Friday, 29 February 2008

Inspiring magazines in WHSmiths!

I nipped into WHSmiths while doing the shopping this morning and found these.

I love Inspirations and enjoy the rich pages of wonderful things I just haven't got the time to make - but might do one day - and I am looking forward to sitting down and having a long luxurious browse through it's pages. The other two I bought for the quilts inside which gave me ideas for the "Challenge" quilt in the forthcoming show in June.

The Challenge is "Wales" as this year we will be based at St. David's School for Girls and I would love to adapt the pages shown to create a Boutis quilt with a Welsh Dragon instead of a Chineses one - Yes, there is a difference! - and maybe change the Hares for Dragons. What do you think?

So many ideas so little time...

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Super Tassel in Progress

Just to show how I go about creating stuff, here how the Super Tassel came about.

Here's the page from my notebook/craft diary where I dooble and log the time I spend doing the course work - well that's what I usually do, but I 've noticed that I haven't logged the time I spent on this page!!!

So I wrote of what I intend to do and a drawing of how I wish to do it - I promise that I drew this before making it!

This is the top, thread wrapped napkin ring and a thread wrapped wooden bracelet. The top of the napkin ring has been threaded similar to a Dorset button and a hanging loop added.

Under the top is a maquette of how the cable will be twisted and where the wrapped washers will be placed.
Covering the ugly electrical cable

I covered the cable with macrame, using a green cotton thread/wool, the knotting of the macrame caused a twist to form around the cable which was a nice effect.

Putting in the Twists

As the length of covered cable grew I began to attach the wrapped washers to give the twisted cable stability and stop it unraveling.

Another twist added

A couple more washers are needed and the wires that have been released from the gray plastic covering need to be covered and twisted.

So does it look like the drawing yet?
I intend to add something to the centre and cover the three bare wires and twist them and add a tassel to the ends, similar to the one thats complete and then I shall post the completed Super Tassel on the coursework blog.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Never a Day Goes By...

...or midnight hour for that matter, when I have created something from either a pile of fabric or beads. So yesterday was no different. I had been busy cutting out and sewing up boy size scout scarves for my Son's unit. At his trumpet lesson - giving me a break from the scarves - I could be seen making Yo-Yos,(Suffolk Puffs) whilst Son belted out a fine rendision of "Bright Eyes". More work on the scarves in the evening inbetween being Cook and Taxi Driver for Children , getting them to rehersals and Youth Choir and I thought I had earned my right to go to bed! I had just got cosy last night, drifting off to sleep, when Darling Daugther gently tapped on the bedroom door and reminded me that it was her Bestfriend's birthday the next day and we hadn't made the beads we had bought a fortnight ago into the necklace and bracelet we had designed! So up I got and created these.

It took about an hour and Daughter was asleep by the time I was done, so she had to wait for this morning to see them. Fortunately she is very pleased! The lateness of my bedtime meant I slept through the earthquake we have experienced in the early hours of the morning - although listening to the radio I doubt it came down as far as us. The centre was too far away and the after shocks would have been faint. If it did reach London I'm sure it will be a talking point at Toddler Group this morning! Must go now as I have "playdoh" to make for the Little Darlings - pink and blue this week.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Postcard and ATC for Susan Lenz

I've just posted my contribution to the Cyber Fyber Exhibition, see earlier post for picture, please go and see the blog and get involved. I have visited blogs on the Quiltland ring, and other blogs, and they are getting involved, what's stopping you?

Sunday, 24 February 2008

End of Half Term Holiday

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon, relaxing with family over an enjoyable lunch. It was great to see the Twins again,(and their Parents ofcourse!), they are such fun. It brings back memories of when my two were the same age.

So the holiday is now over, the children are in bed with their uniforms ready, homework done and bags packed - Daughter's house keys have been found! - I refer you to the post dated "2nd Jan 2008" - Item 10 - as to who eventually found them (I wasn't aware they were missing!). I've just been back to look at what I had planned to do with my time, (that's all hours between 9pm - 1am), during Half Term and I was rather pleased to see that I got quite a bit done even with the cold!

