Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. Our New Year celebrations got off to an early start this evening with a fireworks display in Newcastle. It was soooo cold -2C. Any thoughts of partying tonight went in favour of a long hot bath to thaw out.
Christmas has passed in a haze of presents to be opened....
decisions ...What to wear...?
and grandad on the bed settee in the living room
Hope you and yours had a Happy Christmas too.

Wishing you health, wealth and happiness in the New Year.

Happy Quilting xx

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Quilters Christmas Party

Friday afternoon was the Quilters Christmas party for the girls from the Fat Quarters Friday afternoon class. We had a Secret Santa deliver pressies to Lintzford garden centre where we all met for lunch. You can see that aprons were a popular present this year.

With the credit crunch on our minds Helen and I came dressed to do the washing up instead of paying.

Here is Margaret modelling her apron.

And these are my presents from Santa, Thank you. They are lovely, the decoration is on the tree and the sewing goodies are already in my sewing room.

And this is my favourite Christmas card. Its not often I get a card with my latest project on the front.

Saturday night I was looking after my niece so out came the sewing machine again, this time to make the Matroyshka Angels from Rosalie Quinlan's Gift book. When I went to buy freezer paper and stuffing you could have thought I was going to do some cooking but no they are essential ingredients when making softies.

Next time I think I would do them in brighter fabrics as these muted colours tend to disappear on the Christmas tree.

I must go and wrap some presents now.

Happy Quilting xx

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming ...and there's no avoiding it. I am not a great fan of Christmas. That's a bit of an understatement, I would do anything to avoid it. I just find it so stressful. The present shopping has to be done well before all the other stuff starts, parties, lunches, carol concerts etc etc. Every other programme on TV is about Christmas cookery (I can't believe anyone would actually make their own sweet mincemeat when M&S make such good mince pies - get real Nigella!!)

Jenny knows I hate it and does her best to help. This year she chose the tree and decorated it. Michael (our resident audio visual technician ) was in charge of the lights so they worked first time. It looks lovely, unfortunately it was in front of the door to the conservatory and we had forgotten to swap sofas. The sofa bed from the conservatory needed to be in the lounge for visitors over Christmas. Moving things around was a mammoth task but (touch wood) the tree has not fallen over yet. Although wait until the rabbit sees it, now there's a challenge for her. The little snowman came from the Christmas shop in York.

This weeks sewing challenge has been the Christmas edition of the Fat Quarters Club from Melly and Me. Just for a change I made an apron. This Christmas apron called Merry was just started on Friday afternoon and finished this evening. I substituted one of my own fabrics because I didn't like the red fabric supplied. It has taken quite a lot of work. The red gingham binding was difficult because my bias maker was only 3/8". I finished up putting the binding on like a quilt binding. I cut a 2 1/2" wide strip , folded it in half, stitched the raw edges on the wrong side, folded it over then top stitched on the right side. I think I should have ironed it before taking the photo but I couldn't wait to get blogging.

Enjoy your Christmas preparations.

Happy Quilting xx

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Presents for Friends

Most of last weekend was spent making gifts for Christmas, I can't show them all here for obvious reasons . I also managed to finish of the fourth project from the Fat Quarters club. I am really pleased with this lovely needle case. It turned out almost perfect, except when I got to the end I had a bit left. When making the fastening tab for the button the pattern said "stitch and put to one side". Unfortunately when I got to the end, the button tab was still "put to one side". Never mind, a bit of jiggery pokery and it all came together. It even looks like the photo on the pattern.

I love the fabric Durham quilting collection by Lecien. I used it in pink on one of the aprons on last weeks post.
Jenny has completed the last of her crazy patchwork bags on a theme of music and rainbows. They are all wrapped and ready to go.

And she even found time to dress up for another murder mystery party. This time no sewing was required only recycling of an old dressing gown and the chop sticks I use for stuffing and turning things inside out.

Happy Quilting xx

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Cold and Frosty Mornings

Over the last few days we have had very cold and icy conditions here in the North of England. On Sunday Jenny and I went to the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust at Washington. It was sunny and lovely but ooh soo cold. -4 degrees in the afternoon.

