Saturday 1 December 2012

Christmas 2012 Linky Party

12 Days of Christmas Quilt Wall hanging
I'm yet to finish quilting mine, but it's coming out today anyhow!

Festive Season Linky Party

Each year as blogs wind down and thoughts turn to Christmas, I think of all the blogs I enjoy reading and the people I've come to know through blogging and I wonder what you're all doing at this time of year. I love WOW's during the year and thought an extended Christmas WOW would be so nice, a kind of virtual Christmas card where we can visit each other with a cup of coffee in hand..

So this year, why not link your own Christmas WIPs, recipes, patterns, plans or traditions anytime this month in the lead up to Christmas. I'd love to know how you're celebrating Christmas. I've started off by adding my most popular Christmas project (the crochet wreath) and my most requested recipe...but I'll probably add more as the month rolls on!


Friday 30 November 2012

Carnation & Daffodil

Forget Me Not: Part 11 is launched

Carnation & Daffodil

It's just that time of year already, and I know we've all got so much on this time of year, so
I've  decided to release the December 15th pattern early.

Here it is: this month we move down to size "A" which is the smallest block in the quilt.

This is the December 15th block

The next block will be released on January 15th, 2013

These are blocks from Part 11
of my free 2012 Mystery BOM Forget Me Not
Yes, anyone can join in:
You can download this month's block via my website or my Yahoo Bom Group

Wednesday 28 November 2012

WOW: Chaos? What chaos?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Patterns, patterns, patterns

What was I thinking when I decided to have a pre-Christmas sewing spring clean?

A few weeks ago my shelves toppled over. That was the jolt I needed to get my things in order! I'm at the worst part of it today - that stage where everything looks worse than it did before I started and the satisfying tidy finish looks weeks away. Of course with Christmas weeks away, my newly organised sewing room can't be weeks away, it has to be days away. So I'm up early, not because I'm excited about a new project...but because I can't finish any projects in my current sewing area, there's just no room to move.

I don't think I could live long enough to actually make all the designs, sketches and pattern ideas I've it's time to prioritise. There are literally hundreds. Each new page is a dilemna: I love the idea or sketch, but realistically, will I make it?

All my beautiful books and my practical books are bagged and moved out of my room. I have to decide what to keep and what to let go of...if I can.

These are not my shelved and bagged magazines - that's a whole other shelf hiding in the spare room...and I havent even planned to take that on yet. I don't know what I'll do with those, there are so many and I can't face sorting them out. Maybe with a tidy sewing room I'll find the motivation.

Here are my archive boxes. I have 60 to put together. I've only made 20 so far. I am packing all my fabric up, according to colour and shelf life and once my room is sorted and my shelves are sturdy and in position, I will re-think my fabric mountain. As I handle the fabric that goes into boxes so far, I keep falling in love with them all over again, so I dont know if I'll be able to minimise. I keep coming across old WIPs that I'm keen to finish too. I can't wait to be organised and actually get some sewing done in my sewing room!

Archive boxes are relatively small, however I decided that I wanted a box I could actually manage on my own. I have made the mistake of storing fabric and other items in plastic stacking boxes that are just too heavy to move around - which is really of no use to me. So I have quite a few boxes, but I can actually use them and I find the side handle gaps useful too. 

With December just a few days away, I have decided that I will launch the 'December 15th' installment of Forget Me Not early so that those of you who are making it can organise yourselves more easily over this festive period. I know some of you are going away and have asked me to email you the pattern on release so that you don't miss it, but instead I think that I'll actually release it early for everyone. I know how hectic this time of year is in my household and it's just one less thing to think about in December!

This is the last WIP before festivities begin!
What are you making? Thinking of making? Finishing up?

Monday 26 November 2012

The Bleeding Hearts Myth

Bleeding Heart & Daisy
a block from Part 10 of my Mystery BOM Forget Me Not
I have loved Bleeding Hearts for so long and couldn't wait to incorporate them into a block
Now I know there's a myth that goes along with them, it's even more charming!
It's not everyday that you hear something new
I love flowers and know of so many wives tales and flower language facts and historic allergories, but I didn't know about this one - and it's so charming I had to share it! Many thanks to Bunny who sent on this link to share it with me. She is making Forget Me Not (beautifully, I'll add) and I'm so glad she thought of passing this link on to me.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

WOW: Momentary Domesticity

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

I've been really busy this morning, fussing over the next Mystery block. I can't share any of those images with you yet, so I thought I'd show off my latest kitchen gadget. Frankly, it's not too often that I'm stirred to talk about domestic chores; I'd rather be quilting! All I'm going to say about saucepans is that I've had them all, I've ruined most of them - one way or another- and I couldn't be less interested in shopping for new ones.

