Thursday, 14 May 2015

Christmas Tree mini quilt

Yes, I know, it's May! So I'm either really early or really late! I planned to make this mini quilt over the Christmas holidays last year but I just never had the time, so it was put on the to-do list for 2015. 

This month the theme for Le Challenge is 'wood' and so I instantly knew that this was the perfect reason to get this mini made! I had already pulled the fabrics and printed the pattern so I was all set to go! Although, as ever, I finished at the last minute and didn't leave myself enough time to get good photos, urgh!


Each tree is paper pieced with lots of green fabrics from my scraps and some pretty sparkly snowflake fabric for the background. I had planned to make a patchwork border using reds and greens, but when I sewed together the 4 trees I loved how they looked just as they were. I did some FMQ, it's not amazing but I'm still pretty new to FMQ so I'm really pleased with how it turned out. 

Linking up to Le Challenge and Scraptastic Tuesday.

 photo LeChallengScraptastic Tuesday

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

#ukminiswap

One of the swaps I recently joined on Instagram was the #ukminiswap. Since having total control of home decor I decided that I would love a wall of mini quilts in my bedroom, and swaps are a really fun way of getting minis that I wouldn't think to make for myself! They also challenge me, by having to make something that somebody else will like, and not just me!
When partners were assigned I was given the lovely Kerry, and she said that she liked rainbow colours, light backgrounds and stars. She probably said some other stuff too, but I can't remember it now! I was aware of the massive trend for rainbow mini quilts, but hadn't actually considered making one before. I dithered for a while and looked at many possibilities and finally decided to make EPP stars, using lots of scraps.

I loved making these, hand sewing is so much fun! In fact, it turned out that I loved it so much I didn't want to give it away! So I have another little pile of scrappy stars waiting to be turned into a mini for myself :)
I added a few little extras and hand stitched a label and my package was ready to go! Kerry received it yesterday morning, and I'm thrilled to say that she loved it! Phew!
Completely by chance, my mini quilt arrived the very same day! I had said that I liked pink, that I would love to have foundation paper piecing or free motion quilting in my mini and that I have a bit of a thing for flamingos. And look at what arrived!!
Everything I asked for!! All in one gorgeous mini! It even has little tiny beads :) 
Thanks Hanneke, you really did include all the things I wished for, you clever lady!

I'm off to plan some goodies for other swaps I've joined now!
Much love
Karen xxxx

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Changes

Change. Not something I deal with very well. I manage the small things, I've learnt to cope, but the big things? The big things are difficult, and a couple of big changes have happened here in the last few months. 
After 13 years, I'm now a single lady again. That's a pretty big change, right? Enough for a person to deal with?
Nope. Just a few short months later my beloved Henry died.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever been so sad. 
I've hidden myself away a little bit. I've found it more difficult than usual to be out and put on a cheerful face. Don't get me wrong, I've had good days, I've been out and seen people, I've not been a total recluse! And I have created. Sewing, quilting, crochet and knitting have helped enormously, kept me busy, given my brain something gentle and pretty to focus on. 
But now I am feeling a little bit stronger. I've been on my own for 5 months (obviously not actually alone - my beautiful Molly is here with me) and I need to get back some of the 'me' and not just be sad and frightened. Like the true introvert I am, I'm reaching out to all my internet friends, because I can do that from my sofa, in my jammies, and I can't see or hear anyone who isn't kind about it all. I have stayed active on IG (albeit a little erratically) and felt so supported by so many people when Henry died. It made me feel 'normal' that I was so utterly devastated by the loss of a cat, so many people understood. And so I'm hoping that I can find that support again, through my blog as well as IG. That there will be other people who are dealing with the breakdown of a relationship, the loss of a pet, depression - there, I said the D word. Not something I like to admit to, although I know I shouldn't feel ashamed, I still find it so hard to talk about.

I don't want this to be a big, old moaning post, I just want to explain a little about why I haven't been here. To say that now I want to be back, to focus on the positive, to move forward. To share my passion for creating with people who understand!! I've joined a few IG swaps, and I'm going to try linking up with other things that are going on too. So I hope to see you all very, very soon!!
Much love,
Karen xxxxx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Orange peel quilt-along - background fabrics

I've been really struggling not to race ahead with this quilt-along. I'm so excited to get making those gorgeous peels!! 
Orange Peel Quilt-Along!
But I'm determined to do it in the right order!! So I'm linking up today with my (mostly) cut background fabrics.
I cut all the low volume fabrics that I had pulled from my stash into 6" squares. That gave me 89 squares. I haven't really decided how big to make my quilt but I think I'm aiming for the lap size which means I need 144 squares. I picked up 3 new low volume FQs while I was at my local fabric shop (LOVE those little pink roses!!) and when they are cut I will have 116. So I just need to buy 3 more FQs and I will have enough! I really thought I would need to buy loads more fabric, so my purse is very happy!!