The birds migrate to the Wetlands area at this time of year and are in their most colourful plumage.

This was definitely the prettiest duck

Even the ponds were frozen.

These geese took food straight from Jenny's hand.

When we came home we got down to some more sewing , another apron nearly finished.
Its not that I have got completely carried away with these Australian designers and just putting Sheila on the apron to keep the the Australian theme, it really is for my Aunty Sheila.

Then got out the advent calendar from last year and filled it up with chocolate.

Mandy -Sorry to hear about your ankle. Hope all goes well with the surgery,Take care, rest up and get down to some sewing.

Happy Quilting xx

Monday, 24 November 2008

Knitting and stitching show Harrogate

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to .... Harrogate. My first visit to the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate this weekend was a treat. Early on Friday morning we braved a snow shower to set off on our bus trip. This was the first year I had been and was armed with a list, comfy shoes, lots of bags, paracetamol and plenty of money. In great company at the back of the bus we chatted all the way there.

The show was really busy with lots of exhibitors, loads of knitting stalls, patchwork and quilting, notions, needlework of every description and exhibits form the local Art school degree course.
There were other strange things too such as this crochet coral reef.

It was good to look out for old friends Louise on the Woolfish stand, there for the first time.

And to meet new people too, Debbie from Letters tied with Blue on the Fat Quarters stand

We also saw local Yorkshire lass, Philippa Naylor, well known for her vivid contemporary quilts.

Lots of the visitors were seasoned exhibition goers, ready to fight tooth and nail for what they want. Particularly seats in the restaurant. Margaret lost out on seats in the coffee shop as the winner was armed with a stick. Having finally secured her seat she is not letting anyone have it!!

Having tried to keep up with Margaret all day Janet and I were just pleased to sit down!! She shops at the same speed as she quilts !!

I got nothing on my list but still managed to get plenty of bits and pieces.

Tea at Betty's was a much more civilised affair but the 3 hour journey home was a bit of an ordeal.

Saturday and Sunday I was still recovering but did find time to sew another apron. The pocket is still a work in progress.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Scenic Christmas Shopping

Decided this weekend I must get on with some Christmas shopping. On Friday night we went to the Metro centre. It was awful - so on Saturday we went off on a different track, Christmas shopping in Corbridge. The weather was mild and sunny so we enjoyed the walk across the bridge into the village. There aren't many places where you can find scenery like this to accompany your shopping.

In the village we had a lovely lunch and were able to get everything we had on our list. The only down side was the walk back across the bridge carrying all the parcels.

On Friday I started on the stitchery for the Friends Needle case. The fabric, Durham quilting collection by Lecien, is so lovely I bought another metre off the bolt. I think it will be another apron, watch this space.

Jenny has completed another of her crazy patchwork bags. This one for a friend who is crazy about frogs. The fabric is fab, Creatures and Critters by Amy Schimler and we didn't want to cover up the frogs, hence the small patchwork piece. We are getting quicker making the bags now, this one only took about an hour to stitch.

Finally this afternoon the weather was dry and sunny again so we set off to Ryton to walk by the river and check out the exhibits at The Christmas Art Tour at Ryton community centre. It was good to chat to Trish Turnbull who taught us how to do clippy and proggy mats at the Herb Patch a few weeks ago. We also enjoyed meeting Janet Rogers of crushed chilli who told us all about her hand made contemporary stained glass.
Happy Quilting xx

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Bloggers come visiting

Its always great fun to meet up with other bloggers and those you know who read your blog and leave comments. Therefore it was super to meet up with Mandy on Friday at The Fat Quarters. Here to stay with her mum Margaret for the weekend, she came to share in the fun of the Friday afternoon class. Don't know why I didn't take a photo of you both. Thanks for the comments Mandy.

However this week's prize for the most beautiful quilt goes to Irene . She has worked hard on this lovely Be Attitudes Art to Heart design by Nancy Halvorsen, the applique is so neat and its beautifully quilted by hand too. A wonderful gift for her granddaughter who just couldn't wait and slept under it with the quilt pins still in it.

