Thursday 31 July 2008

Grow your own veg...........grow your own quilt.......

We have a small vegetable patch in our garden. It doesn't provide us with all our veggies but I think it's great to be able to eat food you have grown yourself when you can. It's also great for children to learn where food comes from. My son (who I'll call WJ from now on) loves to pick the runner beans and pod peas.

I was so exited the other evening when I came into the kitchen with my glamorous old washing up bowl full of potatoes, carrots, runners and mint. The carrots have not been all that successful this year. Not many germinated but the ones that did are mostly of a good size and tasted delicious.

We've had loads of runner beans and I made some delicious runner bean chutney. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for the recipe.

I think I must be feeling philosophical (hurray for spell check). I was thinking about how making a quilt is similar to growing crops. You start off with your fabric or seeds, give it lots of TLC and end up with something amazing which sometimes doesn't grow quite how you planned but is great all the same.

Last year I decided that I needed some hand sewing to do at my sewing group and in the evenings when it is sometimes too anti social to sit on the machine. I didn't mind if it was something that took ages to complete. The patchwork top is my own variation of a pattern from a friend's book but I can't remember the title.

I am doing some hand quilting using big, bright, bold stitches with the pattern taken from a template. On other areas I am doing embroidery stitches and beading. I'm making it up as I go along.

Sorry about the quality of the photos. My camera does not seem to cope with close ups very well. I'd love to do some fabulous pictures like I've seen on some blogs. My husband has a "proper" camera with different lenses and all that jazz. I'll have to learn how to use it.

We are off to Norfolk tomorrow to stay with my parents. Looking forward to days out on the coast. We are meeting up with some of my school friends which should be fun.

Bye for now, maria.

Thursday 24 July 2008

I'm in love..........with a monkey!

Hello, and thanks to everyone who left comments on my last post it was fantastic to receive so many.

Whilst looking at blogs a few days ago, when in fact it was actually night and I really should have been in bed, I found a lovely Australian blog, mellyandme. They produce some fantastic sewing patterns and I immediately fell in love with Magoo the Monkey.

They have suppliers in the UK and I ordered a pattern from Buttonberry who provided a quick service with accurately priced p&p costs. I hate being overcharged for postage.

Don't you just love Magoo! These are photos of my pattern. I hope he doesn't mind but I'm going to make him in purple fabric. I have loads of fabric in my stash that needs using up and thought he would be rather cool in purple.

Many thanks to Lesley who explained how to link to someone else's blog, hopeful I've just linked to hers.

Some of you lovely people have said you enjoyed the photos of Suffolk I've included in my last couple of posts. This one is of beautiful Chistchurch park in Ipswich where myself and my son went on this sunny summers day. At Last!

These are of part of a gorgeous garden which is behind Christchurch Mansion, a beautiful old building which is now a museum. This is of the back of the building which looks nothing like the front. I didn't think to take a picture of the front. My son was desperate to get to the play area so I couldn't hang around for long taking pictures.

The pictures don't show up the colours particularly well. The lavender was stunning a few weeks ago.

Bye for now, Maria x

Monday 21 July 2008

My New Bag.

I finished a bag today which is from two Amy Butler fabrics. The polka dot one is from some fabric I had left over from the tunic I showed previously and the flowery fabric is Belle in orange. I made a skirt in this fabric from Amy's pattern "Barcelona". I'll show you this another day.

I made up the design as I went along, I gathered a panel of the polka dot fabric and placed it between two pieces of Belle. The handles are padded and are short enough that the bag doesn't drag on the floor when I hold it but long enough to wear over my shoulder.

I didn't have big enough pieces of either fabric for the lining so used both. I made a lined two piece pocket. I think it's a bit low but never mind. The bag is closed with a magnetic button thingy. I'm fairly please with it. I had planned for it to be narrower at he top but it didn't turn out how I thought but never mind.

On the subject of bags I received my partner details today for Linda's bag swap at I am looking forward to making the bag and have been coming up with some ideas. It's my first swap so I'm looking forward to it, especially receiving my parcel.

I've seen on other peoples' blogs where it says a name, you click on it and you are taken to their blog/web site. I haven't worked out how to do this. Perhaps one of you kind people could let me know what to do.

On Sunday we went on an outing to Flatford Mill. This is where the famous artist John Constable painted many of his works. It is a beautiful place on the river Stour on the Suffolk/Essex border. The National Trust now owns the Mill and surrounding buildings. We took a rowing boat out which my little boy enjoyed. The area is worth visiting if you are in this area. No I don't work for the local tourist board!

Bye for now, Maria.

Thursday 17 July 2008

A day out, fabric, a book and flowers....lovely.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. Myself and a friend took her out for a coffee, a short walk and lunch. Notice there was more eating and drinking than walking.
We visited Woodbridge which is a pretty town not far from where I live. I took some photos of the river and Tide Mill. You can go inside the mill but I thought I would save this for the School holidays.
As you can see the weather was pretty poor for July. Please can we have summer soon.

These fabrics show my favourite colour combination at the moment. Turquoise and Pink.