Right, I'm off to link up with Julie and see what the other lovely quilt-alongers have been up to!

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Orange peel quilt-along

Hey! I'm super excited about joining in with Julie's orange peel quilt-along!
Orange Peel Quilt-Along!


Today is fabric pulling day. I knew that I wanted a scrappy orange peel quilt, with low-volume backgrounds and bright peels. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't have much low-volume fabric in my stash, but having chatted to Julie about it I realised that low-volume didn't have to be super low-volume, just enough to contrast with the peels. Never did I consider that the fabric for the peels would give me problems, oh no, that would be the easy part right? 
Urgh. Let me tell you, the trip into my sewing cupboard this afternoon was NOT a happy one. The low-volume part, not so hard. I had more than I thought. Maybe not enough for the whole quilt, but I'm taking a 'go-with-the-flow' approach to this project. I definitely have plenty to get started with. 
And then the peels. I pulled out all the fabrics that would contrast, that weren't in my 'this-is-too-nice-to-actually-use' pile. It looked like poo. I walked away. I gave myself a talking to. I came back and looked at my 'this-is-too-nice-to-actually-use' pile. I gave myself another talking to. I put a lot of those fabrics into my peels pile (deep breaths, Karen, deep breaths) and pulled out all the poo ones. Better. Not perfect, but I'm going for scrappy so I'm hoping that not perfect is ok. 
So here they are.
Hmm, not the best light for photos this afternoon. What do you think? Scrappy and bright? 

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Once again Julie, Christa and I had a wonderful time at the Festival of Quilts. We visited for two days again, (one just isn't enough!) and we still didn't manage to see everything! I love seeing all the quilts, so many beautiful and amazing works of art. I came away totally inspired, with so many new ideas, such a great way to spend two days!
Obviously there was shopping. Quite a lot of shopping. I had two specific projects in mind and I did pretty well getting all I needed - and more!
Firstly the greys and yellows.
I am taking a course all about flying geese later this week and fell head-over-heels in love with this quilt. I already had the grey and yellow flea market fancy so my job was to find other fabrics that went with them. I'm thrilled with this little pile, they make me so happy! I have 1 other yellow and a few more lighter greys that may or may not go in, I'll see how it goes!
Next up - pinks and greys! There does seem to be a bit of a grey theme going on here!
I have seen an amazing pattern for a foundation pieced flamingo, and I have a vision in my head of lots of flamingos, all in different pink fabrics on grey backgrounds. I think I will only need 9 of the pinks, but there is no actual plan yet so the fact that I have extras is good! I had such fun with this pile, I hope it all comes together the way I see it in my head!!
Other stuff.
The grey, yellow and pink might make it into one of the piles above. The pearl bracelets? Well, lets just say I got a bit carried away! I love them, and they are so useful, so I bought them.
And some more bits and pieces. The yarn is silk and such a beautiful shade of pink (the photo sadly does not show it) I don't know what I will knit with it, but it will be gorgeous! Some of Jeni Baker's nordika fabrics, because I wanted them. A bag clasp. I'm sure there was something I wanted to make that needed one, but now I can't remember what it was! And that bobbin case! Really, I shouldn't get excited about this, it's so geeky, but IT IS AMAZING!! It has changed my life. Or at least the little bits of my life that involve chasing bobbins around the bottom of my thread box.

Oh, so much fun. And I'm so excited about my new projects. I just have a few things to get finished first...
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Monday, 18 August 2014

Secrets

I have used these secret projects as excuses not to blog for such a long time now!! To be fair, there were a fair few of them and I really didn't want to spoil the surprises for the recipients!
The secrets were in 2 parts. Firstly there were birthday gifts, and then there were quilts. All heading off to the other side of the world to my very dear friend Heidi and her gorgeous family. They moved to Australia almost a year ago now, and I miss them all so very much.
I posted the first parcels at the end of July, and then the quilts followed 9 days later. Strangely, 2 of the quilts arrived first and then the other parcels all came in the next post!! So now there are no more secrets - Hooray!

So, the birthdays. First was the lovely Heidi herself, and then one of her daughters turned 6. For Heidi I used Jeni Baker's library tote pattern to make this bag. I found choosing fabric really hard (much more so than I normally do!) so in the end Molly picked, and did a great job too! I was going to make a pretty pencil case for Miss A, but then I remembered some pencil rolls I had seen and started planning. I had soooo much fun picking fabric scraps to match each pencil! I'm so pleased with how they both turned out!
And then the quilts. Heidi's youngest was born shortly after they made the move to Australia and I had always planned to make him a baby quilt, it was just a bit late! But then while I was finishing it up I decided that the girls needed quilts too! I chose quilt patterns that were quick and easy, and that meant I could use fabric I already had in the cupboard. I'm pretty pleased with the results :)
I woke up this morning to messages and photos from Heidi, all parcels received and loved! 
It was so lovely. I might have had a little cry. Heidi, if you're reading this, I love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx