worth it!

Mam saw the centre panel in the window of our LQS, fell in love with it and asked me to design a quilt around it.  I decided that two panels would look better than one and I added a cream frame between them and the rest of the quilt as I wanted the panels to be a feature and then the rest of the quilt to complement them rather than distract the eye!  Sorry about the poor photos - it's difficult to photograph such a big quilt without getting the ladder out!

 

I promised I'd share some photos of Archie trying to get at the treat Fiona sent him and possibly some video of him eating it...

 

I don't really care what the note says - I want that treat!

If I get hold of the wrapping....

...and pull I might get it!

I think I'll take this to my favourite place and see if I have any more luck

This isn't getting any easier...

It took me a while to switch the camera to the 'motion picture' setting and work out how to get it to record so I missed him scoffing most of the treat but here's the tail end of it!  It's a little rough in places (the support for the breakfast bar - fabulous for cutting fabric! - was in the way and I had to dodge round it!) but I hope that Archie will make up for that!


I must apologise for being way behind in my blog reading - at the moment I have 99 new items 45 new items (I read quite a few last night after drafting this post!) in my reader...maybe you could all stop blogging for a few days so I can catch up?  No, thought not!  I'll get there in the end but my comments may be short or non-existent until I catch up!

Have a lovely week!

Friday, 25 November 2011

More lovely things!

Me again!  I told you I'd be back if anything else exciting happened!

On Wednesday I came back after lunch out (if I eat it out it's lunch, if I eat it at home or at Mum and Dad's it's dinner - is anyone else the same?!) to find a parcel on the door mat containing these beauties


Susan made lots of lovely things for a recent craft stall and she kindly sent me some of the spare ones (and my first Christmas card of the year!) and in return I am going to make her an unspecified something to be sent on an unspecified date...hopefully before the year is out!  Thank you, Susan, I'm afraid the photo doesn't do justice to just how beautiful they are!!


And yesterday morning (well, almost this afternoon if truth be told!) I set off for an Archie walk (after leaving my usual note to the postie stuck to the letter box 'Please leave parcel behind the gate - thank you!' in case she arrived whilst I was out) and what did I see but the Royal Mail van parked at the top of the street and the two posties sorting out their trolleys!  So, like any sensible blogger waiting for her Pillow Fight parcel I walked up the street to see if they had anything for me and they did!  Two parcels!  Now, given that Archie was expecting his walk I had to drop the parcels in the back door and turn straight back round and go for a walk!  Wasn't I restrained?!

Spot Archie's giant bottle of medicine in the background!

When I got home I decided to open the parcel from Fiona first - yes, my lovely cushion cover (made for the Fat Quarterly design challenge in edition seven) had arrived!

Look what I got!  Isn't it fabulous?!!

Let me tell you that my photo does not do justice to this gorgeous cushion cover - every time I love at it I see another lovely piece of fabric and I'm thrilled that it's mine!  I've spent a lot of time admiring it!  Now, I'm not good at recognising famous fabrics (I'm the same with famous people) so if you spot any you know just shout!  Fiona also sent me a lovely piece of green fabric (sorry, no idea what it is but I love it!)   And she also remembered the most important person in this house...


(Giles- it says 'To Archie, My mum told me I was to share my Dentastix with you.  I'm not happy about it but hope you like it, love Ava'  - I hope that works!)


I've taken some photos of Archie trying to get into the bag and also a short video of him eating the treat (or the remains of it, I was too slow setting the camera to 'motion picture' and working out how to start recording to get all of it!) but I'll save those for another day!  I'm going to edit it a little first (if I can work out how to!) so it may be a few days before I post it!

Now, do you want to see what was in the other parcel?!

As soon as I opened the box and saw this corner peeking out I squealed as it was the cushion I had been longing for!

I can't believe it - it's mine!  (Actual quote!)

Yummy!

I'm sooooo happy!
Thank you so much, Kelly (I don't think Kelly has a blog but here is her Flickr stream please visit her and leave lovely comments on her photos!).  From the moment Kelly posted her design and then the bundle of fabrics she was going to use I was absolutely smitten!  Honestly, I kept admiring it and I told Nicky how much I loved it but I never dreamt I would be lucky enough to have it on my settee!  I'm still pinching myself and I think I may have to leave Archie on guard duty for a few nights in case anyone tries to sneak through the letter box!  (I'm naming no names...you know who you are!)