That's not oil, it's pure toffee, and it's gliding out of the pan.

 So I decided that my DD could source the 'new saucepan'... and she had a Flavorstone brand one delivered. Now, I'd never heard of this brand (which worried me) and it's bright blue (which also worried me) and it's seriously non - stick (which terrified me). After many hours of google-ing non stick cookware and conspiracy theories regarding non- stick surfaces, I simply decided to send the whole thing back. I hadn't even used it and it was already causing me too much hassle. I do wonder if I'm the only person who obsesses about these things? But it really worried me and I didn't want to cook in it.

the colour still bothers me
but I can't complain about its performance
To cut a long story short, I read up about my current stainless steel imported European cookware that I've been using for the last 20 years and apparently even that's not 100% safe... so I decided that, on balance, and given the temperatures in question, I was worrying too much about it and decided to just cook something.

After all the money we've spent on 'state of the art' saucepans from Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the USA, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this is the best saucepan I've ever had! It is truly non-stick and cooks beautifully. I've cooked so many meals - slow cooking, braising, browning, warming up - all without a speck of oil and am impressed with how nicely the food browns and caramelises. The biggest test was when my DD made creme caramel and the usual stuck sugar mess was replaced with gliding sugar that was wiped out of the pan.

I can't believe I'm actually talking about saucepans (?!), but I have mentioned it abit just lately and have promised a few people that I'd blog it as I have been calling this brand by a wrong name, so anyway, here it is.  I doubt any other kitchen object will be able to excite me quite so much...which, looking at my WIP pile, is probably a good thing!

Saturday 17 November 2012

Bleeding Heart & Daisy, details

I've been thinking about designing a block with Bleeding Hearts for so long, I love them, I adore the way they hang and I think they're such a  romantic flower, I just knew they'd win a certain place in Forget Me Not.

Straight away I felt they belonged grouped with daisies, and then the colour scheme was instant; pink and green.

I know I always say this, but Preparation is everything!

This block is the fiddliest by far of all the blocks, but don't let that put you's so satsifying to get these hearts finished, any pain along the way will be worth it! (and of course, there's always raw edge if you can't face the tiny details)

Elmer's glue, patience and a sharp pointed wooden cuticle stick (or use a thick needle to help you turn those impossible corners and edges)

clip and turn, doing your best to keep the edges tight and neat

you have to really be in the mood for applique when sitting down to turn edge the hearts

I like to complete them all in once sitting if possible,
but it takes a while so you may like to do it over several days

As I told myself throughout;
I'm only doing this once
and I'm going to look at and enjoy it for years! Persevere!

the end result is definitely worth it

This block is from Part 10
of my free 2012 Mystery BOM Forget Me Not

Yes, anyone can join in:
You can download this month's block via my website or my Yahoo Bom Group 

Friday 16 November 2012

Banksia, details

As with every month, it always starts with the colours. I could have gone several ways with Banksia as there are quite a few varieties, and I opted for hot pink, using plain, batik and my own hand dye fabric.

The batik was a really great fabric to use as a background for the Banksia head; it appears that there are twice as many 'seeds' thanks to the background fabric, I love this effortless depth. If you don't have a background fabric that creates this, you can create it yourself by highlighting around your applique seeds with a pencil in a lighter tone to your seed fabric and highlighting around each seed individually. Then, heat set to make permanent.

lots of tiny seeds to cut

Preparation and patience are really important this month; both blocks have the potential to be really fiddly and time consuming. I opted for needle turn edges... and it really tested my patience!

but I love the sharp lines and wouldn't have it any other way


the name scroll is coming, I'm still working on it!

This block is from Part 10
of my free 2012 Mystery BOM Forget Me Not

Yes, anyone can join in:
You can download this month's block via my website or my Yahoo Bom Group 

Thursday 15 November 2012

Bleeding Heart & Daisy, Banksia

Forget Me Not: Part 10 is launched

Bleeding Heart & Daisy


I've wanted to design and applique some bleeding hearts for the longest time...and now I have! And it's the same with the Banksia, it's just one of those blocks I've always wanted to make. So I did!

These are blocks from Part 10
of my free 2012 Mystery BOM Forget Me Not
Yes, anyone can join in:
You can download this month's block via my website or my Yahoo Bom Group

Wednesday 14 November 2012

WOW: the Fabric License Question

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

I cut into some set aside background fabric I shouldn’t have, and this means I had to buy some replacement Moda French General last week. Luckily it’s still in stock and this means I don’t have to change my background scheme for Forget Me Not again.

Whilst I was buying it quickly online, another fabric caught my eye and I couldn’t resist, I snapped it up. I love seeing new fabric and being instantly motivated to use it in one of my pieces.

I simply love it. Red, polka dot and tiny stitch details, perfect!

It arrived today and yes, it’s as lovely in real life as it is on screen and yes, I could definitely use it in one of my designs.

But then, something caught my eye on the selvedge: “License required for commercial use.”

On both sides of the selvedge there was printed advice: the name of the designer and her copyright on one side (which is pretty standard as far as I know) and on the other side the "License required for commercial use" advice, which I haven't seen before today, is this new?

I don't intend to use this fabric commerically, however 'commercial' can mean so many things and you can infringe license unintentionally - for instance, you may use the fabric in a quilt which you then photograph - if you then display the image of the quilt or use the image to promote your work, demonstrate a workshop or sell patterns, etc. then you're 'commercial'.

I have a lot of fabric in my stash and I have never seen this extra licence line before. I've known for a while that print fabrics and designer print ranges can be troublesome for professional quilters so I generally avoid them - I don't need the hassle.

I've been caught unawares buying this beautiful fabric, I didn't know about it's license before I purchased it, so now I definitely won't be using it. I wish fabric suppliers would stipulate exactly what their license terms mean and let us know that its a "“License required for commercial use” fabric before we purchase it!

If I'd known about this at the point of sale,
I wouldn't have purchased it!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

WOW: Christmas Rum Raisins

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Yes, I said Christmas!

This morning I noticed our Rum Jar was empty. 'No big deal' I thought, 'I've got plenty of time to make another one in time for Christmas'. And then I realised. It is Christmas (well, yes, nearly!) and I don't have plenty of time.

My birthday is usually a kind of tipping point. I start thinking about Christmas after my birthday. Well, it was a tipping point, this year the Christmas stock reached my local shops at the end of September, so it never really feels like the Christmas season has 'arrived' instead it comes early and waits around whilst I'm doing the october birthday shopping. And then because I get used to seeing goods everywhere, I almost forget about preparing for it.

So before I even had my first coffee of the day, I filled the jar with a mix of raisins, sultanas and currants (luckily we had some deep in the pantry) and added just enough rum to cover the fruit.

And I'll give it a shake every few days to help it mellow and mature a little faster (it's usually a January task and I let it sit all year), and if there are any more warm days (which I'm sure there will be) I'll try to remember to leave it on the window ledge for a few hours too. Hopefully that will make up for my missed time...and my traditional christmas baking won't have to go without out drunken raisins.

When baked in cakes and biscuits, you can't taste the rum in the end product - it simply tastes rich and warm and aromatic. Of course, it's also really good over vanilla ice cream and the thick syrup that congeals in the jar is something of an elixir to drizzle over crepes. I'll definitely make a full batch in January again as this half jar will only get us over the festive season.

Where has the year gone?

Do you have any Christmas WIPs ?

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, I celebrated my birthday this past Sunday! Yes, it's already been a year since I last wrote a birthday post. The years are passing by faster as I get older, that's for certain.

I had a quiet family celebration, it was a beautiful day.

Of course there was an extravagant birthday cake
thanks to my youngest DD


and there was plenty of the nicest gift you can give: flowers!

A wedding bouquet of flowers

a vase of flowers

flowers outside a box

flowers inside a box

funeral casket flowers
(don't worry, it's not from a real funeral, my DD is in training)

and a garden plucked fragrant rose!

Along with my floral mystery BOM Forget Me Not,
it feels like it's really been a year for flowers in my household!

Wednesday 31 October 2012

WOW: Block Tinkering

WOW = WIPS On Wednesdays

I've been arranging and re-arranging my quilt positions. I'm making 2x of Forget Me Not and although I've already decided on where I'll have each block, I have to keep checking and re-arranging just to make sure.

One block which has really been bothering me lately is Morning Glory.

Every time I looked at this block I wanted to change something. I purposely choose 4 instead of the usual focus of 3 in terms of symmetry - that wasn't what was bothering me. I looked over a few Morning Glory images and realised that it was the position that needed fixing. I think the Morning Glories are the wrong way up (well, maybe not the 'wrong way') but I must admit that after some unpicking and re-positioning....

I'm much happier now, with the Morning Glories
tumbling down
instead of trumpeting up
(and I also lost a leaf)

It's such a minor thing, but I feel so much better having adjusted this block. Now I'm done tinkering and get on with more important the next block!

How's your wednesday ? 

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