I have spent this evening uploading the coursework I have done so far for Module Three City & Guilds Stitched Textiles. I need to go through the photographs and add some comments to explain to Sian,(Tutor), what I was doing - especially with the tassels.

Talking of tassels I have two more to photograph and add to the chapter and I have some "work in progress" photos to upload of the Super Tassel.

I have not made any more buttons but I do have a "work in progress" which requires some more beadwork, some Yo-Yos, (Suffolk Puffs), that need some more work on them before the camera comes anywhere near them! There are plenty of ideas and a bag full of goodies waiting for some attention this week.

Quilting wise I have completed the Frayed Denim Quilt, (but for the washing stage), but I didn't get round to cutting the fabrics for the other two quilts. Having said that there's always Wednesday WiPs evening for doing that job!

It's back to an early start in the morning so will return soon with the next post...

Saturday, 23 February 2008

WiP near complete!

Son completed English homework, Daughter completed English homework and made a lovely example of a Roman mosaic for her art project AND I completed the sewing together of the Frayed Denim Quilt.

Front and Back

It's still on the WiPs list on a technicality. It now requires washing 2/3 times and fluffing through the dryer to give the edges a softer look, but to all intents and purposes it is done.

Day well spent and Sunday is a day of rest and cuddles from my Nephew and Niece,(twins), who will be visiting before school and a new term begins on Monday.

Days Out

The science museum and a photograph of war planes for my Son, who is currently studying World War II and thought the Teacher would like these. There are plenty more but thought one would do for the blog.

For my daughter whose Art homework this half term is a study of mosaics we found the floor of the V& A very interesting. When ever I am at touristy places I am the one taking pictures of skirting boards or dado rails instead of the things the curators think we should be interested in...

...While at Art College studying Graphic Design I was creating "a saleable item aimed at children, to be sold at the British Museum". So there was I taking a photograph of a sign saying "British Museum Shop" so I could get the typeface right when along came a curator muttering - "They take photos of everything and anything these ruddy tourists!" Well I like to take photos of everything and anything as you never know when the image can come in useful, which is why I took a photo of the blown glass sculpture hanging in the V & A reception area.

I could see this as a hat! Well, atleast some of it...

Finally, for Thursday, I took a picture of the Darlings who had been so patient with me while I had suffered with the cold this week. We could have been anywhere in Europe - Italy, Florance perhaps - but the grey sky above gives it away - Yes it could only be London!

The Darlings ponder the beauty of great architecture!

(Whilst dipping their shoes in the water - well they would wouldn't they?)

(Brighton Postcards to follow)

Wot no Camera?

Would you believe it? Got all the way to Brighton and left the camera at home!

So I bought a couple of postcards instead from a shop on the pier.

The children had commitments this evening so we had to head home early and DH arranged Childminding for Son after choir practice so we could go out for dinner, ( daughter was out late helping at local AmDram - musical of Jane Eyre - doing the front of house duties) . Dinner out isn't something we get to do very often alone, unless Grandparents are visiting. We have had a lovely evening and as it is rather late I shall post photos and postcards later today.

Friday, 22 February 2008


I had promised my children days out during half term, and the cold had deprived them of two days, so yesterday I took them to the Science Museum in London. Brilliant place BUT full of little people, and I have difficulties with crowds at the best of times, so a mass of screamimg highpitched darlings are not really my idea of fun. It was interesting to see how the mood/atmosphere affected my 10 year old. He was rather hyper than usual(!) which was a bit frustrating. Anyway we had a good look round, were unable to get into the newly revamped Launchpad - reason for taking them there - due to long queues - Even us Brits get cross at queuing! - saw lots of stuff that interested the kids and an enjoyable lunch at the Deep Blue cafe. It was 1.45pm and we had been there quite a few hours and I was beginning to feel on edge when I suggested at trip across the road to the Victoria & Albert Museum - V&A - It was tranquil, full of beautiful objects - mosaics for Daughters art project and a room full of William Morris who Son had recently studied at school. Everyone became calmer and enjoyed all the fascinating displays. I was able to find lots of inspiration of C&G coursework and we headed home at 5pm much richer for crossing the road!

Today we are off to Brighton - DH has been able to have today off so will post photos of Thursday's trip and a Seaside themed post later.

Cold much better today and some seaside air should see the end of it.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Wednesday WiPs - Frayed Denim Quilt

So it's Wednesday evening, my cold is beginning to ease, children are in bed and the denim and flannel fabrics I have been cutting to size since the week-end are now ready to place. So that is what I did...

This took six attempts before I was happy that most shades of denim were well spaced.

Then I had to place the flannel fabrics so that the mix of checks, plaids and fine checkerboard fabrics didn't clash or be next to the same colourway.

Then once I had pinned each denim square to its flannel square,(wrong sides together), I then had to place the paper stencils where the cut outs where going to be and then decide which fabric would be sandwiched between the denim and the flannel to show through once the denim was quilted and cut away.

So this is were we are at 12.17am on Thursday morning! I shall leave sewing it together for another time, but I have moved this quilt farther up the WiP list. All it needs is the detail sewing into the marked squares, all the squares sewing together and then washing three times to acheive the frayed look. What could be easier?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Snail Mail to Cheer Me Up

Laid low on the sofa yesterday with the cold, watching movies amd feeling pretty sorry for myself, I was cheered up by the arrival of two letters from America - reminds me of a song by The Proclaimers - The first was from Susan Lenz, CYBER FYBER, with her postcard and ATC which I had put my name to. This made me put machine into action today to finish the postcard I had put together but had yet to sew together. Hopefully I shall put them in the post very soon.

Susan's postcard 7 and ATC 116

My Postcard for Susan's exhibition being held next January

My next letter was from Jennifer, Infinitely More Monkeys blog, who spured me on to give the workroom a good clean! Jennifer has been showing photographs from a pile she found in an antique shop in Chicago, Illinois on her blog and I happened to comment on them. She kindly offered to send me some and here they are safely arrived.

There is something sad about photographs without a family to own them. It has got me to thinking as to what will eventually become of the albums I have made once there is no-one to know who we are. These photos will be given a good home and I will think of the people and wonder what became of them. I'm not sure when it will be done... but I have an idea of incorporating the photograph images in a piece of textile art.

Trying new techniques

Monday evening was my quilting group night and we were having a demonstration evening. I am a novice quilter and enjoy being shown new techniques. So I now know how to do Bow Tie blocks and Flying Geese.

My Samples of Bow Tie, (easier to do than I thought!) and Flying Geese.

At the week-end I tried to tie a knotted heart, it took three attempts and a number of hours!

but as you can see it was worth it. I'm planning to incorporate it into a SUPER tassel I am intending to create.

Yesterday was a bit of a waste as I have deveolped a cold which lay me low. Children not too happy as we had to change our plans. Today is better but the thought of a trip into London loaded with Lemsip and boxes of Kleenex does not appeal. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Change of plan includes making jewelry for friends birthday, art project that needs completing and some maths homework that Son is in denial about.

Monday, 18 February 2008

School's Out for Half Term

It's the Half Term Holiday this week and coursework will have to be done in the evening, as I spend the daytime entertaining a 13 year old and 10 year old. Today is Admin. Day where time is spent tidying rooms and putting things away so that the rest of the week we can have fun. At the moment this includes a visit to the cinema and a museum trip to London, no doubt more ideas will be forthcoming later on as we plan the week. Sadly DH has an important deadline to meet at work and may only be able to join us for a day trip later in the week.

My course work plans for this week includes:-

Uploading all completed coursework to the second blog

Completing the tassels

Making more buttons

Quilting work includes:-

Cutting borders for Black and White Quilt and Bazaar Quilt

Cutting out fabric for Frayed Denim Quilt and sewing together

That should keep me busy in the evenings!

Let the week begin...