And, in a stroke of serendipity...look at the two cushions together (Fiona's looks a little flat as haven't got a cushion pad large enough - I'm shopping at the weekend so I'll get one and it can put on some weight!)

Don't they look lovely together!
Spot the same dotty fabric - it's like they were meant to be together! I spent a lot of yesterday evening admiring them and when I came downstairs this morning I checked they hadn't disappeared overnight!

And just in case luck really was being a lady (spot the musical theatre lover!) I went to the local shop on my morning Archie walk and bought a scratch card...after all the cushion and pin topper excitement abated slightly I scratched off the panel.  And won £3!  Now, I know it's not a fortune but it's enough to buy me a scone and a pot of tea when I go shopping!  (But only if I don't take off my £1 stake!)

Now, although I said I'd save the photos and video of Archie for another day I'll show you one to keep you going (honestly, it really doesn't feel right to not have at least one photo of him in each post!)

Did someone mention a biscuit?!
I'm collecting photos of Archie and his bed and one of these days (or nights) I'm going to sit with the camera at the ready so I can film what he does with his bed...here's a peek at the results...

Almost as snug as a bug in a rug!
 And what sometimes happens when you forget to take off your quilt when you get out of bed...

I wasn't sure you'd believe that there was a dog under there!

...because there's either food on offer or someone at the door!

Licking out pots - one of my favourite activities!

Oh, and just before I go...Sarah over at Pings and Needles (a blog well worth a visit if you haven't been before!) is holding a giveaway for a Go! Baby and three dies.  If you're one of the few who haven't yet won one then pop over and enter!


 I hope everyone is having as good a week as I am!!  Here's to marvellous happenings for us all!


Monday, 21 November 2011

A finish plus some lovely things!

I'm having a great week and it's only Monday!  (I think it's going to be another long post!)

This morning I met my friend's baby for the first time (this is the baby that I made the crocheted blanket and squares quilt for and which they use a lot which is always lovely to hear!) - she's such an adorable baby and quite happy to be held by (and dribble over!) a complete stranger.  I'm seeing them again on Wednesday, I hope she's as happy to be out and about as she was today!

Then I visited the Post Office to post my Pillow Fight cushion.  I put the final stitch in the label at about half past two yesterday afternoon and went straight upstairs to put the pad in and take some photos.  Before I share the 'ta da!' photo I'm going to tease you with some in-progress photos!  (Hope you don't mind seeing some of them for the second time on here!)

My colour inspiration (as well, of course, as my partner's likes and dislikes!)
The fabrics - yes, they are batiks *wink*
Centres finished!
And to give you an idea of the size this is one of the triangles ready to be attached...

I know the seam allowances aren't a perfect 1/4" but in hand piecing it's the stitching line that's important!
And then this...


...became this...

...and finally became this...


Spot the sea fret rolling in!



The label is on the back of the buttonhole band

I've had such a lovely time making this cushion - I do hope my partner likes it.


And that if she washes it she remembers to use a colour catcher sheet or two!


Cushion stats:
Size - 15"x15"  (to fit a 16" cushion pad and be nice and plump!)
Fabrics - Moda Bella white and batiks (probably Hoffman)
Block - snowball/shoo fly variation
Block size - 3" (finished)
Wadding - Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 bleached (so it should crinkle nicely after washing!)
Hand pieced and quilted

This was my first Flickr swap and if anyone out there is wondering whether they are brave enough to dive in...do it!!  It's great fun and you get to meet lots of wonderful quilters!  I hope there's going to be another round of Brit Quilt Swap at some point as I'd love to join in!


Now, a sensible blogger might finish the post there and leave the 'lovely things part' for another post but I'm afraid I'm so excited that there's no way I can wait to tell you about the next two things so you'll have to bear with me! 



As if finishing my cushion wasn't exciting enough, this afternoon I got an email from the lovely Fiona (who is featured in the new edition of Fat Quarterly!) telling me that I'd won her cushion give away!  I was able to choose which of the two fabulous cushions I wanted and I chose this one...

Pinched from Fiona's blog - thank you!
Isn't she a beauty?!  I love everything about this cushion - the fabrics, the colours, the scrappy border - and she's going to be mine!!  I'm so excited!  When I opened the email I squeaked with excitement and then did my Mutley impression/happy jig amalgamation and almost fell off my stool!  Thank you so much, Fiona, I can't find the words to express how excited and grateful I am!


