Thursday, 28 April 2016

February, March, April

So I fell behind in my bee block making. And with commissions pending I had to pull my finger out and put some time aside. All these are for the wonderful Stitch Tease Bee

First up was February for Dianne, who asked for Mid-century Modern blocks. I struggled with this but using her Pinterest board for inspiration I came up with these two.

For March Cindy gave us a super easy block (which I appreciated considering the month I've had) and it was just a matter of randomly pulling colours and cutting 2" squares. Throw in some low volume and Bob's your uncle.

It's my photography skills that are wonky,
not the blocks.
Finally, I made the April blocks for Agnieszka in the month they were actually due in. Small miracle there. Se asked for botanical blocks that resembled how a child would press flowers, taped down in a notebook, little hand printed labels.

I tried some thread painting for one of them. I have to say this was not as difficult as I thought it would be but I do believe a have a long way to go before I was proficient enough to be proud.

The second block was a no brainer.

It's my favourite of all the blocks I made in the last couple of days.

I hope all the lovely bee ladies are happy with what I made for them, albeit it late for two out of three. Now I am ready and can say, bring on the next round.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Me Thin?

Yeah right. And here is one of the reasons why I'm not.

Emily made cupcakes on the weekend. Her piping skills far exceed mine. Seriously impressed with her chocolate roses.

If a bunch of luscious chocolate cupcakes wasn't enough to tempt me, then this appeared in our kitchen last night. This time Helen was the culprit.

The perspective doesn't truly give you a true impression of how big this ombre cake is. It's about six inches high for one. And there are four layers under that icing, with lemon curd and raspberry jam too. Once again, the piping skills put mine to shame.

So I can't lose weight because my girls are damn good bakers...

... and I have no willpower at all. That may factor into the equation.


Monday, 25 April 2016

Finally, Another Reveal

These big reveal days are always exciting for me having had to keep secrets for extended periods of time, other than the odd sneak peek that I can give you without giving the game away. And in all probability, by the time I can reveal the projects you have forgotten all about the sneak peeks and...

... The point is, I made a quilt and I can show it to you now. Yay.

Photo courtesy of Love Patchwork & Quilting
I used all Lecien fabrics in this quilt - Ls Modern Basics for the blocks, their solids for the background and binding, and even the back which is a yarn dye and I will show you in a minute.

Photo courtesy of Love Patchwork & Quilting
I even got a little corner of the cover. Woohoo!

This pattern is a twist on the watermelon pink and white one that I did last for the magazine. I drew up so differently for me though though that I didn't catch on until it was almost finished. And it just goes to show that little tweaks on a block can completely change things and give you and all new quilt. So next time you are playing with block design I say tweak away. Who knows what may happen.

Because I love this quilt, here is a photo I took myself before it shipped off to Love Patchwork & Quilting.

You can see that it is spiral quilted, and to make that spiral more prominent I used charcoal thread instead of one that would blend in with the white.

Isn't it nice that quilting that looks so nice from a distance is in actual fact rather wonky and imperfect. All to be hidden with a good wash and some good old fashioned crinkling.

Finally, the back - which I may love as much as or more than the front. I know that is heretical but, come on, what's not to love?

I forgot how much I love this quilt. I send them off and then kind of forget about them until they come home again. This one will return soon and I think I will keep it. Many quilts I have a new home in mind before they are even returned but this one - this one I think will be mine, all mine.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Very Successful Swap

Way back when I wrote some blog posts earlier this year I showed you a cushion cover I was making for a swap. Well, I finished it and posted it off to New Zealand to live in its new home. Liz says she likes it very much and that makes me happy. Because I liked it too.

In turn, Caroline - who lives in Southern California - sent me a wonderful cushion to live here with us.

Gorgeous HR unicorn, linen, Alison Glass, and the stitching.

The stitching is amazing. I need to up my game. The work Caroline put into this cushion is phenomenal. And I truly appreciate that she made the effort on my part.

Not only did she make me the cushion but Caroline went the extra mile and stalked me to find out my shoe size. (Sadly this is information you can find out on my social media.) Then she made me slippers.

Heather Ross slippers.

Almost too good to wear. Please note, I said almost.

And that is what you call a successful swap. Happy people all round. A huge thank you to Alison for twisting my arm and having me join in this swap she co-organised. She and Sami did a brilliant job.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Was There Ever Any Doubt?

I have been very restrained on the fabric buying front for a very long time now. Though I have to admit that receiving fabric for some of my commissions has relieved the pressure on the 'must buy all the fabric all the time' gene.

There was never any doubt that there would be one fabric line I would purchase this year though.

Mendocino. Yeah, like I could ignore the re-release of one of my favourite lines from my very favourite fabric designer. That was not going to happen.

It helps when your husband promised you a birthday present last July and failed to fulfil said promise. I retained the knowledge and held on to it for the right moment. I'm special like that. The correct moment would have been when Mendocino came up for pre-sale. I helpfully brought up a yard bundle on my computer screen and called him over. Then I reminded him he had failed to provide the promised birthday present. Helpfully I suggested an alternative gift.

Yup, a full yard bundle. Guilt is a wonderful thing when you play your cards right. I do believe I played a winning hand.

And this Mendocino is now mine all mine. Woohoo!


Monday, 18 April 2016


Long time readers of this blog may recognise that I have a (bad) habit. When the going gets tough the tough get going I hibernate. It is my way of dealing with stuff. I narrow life down to the essential and get on with it. My problem lies in getting back into the groove after things start to clear up.

So, since my last post things have been happening. I was busy with work. Both girls got ill. Fortunately they got better enough that my mum came to stay and for the first time himself and I went away, just the two of us, in fifteen years. (More on that shortly.)

We arrived back in the country and before we got home my mum was ringing to tell us she was worried about Helen, she wasn't well. So we beetled back home from the airport as fast as we could and within a short while of returning we were phoning for a ambulance. It couldn't come fast enough so we took her off to the hospital ourselves.

The long and short of it was many blood tests, administration of drugs, painkillers, rehydration, an x-ray, CT scan and lumbar puncture later we were relieved to be told she didn't have meningitis. And an EEG later it was confirmed she didn't have encephalitis. What she did have was bilateral bacterial pneumonia. And a four night hospital stay.

Since then it has been all about recovery, which is going to take a while longer. She is on partial school days, exhausted and fed up. I can't say I blame her. It is going to be weeks before she is fighting fit again but she will get there and soon it will all be a distant memory.

Meanwhile, Em threw a viral throat infection into the mix and barely ate or drank for five days. I had a bunch of work to catch up on. And all told everything put together left me exhausted myself. The blog paid the price. Sorry. But I am back and once again will endeavour to not let it go for so long again. It has been a miserable few months on the blogging front for me and I do miss it. I just need to get back in the groove and get the blogging routine re-established.

That's why I disappeared. Please do not worry, all is headed in the right direction once again in life. And I wish to have a happier stuff to talk about in this post...

... so let me tell you about our long weekend in the magical city of Carcassonne in Southwest France. Above is the view from our hotel room. It was so beautiful the way the buildings changed colour as the light changed during the day.

Him and me, well we never really had a honeymoon. And Helen arrived soon into our marriage. Holidays and escapes for just the two of us had to wait. This is not a complaint, but more an observation. Family changes the way life is and I wouldn't have it any other way. It isn't like I haven't had some pretty fabulous holidays over the years.

But Carcassonne was on my bucket list of 'things to do and see in the future'. My list is a mental one, I've never written it down. The list exists none the less. (Please note that I intend to put wanting to ride in a bi-plane to the top of the list next if I can.) Despite seeing huge chunks of the world there are lots of places for me still to see. If you have a 'places to go' bucket list and have never been then I highly recommend you add Carcassonne to your list.

The old city is walled - with two walls - and beautifully restored. It oozes character, lacks any tacky elements and abounds with restaurants and shops that lure you in.

We stayed in an amazing five star hotel with the friendliest staff I've ever come across. Every last person we dealt with was charming and welcoming. The hotel also has a Michelin starred restaurant. While we don't live the high life in general, far be it for us not to take advantage of the chance to partake in a little fine dining when such a chance was right there.

Six courses of exquisite food chosen by the chef, with the sommelier choosing wines to match. There I went thinking when we made this 'lucky dip' choice from the menu that we would get little samplings of wine. Um, no! He kept pouring and pouring more every other minute. Turns out that our sommelier had lived on the Isle of Wight and he enjoyed chatting to us about the island we too have lived on. Such a small world and a happy coincidence like that meant I had more wine in one night than I had in months. Can't say I didn't enjoy it though. That sommelier knew his wines.

Exploring the town is easily done on foot as it is small, but you can take all day doing it as you wander in and out of shops and stop for food.

You can also visit the old chateau and walk the city walls if you so desire. We did so desire. We went first thing one morning and had the city walls all to ourselves.

It was a magical long weekend and it was a shame that I didn't get to tell you all about it when I was still glowing from it all. But instead went from a five star hotel to sleeping in a hospital by my daughter's side. Such is life. I'm just happy we were home in time to be by her side.

I leave you with a final photo, of the stairs to our room. Who doesn't want circular stairs in a turret to get to their hotel room? Look at the fabulous way centuries of feet have worn them away. Honestly, weekends don't get much better than this.