Saturday, 16 February 2008


I've spent the afternoon helping out at the jumble sale. One of the perks is you get the pick of the left overs when it's over. I came home with various pink and green tops which will be shredded into strips for wrapping around hoops and blocks for the tassels and buttons. I haven't got them for myself - honest - as they are size 10 and it was a long time since I 've been a 10!

The best part of the afternoon was finding black, white and other coloured G-strings in amongst the jumble and the 80+ year old's joking amongst themselves as to which one of them had brought them ! The thought of any of them wearing such items now has kept me in giggles ever since, although in their youth, if G-strings were available, you'ld just never know. BUT the big question is WHO would send second hand knickers to a jumble sale?????

Thursday, 14 February 2008


A Tangle of Tassels

Simple tassels using knots to form the heads. A more detailed group of photographs will be posted soon on the Coursework Blog

My Favourite Kind of Shopping!

I re-read through the Distant Stitch Course chapter on buttons last night. I have a few samples made using shop bought kits and they are nice in their own way, but there's something to be said for creating the buttons from scratch. So I have been shopping for button forms, (the base onto which you will put the textile top, in case you don't know), but not the usual packets you can find in haberdashers. Oh, No, I went to the local Homebase and perused the plumbing and hardware sections. I like to look at the things you would use one way and then think how I could use it in a textile way. So washers, wooden dowel plugs and foam guards for furniture become my forms for the buttons I shall be creating. I also went to Woolworths and Ryman's for bubble wrap and foamboard. And to British Home Stores for tights to hold all the padding down.

My Button Form Shopping

I returned from shopping to find my neighbour had kindly taken delivery of this lovely bunch of flowers. Happy Valentines Day!

Valentine's bouquet with a yellow rose!

I love yellow flowers, they brighten the soul, yet yellow roses have a bad meaning if you read some "The Meaning of Flowers" books. I don't care, DH can send me yellow roses instead of red any time of the year, I'm not a conventional girl!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

WiPs Wednesday

Wednesday again and my Mum's birthday

Today, at my Toddler Group, I had my little darlings making Valentine's cards for their Mums, Dads or Grandparents. Some were able to do it all by themselves, others had their Mothers to help them , but all had fun with the glue sticks and lots of hearts I had cut out last night.
Today I had 10 boys and 1 girl visit, we had fun with the cars and trains once the glue had been packed away!

So how many tassels have I got? ...Four

How many ideas of what I intend to make? ...a new one is created everytime I look through a knot book I bought on holiday two summers ago!

BUT tonight is WiP Wednesday and there are quilts to finish and it's Thameside Quilters on Monday evening and I need something for Show and Tell as I haven't S 'n' T ed for along time.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Tassel Tuesday!

Can you see a theme on the titles?

I am planning to make some tassels today. The ideas I have, and the guidance Sian has given in the course note book, have been buzzing in my head for months. I have gathered tassel blocks both man-made and natural, I have threads that will look marvelous tasselled and a couple of books for helpful tips, so I shall begin to free the mind to leave space for something else to create an idea.

Before I start I have to make a pot of chicken soup, as I boiled up the carcass last night, and my daughter would like the stock using for soup, usually I would freeze it in icecube trays for gravy or casserole stock. That enough of Delia from me, I've got tassels to make!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Meticulous Monday

For all the bloggers who have visited over the week-end and were wondering how I got on and for Helen who requested them, here are the AFTER photos.
Can you see a difference?

View from the Doorway

The old book shelf, now workstation and a clean carpet!

It was a thoroughly refreshing and tough weekend and I walked into my workroom this morning with a sence of acheivement and a space to begin working. Oh, joy...

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Destuff Sunday

I stopped at midnight and my workroom, bar afew more storage boxes to keep the top shelves tidy, was finished...BUT my landing and part of my bedroom still had the STUFF I had taken out! I just couldn't believe that it had all come out of such a small room - this used to be my Son's bedroom.

Anyway todays plan of action is to tackle the aftermath of yesterday.

Go though the magazines, taking out interesting patterns and articles, and putting in the cuttings folder I have created - DO THIS EVENING WHILST WATCHING TV

Sort through STUFF for things to go to the Jumble Sale - THIS AFTERNOON ready for next Saturday

Sort through STUFF for the Tip - If I smile nicely DH may take it down to tip for me

Sort through STUFF to see if there's anything worth putting back - By this I mean part finished projects, paper/card, threads and beads that have gone astray, because I made a point of only putting back equipment, (includes electrical, sewing paraphernalia, paints/dyes, etc,etc), C & G work and books. I even discarded some books as well!

One thing I MUST point out, because I know I would have thought it if I had seen the BEFORE photographs - THE REST OF MY HOUSE IS TIDY - HONEST!!! I am not a candidate for a visit from "How Clean is your House?" Especially now Aggie has left "Dancing on Ice", she must be eagar to get her teeth into some unfortunate with dust and grime up to their eyeballs. Well that's not me! My room is where I create and unfortunately I tend not to tidy it as I am worried about throwing out something I may need later - I can't be alone on that - Also I tend to start something have another idea and go straight into doing it, so projects keep being left around waiting to be completed.

(By the way, DH was impressed when he came upstairs at 12.15am to find his study looking so tidy!)

The AFTER photos are coming soon

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Sort It Out Saturday!

After a lovely lie-in til 9.30am and a leisurely breakfast, I intend to sort out the workroom/study. It was a pity after such an exciting day on Thursday to come home to an untidy workroom which meant I was unable to sit down and begin creating. I ended up going to bed frustrated. SO here are the before photos - I'm not proud!

View from the doorway
How on earth did it get this bad?

Workbench & Grandad's Bureau & Shelves full of STUFF

"Hidden" Cupboard & Bookshelves groaning under strain

I have had great expectations of being organized. There are lots of storage units, boxes and plastic folders stuffed with STUFF, so today I am destuffing!

Off now to get started, see you later with lots of lovely neat and tidy photos...

Friday, 8 February 2008

Postcard Swap

Well if your sending one thing you may as well send two, so I've put myself down for the postcard swap too. Will post a picture soon of the one I am offering.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Unusual ATC swap

If you are into swapping Art Trading Cards, (ATC), go to Susan Lenz blog, where you can join in the swap and have your ATC exhibited, Susan Lenz is the artist and her blog is . Go down to the post dated "Friday 1st February" and click on "ATC". I have tried to put the link in for the swap blog but Blogger doesn't seem to like it. You should be able to get to it from the other blog, give it a try.

It looks like it will be a fun thing to be involved in, I have chosen ATC 116. Below is the ATC I shall be sending to her once she has said OK. I made this last February, it is from a series called Valentines and is number two of four using the same fabric in different ways. This one is so full of love it's bursting at the seams!

Opus Exhibition at The Mall Galleries

I have just returned from a fascinating day, in"Town", viewing the Opus Exhibition. I met up with Jane, a fellow Distant Stitcher, and I hope I speak for both of us when I say that I had an inspiring morning. The pieces on show have recharged my artistic batteries and I feel as though I have had a bolt of electricity - abit of a jump start so to speak! I spent the train journey home scribbling away making sence of the notes I had made while walking around. Who caught my eye? - Ruth Issett "Dislocate - Relocate" Nos 3 and 5, Valerie Huggins - "Afghan Fields", Carole Thompson - "Triple Circle/Triple Square" and "Cube" Prinkie Roberts - I liked the figures in the bright colours and Sue Hardy - "Ordinary 1-6" Quirky quilts using pastel brights, raffia and circle applique and hessian.

I also met Paula another Distant Stitcher who happened to be visiting with a friend, I trust you enjoyed the exhibition too.

Last night was spent quilting, Wednesday WiPs, and I was able to put the border strips around the scrappy blocks, they are now ready for trimming to a universal size so they can be sewn together to make the top. I would like to say that I won't be quilting until next Wednesday but hey, there's the Frayed Denim Quilt to cut out! Maybe Sunday...

Must go and be Mother now, got to collect Son from Hockey Club and then there's taxi to Cubs and Guides. Looking forward to 9pm so I can get these ideas that have been appearing since this morning out of my head!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Wednesday WiPs Evening

As it is Ash Wednesday my Wednesday Wips evening will be shorter than usual as we will be at Church later. My Son will be singing in the choir, as angelic as any 10 year old can be with a split lip. It happen at school on Monday moring and it curtailed his trumpet lesson yesterday as he couldn't blow through his damaged lips. He had to do theory and sight reading which is good as his grade exam is iminent - long enough away for lips to heal fortunately. I intend to put the white border on the Black & White Seminole quilt, then again I may try to complete the cuddle quilt I began on Sunday!

As this blog has become abit of a diary of my crafting and life, which departs from it's original intention, I have set up a second blog which will only contain photos and explanations of my coursework for Distant Stitch Course members and my Tutor. Having said that you are all welcome to see what I am upto. Go to

I will still post Distant Stitch work here on this blog as part of the diary and to show you how I get to the final pieces on the other blog.

Monday, 4 February 2008

The Weekend part two

Sunday and after the Family Service, an hour of church cleaning readying the church for Lent and cooking a roast dinner we decided to go for a walk. I forgot the camera as usual and saw lots of interesting things as usual! Nearing the end of the walk my daughter slipped and sprained her ankle. Surfice to say we got back to the car, cleaned ourselves up and DH bundled her off the casualty to find it definitely was sprained and not broken as Daughter feared. Whilst they were at the hospital I took my mind off the ankle dilema by sewing together all the scraps I had found on Saturday.

Joining them all together made large pieces of "new" fabric

By the time Daughter had been seen by a Doctor and had her ankle x-rayed I had made the above large blocks of scraps! Daughter returned home numbed with pain-killers and feeling abit sorry for herself. Once she was safely in bed and DH was catching up on his emails etc I then cut the fabric into 6" square blocks, see below.

These blocks will now be attached to scrap strips to give them borders and then joined together, backed with fleece, quilted and given to a local school for disabled children.

The Weekend

We had nothing planned for the week end which is unusual, although the boys did attend the Swindon v Northampton match as they do like to visit "local" away matches to see opponants grounds. Daughter and I DID go shopping which I know I said we wouldn't, but we did! After WHSmiths for some inspiring magazines - paisley patterns ( am I on to a revised trend?) and elephant patterns (DH loves ellies and I like to embroider them for him) and lots more ideas to develop. We visited our local quilt shop - Green Mountain Quilts. There I found grey fabric for binding the Seminole Quilt, new sewing scissors as the Scissor Imp still hadn't returned my embroidery scissors, 6" quilting square ruler (to help me with a frayed denim quilt I am planning), 2 FQs and what I really needed, a large Clover Yo-Yo maker! This I intend to use to make buttons.

Once home I collected together all my quilting fabrics, ironed and refolded where necessary and arranged in rainbow formation followed by pattered/pictoral FQs and plaids! How proud did I feel? I have a bono fide STASH, that surely means I am a quilter? As well as all the other crafty titles I like to collect - Rag rugger, embroiderer, crocheter etc...

My Stash - small but beautiful

I also found this collection of fabrics in a bag of goodies from the Thameside Quilters Xmas Chinese Aution, not quite FQs but enough of each design to make something interesting - any ideas?

This pile of fabric was in a bag marked - Civil War fabrics, and were of cuts from a bigger quilt

Once pressed I had enough stripes to make a FQ size piece of fabric and pieces of complimentary fabrics to enhance it. I put it in the Wednesday WiPs box and await what developes.

I went to bed with the Yo-Yo maker and some pastel scraps and made 5 Yo-Yos before the need for sleep - better than a book!

Friday, 1 February 2008

February Already!

As promised here are last night's buttons made using a plastic frame wrapped with threads

I have been busy on the idea I had last night, I have taken photos at different stages and hopefully will be in a position to show you the finished button and how it was made tomorrow.

DH and son are off to Swindon for an away match tomorrow and Daughter has asked to spend the day drawing, which will be a nice way to use the day. Beats wandering around the shops.