And as if that wasn't excitement enough (I know, it just gets better and better!) I picked up a parcel from the depot- it tried to arrive on Saturday and once again I had to wait until the depot reopened on Monday.  This time I had an inkling of what was in it and the wait nearly killed me!

A squishy parcel is always exciting but wait until you see what's inside!

Eeek!!

Double eek and cue another Mutley impersonation/happy jig!

Yes, they would be 'scraps' of the highly talented Aneela Hoey's new fabric 'a walk in the woods'.  Aneela emailed me to ask if I could 'help her out' with the huge box of scraps that had arrived?  Help her out?  You bet I could!!  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks I'm a little touched/completely doolally as I emailed her in the height of my excitement and I'm not sure I made much sense!  Now, 'scraps' doesn't give quite the right impression of just how precious these strips are - if there was a fire I think I'd save these second...straight after Archie (and his bone quilt, obviously!).  This photo also doesn't do justice to how generous Aneela has been with her wonderful fabric and neither does it show you just how fabulous the designs are.  Honestly, every one makes my heart sing and the colours are fabulous, that's some talent she's got!  I already have plans for some of it and some of the others will be going in existing projects...the rest will be admired and sighed over until I can bring myself to cut it up.  I may decide to make a whole 'a walk in the woods' quilt or I may decide to eek it out over years of projects - a little bit here and a little bit there!  If this little taster has whetted your appetite for the fabric I think it's out in March.  Oh, and I think I'm going to frame the little drawing/note she sent with the fabric!  Again, I can't find the words to say thank you properly and express just how grateful and excited I am but...thank you, Aneela!  If, for some reason, you've never visited Aneela's blog please go there now (well, maybe wait until you've left me a comment!) and tell her how fabulous she is!


So, now you've caught up!  I'll save telling you about the regional day until another time as I don't know about you but I'm hungry (I had a scone at about 10:30 and forgot to have any dinner) and it's teatime!

I can't leave without sharing a photo of Archie though (it doesn't feel right and I might get lynched!) so here's a photo to prove he'll do anything for a biscuit.  It's not the best photo in the world but I had to take it quickly before he backed out!

Let me at it!

I've often admired Cathi's headless (or nearly headless) cat photos of the dearly departed Smudge (I'm not sure Lester went in for that sort of carry on and I don't think her kitten Baxter stays still long enough!) - I think this could count as a headless dog photo!


Thanks for sticking with me through such a long post - I'll be back in a few days, unless something else exciting happens in the meantime!

Happy stitching!

Edited to add (hopefully before anyone has read the post!) :  Judith over at Needles and Lemons has a fabulous giveaway of five half yards of Kona solids and a reel of Aurifil courtesy of River Fabrics!  Visit Judith's blog to enter!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

A quick update! (Well, as quick as it gets on ATWD!)


Christmas Gifts for Quilters

 
First though, the wonderful Lynne has another fabulous giveaway over at her blog - this time you could be the lucky person who wins two (yes, two!) bounty boxes of Kona solids.  For those of you unfamiliar with these boxes each one holds 100 different Kona fat quarters.  Now I don't know about you but I could definitely make room in my sewing room for these!  Actually, if I win I may sleep with them for the first few nights.

  

Shamelessly pinched from Lynne's blog!
If you haven't already entered get yourself over there now.  Well, you can stay for the rest of the post but you must promise to go straight to Lynne's after you've left a lovely comment! 

And before I forget you have four days left to take advantage of the 11% off orders over £11 over at Simply Solids - I got my order(s!) yesterday...

The only thing better than interesting post is interesting pink post!!
The fat one on top contains the medium grey for my DP quilt but as for the little one underneath...patience is a virtue!  Let's just say I've got a bit of thinking and a bit of stitching to do before I can reveal any more...


Another excitement this week is the release of Kerry's latest pattern

Lifted from Kerry's blog - I hope she doesn't mind!
If you're looking for a lovely handmade present for a loved one this Christmas then one of these with some lovely sweets in would be a wonderful idea!  Go to Kerry's shop to buy it!


I've finished the quilting on my Pillow Fight cushion and I'm just stitching down the binding on the back - I'm not going to show you a photo of the cushion until I can share it in all its finished glory (?!) but to keep you going here's a (doctored!) photo of the label (which now attached to some freezer paper ready for a little bit of applique)

Sorry, I can neither confirm nor deny that the name of my partner fits exactly under that oblong!

And as I've spent all afternoon stitching it and, if I'm honest, quite a lot of time this morning trying to use the alphabet on a friend's posh sewing machine (I couldn't fit everything I wanted on a relatively small label) and then trying to FME them (couldn't get them small enough to fit but big enough to be legible!) I'm going to share the back as I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out *grin*

The whole label (including 1/4" seam allowance) is 3.125" x 2.5"
I just hope my partner doesn't mind that I haven't put my 'real' name on it - no room!!

Archie and I had a photo taking session a couple of days ago, trying to get a photo of him and his bone quilt to add to the header and after a few photos (about 18!) we got these...

Cute (those ears get me every time!) but washed out...
Something about his posture reminds me of a bloke propping up the bar!
Eager and attentive - that's the Archie we know and love!

What do you think?  Does either of the last two show Sheila's work to its best or shall I try again another day?

I hope you've all had a lovely week and have a fabulous weekend planned?  I'm going to the Festive Regional Day for the Quilters' Guild of The British Isles (shhh, don't tell anyone but I'm not a member, I'm going to assist a friend with her mini workshop!) which means a very early start - maybe I should have my tea and go straight to bed?!  I'll tell you all about it in my next post - the speaker is Jonathan MacPherson from Barnyarns and I'm hoping to be able to hear his talk and maybe learn lots about threads.  Note to self - take a notepad and pencil!

Have a lovely weekend!

P.S.  Archie is now off the lead for most of his walk with me and about two-thirds of his walk with Dad - who's a clever dog?!



Monday, 14 November 2011

Lots to catch up on (but not much stitching going on!) and a wonderful surprise!



It's been a while since I last posted (about ten days I think) and I hope you've all been well?  I've been really tired (and busy quilting my cushion) so I decided to wait until I felt a little better and I'd done something I could show you!  I think I've been tired from all the Archie walking I've done in the last few weeks.  Normally my dad walks Archie on an evening for me but because he wasn't allowed out for long I've been walking him twice a day and it's been too much for me.  The good news is that now Archie can tolerate a 'normal' walk on the lead my dad can walk him when he walks Alfie when he gets in from work which we all enjoy - Archie is always thrilled to see my dad (as am I but I don't jump up and down and sing!).  Also, Archie is now allowed off the lead for an increasing distance every day.  He's really enjoying being off the lead and has broken into a gentle run on a couple of occasions when he thought there was a possible biscuit situation ahead (he knows all the dog owners who carry food with them - if they feed him they go into his 'carries food and is a soft touch' book so he doesn't waste his talent for looking sad and pathetic on people with empty pockets!)) and he seems to be tolerating having his off lead time slowly increased which is lovely!  Oh, and I'm starting to feel a little better - today was the first day I managed to leave the house to walk Archie before 11am.  Ok, it was only two minutes before but that still counts!!  So, now to see what there is to catch up on...

Christmas Gifts for Quilters

The wonderful Lynne has published the next in her Christmas Gifts for Quilters series - if you haven't already done so then visit her blog before the 16th for a chance to win an annual subscription to


Fat Quarterly

a quarterly e-zine full of inspiration for modern quilters and which is lucky enough to count Lynne as its latest staff member - congratulations, Lynne!


Something else I want to draw your attention to is the hand quilting button on my sidebar which will take you to Michigan Quilts, a blog run by Caron Mosey and she has set up this link to celebrate hand quilting - the links are to blogs where the quilter is predominantly a hand quilter and there are some fabulous quilts to be found.  Grab a cup of tea, you could be quite a while!



And speaking of hand quilting...I've started quilting my Pillow Fight cushion.  Nicky very kindly sent me a piece of white fabric for the back of the 'top' that she had hanging around - she also sent me a lovely card and a curly wurly but I'm afraid there's no photographic evidence of the chocolate as I ate it that evening!  Thanks, Nicky!  My order of bleached Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 from ASding arrived last week (fabulous service, I'd recommend it for wadding and other useful bits and pieces) and as soon as I could I tacked the cushion front so I could start quilting.  This is what it looks like at the moment (Sorry about the poor photos, daylight seems to be in short supply!!)




The back - not much to go now!

I chose a plain turquoise thread for the quilting - I hope my partner approves of my choice!  I must confess that the hand quilting is going quite slowly.  This is partly because I've been really tired and sometimes three or six stitches is all I feel like doing (I tend to get three stitches at a time on my needle, any more and I struggle to pull the needle through the layers!) and partly because it feels like it's mainly seam allowances and therefore hard to quilt, especially when I'm trying to quilt through six layers plus wadding and backing!  However, I've done all of the quilting around the batiks and have almost finished quilting in the centres and the spaces where the blocks meet.  When that's done I'm going to quilt once or twice around the edge (in the white border) which should be quite quick to do as the wadding is wonderful to quilt through and then I can make the back which is going to be fastened with buttons.  I couldn't find any buttons I liked so I'm going to cover some with either the same fabric as the back (the dark turquoise/teal batik I've used on the front) or three of the fabrics I used on the front, I can't quite decide at the moment.  I must remember to put a photo in the Flickr group so that my partner can see how it's progressing - I hope she likes it!!  I've got a week before I can post it (and about ten days until I have to post it!) and if everything goes according to plan I'll be posting it as soon as the posting window opens next Monday (21st) and then I'll be waiting on tenterhooks until it arrives at its destination and I hear from my partner!


I've also been doing a little bit more of my teeny tiny foundation piecing but I can't show you anything - I've been taking photos though so you'll be able to see what I've been up top at some remote point in the future!  



And now for the two best things that have happened in the past ten days (apart from the fabric and the curly wurly, obviously!)...Last Saturday it became official - I am one of the chosen...

Shamelessly pinched from Sarah's blog!

That's two giveaways I've won in as many weeks (approximately!) - I think autumn is my lucky season!

And then sometime last week (last Monday, I think) this happened

Thank you!!
Now I have plans for a little something to celebrate but I need to stalk the postie for a few days before I can sort things out.  In the meantime I have something wonderful to share...

On Saturday I was just coming back from walking Archie when a Royal Mail van drove past...you guessed it, they'd tried to deliver a parcel whilst I was out!  Although the wait nearly killed me I had to wait until today to collect it as the card said to wait five hours before collecting and the depot was only open for another two...grrr!  This afternoon I called in on my way to the supermarket and picked up a completely unexpected parcel.  I managed to wait until I'd done the shopping and put it all away before I caved in and opened the parcel with Archie in attendance...want to see?!!

Can we open it?  Please?!!!!

What is it?  Let me see...I think it's for me!!

Is that my name?

Look what I got - all the way from Scotland!

I know you said that's my name but I'm not as clever as you - I can't read upside down...

That's better!  That word says 'dog'!!

Look at my giant bone!  See how much my tail is wagging?  That's how excited I am!
Thank you Sheila - if you lived closer I'd share my biscuits with you!
Just in case you've been so distracted by Archie that you haven't seen what he got here's a photo I took in the few moments of daylight we had this afternoon...spot Archie in the background!

I'm sure there was a giant bone around here somewhere!

Thank you so much, Sheila, it's a wonderful way to celebrate 100 followers and was very, very thoughtful of you - I'm so touched by what you've done that honestly and truly I can't thank you enough!  If you ever need a favour please shout!  Please can the rest of you go and visit Sheila's blog and tell her how marvellous she is?  Thank you!

And thanks to a sharp eared Clare we've discovered that Archie has had his identity stolen...on Graham Norton's radio show on Saturday morning an email was read out from 'Archie the wonder dog', a Westie from Ulverston (I think I heard correctly!).  Now, although Archie agrees with the imposter's advice on a problem 'give it a good sniff and walk away' I can categorically state that Archie is not a Westie (as if there was any doubt!) and has never emailed Graham Norton (he's thinking about it now though) although he is single and has had 'the operation', just like the imposter.  He will, however, be keeping his credit card and personal details safe from now on *wink*  If you would like to hear the imposter's email the programme is available on iPlayer until Saturday here (not sure if those overseas can access this, sorry!) and the imposter is about 15 minutes into the show..watch out for the 'I can't believe it's not better' track though, you don't want to be singing that for the rest of the day!


I'll be back in a few days with details of my celebration but please keep it under your hats as I want it to be a 'thank you for welcoming me into the blogging pool' for my followers and regular readers.  The phrase 'keep it under your hat' always but always reminds me of an episode of The Flumps called 'Secrets' where Posie promised to keep some things under her hat so she found a hat so she could keep the secrets and then got upset when her hat blew away...if you fancy a trip down memory lane you can see the first half of the episode here and the second half here.  I promise you'll be humming the theme tune before long!

See you in a few days - happy stitching until then!

Edited to add:

P.S.  Jan at Isisjem  is three followers short of the magic 100 - if you're not already a follower please pay her a visit at her wonderful blog - you won't regret it!  She's lovely and makes beautiful bags and quilts!

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