This is Irene's favourite block - look at that cute button nose.

And this is my favourite. The colours are gorgeous for a little girl too.

My efforts this week are poor by comparison, lots of machine stitching got the first of the Christmas aprons finished. The name is covered just in case she looks in.

Happy Quilting xx

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

More Koalas from Melly and Me

Bonzer and Beaut are finished. As the leaves have all fallen from the apple tree they have moved into this pot plant in the dining room where I guess they are going to set up home for the winter. If they breed successfully I will have to open an etsy shop to sell off the babies, watch this space.

The next project from the Fat Quarters club was out last week, The Friends Needle Case from Rosalie Quinlan designs is lovely. On the finished sample Kim has in the shop, Rosalie's stitches are so small and neat, I don't know that mine will look the same. She uses a product I haven't seen before , Weaveline, it is an iron on backing to give the stitchery more stability and to hide all the knots and threads. I have found that stitching through a backing of wadding keeps the stitches neater but it is sometimes too bulky, so I am looking forward to trying it.

Leanne Beasley also recommends using iron on Weaveline on the back of the stitchery pocket for the Apron Strings pattern. Unfortunately I had started before I knew Kim was stocking it so I have used iron on Vilene. It is nice to sit all cosy on these dark damp nights doing a bit of hand sewing, just wish I could keep my stitches neater, any handy hints?
I can only show a snip of this because it is a Christmas present.

And finally, our Halloween picture, a bit belated. jenny and her friends decided they were too big to go trick or treating and so had a Halloween sleepover. We still had lots of little trick or treaters to our door, By 5.45pm we had run out of sweets so we took down the decorations, put out all the lights and went out. Spoil sports!!

Happy Quilting xx

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

York Trip

We started out with great plans for a family weekend in York, a visit to the Quilt museum for the girls and the Air museum for the boys. However my DH managed to get an abscess on his tooth, then he was allergic to the antibiotics and just generally feeling awful, the whole trip was abandoned. Well not quite...

When the boys went back to work on Monday, my DD and myself set out for the early train for a day trip to York. It was a lovely bright morning and walking in from the station we were greeted with this lovely view of the sun shining on the boats and the river Ouse.

The Quilt museum and gallery are shut on a Monday so there was nothing else for it but to shop til we dropped!!! We will have to go back again when the Quilt Museum is open (and the bank account has recovered). We found a lovely wool shop in The Shambles which had Rowan cotton yarn reduced to £2.40 a ball, so I purchased enough to knit a cup cake. With a pattern from Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits, I started knitting last night.

I am quite pleased with the result, and doesn't it look lovely sitting on this glass cake stand. The cake stand and table cloth both came from my granny. She was a great knitter but never bought quite enough wool. As children we grew up wearing cardigans with a mismatched band around the neck, where she had run out of wool and couldn't get quite the right wool to match it. Anyway she had also made this lovely embroidered tablecloth at sometime. Here is a close up of one of the flowers.

I have had a bit of a house wifely sort of day today. Carrots in Tesco were on special at 50p for a 1kg bag so I bought a big bag and made carrot and coriander soup. My DH is starting to worry about me now, when he had to wait until I took a photo of his soup before he could eat it. Perhaps am taking the blogging too far?

But here is the recipe anyway because I like to see recipes on other peoples blogs.

Carrot and coriander credit crunch soup.

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 med onion peeled and chopped
4 large carrots peeled and chopped,1 large potato peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
750ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Heat oil in large pan, add onion and cook over low heat til soft. Add carrots and potato and stir again, Cover pan with lid and cook gently for 10 mins. Stir in ground coriander and stock, stir and bring to boil and cook for about 25 mins, blitz soup with hand blender (Note this is a new blender because the last one melted the last time I blitzed hot soup!)
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a swirl of fresh cream and a sprinkling of fresh coriander or parsley.

And finally a sneak preview of Jenny's pumpkin lantern,ready for Halloween on Friday.

Happy Quilting xx