I bought this book yesterday and when I got home I noticed the colours. They feature heavily in the quilt I am making. Did I choose it because I liked the description of the story or subconsciously for the colours?

I love fuchsias. These are in a hanging basket on the front of our house.

Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Hubby says it's funky!

I am a member of a small sewing group. We meet up most weeks and usually just do our own thing and talk (surprise, surprise). The picture is of a wall hanging I made with some fabric we dyed at our group. A couple of the members are more arty than me and often dye their own fabric. I have done a bit of dyeing in the past but have not ever made anything with it. I think I gave my last attempts to my son's school.

A couple of weeks a go we had another "dyeing session". We did some stamping onto white fabric and then over dyed the designs by painting the dyes on with brushes and sponges. Some of the stamps we made but others were bought.

We also painted dyes onto fabric without stamping first.

I decided to make a small wall hanging.
I made a background by cutting out various shapes and patchworking them together in a random pattern.

I then cut out some spirals and also around one of the stamps and bondawebbed them on.

I then made a quilt sandwich and freemachine quilted.

My trusty machine isn't particularly good when it comes to freemachining. I can't control the speed very well. I barely touch the foot pedal and the needle goes up and down at a million miles an hour, consequently my stitches are varying sizes but never mind, I'm not planning on entering any competitions. I just have to take a deep breathe and go for it.

The binding fabric was a present from my friend who brought it back from America. She saw the colour and thought it would go with the quilt I am making which I mentioned in my first post. as any UK quilters know quilting fabric is expensive here so she always brings some home from America. It was really sweet of her to think of me.

I decided to bead around the binding, I'm really pleased with effect.

My husband doesn't usually say much about my creations but he commented that he really likes this one calling it funky. It is going on the wall in the hall. woohoo.

I hope you enjoyed my little story. I'm afraid the colours in the pictures varies as I took them in different lights. The darker ones are more true to life.

Bye for now. Maria.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Anna Tunic. (Amy Butler Pattern).

This is my tunic I recently made from the Amy Butler "Anna Tunic" pattern.
It is from one of her fabrics "Cherry full moon polka dot".
I altered the shoulders slightly as I have narrow shoulders and they stuck out too much on me.
I also made my tunic quite short. I was very impressed with myself as I made a muslin first which was good as I discovered the thing about the shoulders and could work out the alteration on it although I didn't really know what I was doing.
The tunic has sweet covered buttons on the back but you can't really see them on this photo.

I have started to make a bag from this fabric and another Amy Butler fabric, which I have made a skirt from, - I really must finish it.

I think I must be more vain than I realised.
Firstly I removed my age from my profile as I didn't like seeing it in black and white ( or any colour!) that I am now 40!
Secondly I held my stomach in as far as I could for the photo. I was planning to go to a pilates class this morning but have spent so long looking at blogs that I haven't got time to get there now. At this rate I'll be having to pull my stomach in even more.

Monday 7 July 2008

Please Say Hi!

To any readers of my blog - please say Hi! It's great to hear from anyone who may be taking a peak!

I don't have any crafting pictures to post today so have posted some pics of some work we did in our garden over the weekend.

We have lived in our house for about 18 months and are working our way through decorating and putting in a new bathroom and kitchen etc. We are also gradually re doing the garden.

Most of it is being left as lawn for my 6 year old to play on, we also have a vegetable area, an area where the green house will be (it's just a frame at the moment) and what will be a sitting and barbeque area with a raised flower bed which is half finished. It's this sitting area that we did at the weekend.

These show what a mess it was with lots of weeds, broken slabs and rubbish including an old wheel..

Above is the area partly cleared.

And here is how far we have got. There's still more to do but it's looking much better. ( The thing in the middle is a table).

Below is a beautiful poppy that self seeded itself in the middle of the glass-less green house. Its beauty was short lived, a few hours later and the flower was gone.

Thursday 3 July 2008

post number one.

Well after being a reader of other people's blogs for a while I've finally decided to start my own.
I haven't a clue what I'm doing at the moment but am sure I will learn as I go along.
I intend this to be mainly a craft blog to record my sewing endevours but may also include bits and pieces from my daily life as a diary for myself. Not sure if I will include pictures of my family as not sure if I want them to be "out there" in cyber space.
Will this be a whim that fades off in a while? Not sure at the moment.

How often will I post? Not sure at the moment.

Will I be too lazy to take and load the photos? Not sure at the moment.

Will I spend too long doing this and not getting on with cleaning, shopping, ironing, gym etc.? Not sure at the moment.

Will I be an embarressed blogger who doesn't tell her family and friends about her blogging (we are a shy lot us English)? Not sure at the moment.

How do you get other people to read your blogs? Not sure at the moment.

So many not sures, so much to find out!

I sew on my trusty janome, not sure which model but it is fairly basic. It has been a faithful friend for about 8years now. The picture above shows it with some fabric I put together to make my version of a beautiful quilt from one of Kaffe Fassett's books, can't remember which book but it is called the 'Post Card' quilt, the other picture shows it in the book.
I will post a picture of my progress soon.
Well that's it then, my first post, lots to learn and hopefully lots of blogging friends to make.