Friday, 30 May 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment and here's mine..

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Family Time

The last couple of weeks have been a bit up and down around here, rather like the weather really. We've gone from camping out 'wild' in the woods on one of the wettest nights for a long time...

 To squeezing in some much needed time at the beach in lovely sunshine...

The water was cold!

This blog was always intended to be a making blog, rather than a family blog. Partly because I think I'm basically a very private person and partly because there are plenty of amazing 'family' type blogs out there and I don't feel I could add anything particularly valuable to that genre. Obviously there are plenty of amazing 'making' blogs too, but you can never have too much 'making'! But there are times when 'family' issues get in the way of 'making', and family is obviously much the more important. So, a 'making' blog suffers.

My Mum went into hospital a couple of weeks ago with a very serious infection. She got over the initial infection but there have been lots of complications since. She's 77 with very advanced Parkinsons, and hospitals have never been her favourite place, so really this shouldn't have been too unexpected. But it's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a two weeks, particularly for my Dad.  An emotional rollercoaster that we're still on at the moment.

It's been difficult for all the children too, and especially so for Maria. She's the one who's accustomed to spend the most time with me, and she's also at an age when she can understand plenty enough to realise that things are wrong, but maybe not quite enough to be reassured. Over the last couple of weeks she's become very unsettled. She hasn't wanted to be left at all, whether that's at the wonderful pre-school she normally loves, or even in the room next to me where she would normally play so happily, chatting away to herself and creating her own happy, little world. In particular, she's become very disturbed by the concept of death. A concept that really hasn't come into her life in any way before now. It's something I've found very difficult to handle, not least because it's an issue I personally have trouble coming to terms with myself too. I have been trying very hard to make sure that doesn't come across to her, but it's not easy. Four year olds can ask a lot of very searching, perceptive questions and can tear apart answers if they're not solid enough. Love, cuddles, physical reassurance and company, lots of time and attention, gentleness and patience have been helping much more than answers.

All the children are off on holiday this week, which is maybe just what Maria needs at the moment. There's been lots of giggling and playing with Venetia outside today, which has been so lovely to see and hear.

And tea provided for me at the end of it, perfect!

And a couple of times today I've heard her finding her happy place again and chatting away to herself in her own world. I'd been afraid she maybe wouldn't find that place again, so that's been wonderful to hear.

So basically there hasn't been any making going on and there probably won't be a huge amount over the next week or so either. I'll pop back as and when it does happen, but family time is very much the priority at the moment.


Friday, 23 May 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Whimsical Quilt for Maria

I'm not doing very well with time for making this week, I have got a couple of little things started (and not finished!), but the main thing I've got underway is a quilt for Maria's birthday in a few weeks time. I've been struggling for some time to decide what kind of quilt to make her. I've wanted it to be something quite personal and individual to her, but part of the problem is that she likes so many things - I could have chosen to make her a quilt with a flower theme, or mermaids and sea creatures, or birds, or fairies, or snails! Or probably half a dozen other options, and she'd have been excited by it. She's very easily pleased. In the end I've decided to aim for a quilt with a fairly general whimsical feel to it (Maria and whimsical are words that go together quite well I think!) and try to have a picture of Maria within it. This could be a little ambitious so it might all change, but I've made a start. I'm using this picture of Maria as my guide:

But she's going to be sitting on a toadstool instead!

All scraps, mainly from recycled bits. Maria's top in the picture is actually made from an old top she wore when she was younger.

I've got the background all sewn down, but I've still to sew the applique bits down. And the make or break part will be Maria's face. I think it's very hard to capture a real face well with a few stitches. Made up faces are much easier. So if it doesn't look like Maria to me, I'll be back to square one.

And I've had lots of fun digging through fabric, pulling out pieces that might work with the whimsical feel.

Fingers crossed I'll have some progress to show you in a few days. Either that or I'll have started a quilt of snails, I can do snails!


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

If you're a quilting fan then you may have heard about the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side. There are 11 different categories and bloggers can enter up to 2 different quilts in any of these categories. Here's the schedule for the festival:

Schedule of events :
May 16-23 – Linky’s Open & Nominate for Viewer’s Choice
May 24-29 – Vote for favorites in each of the categories (links to each category below)
May 30/31 – Winners announced
I've never entered before (or any quilt festival for that matter), but I thought this time around I'd join in. I've had a bit of a browse through some of the entries which are in already and there are lots of incredible quilts, well worth a look for lots of inspiration. I can safely say I have no expectation of winning anything! But, as I'm sure I'd say to my little ones, it's the taking part and doing my own thing that counts, rather than just trying (and failing!) to compete with everyone else. 
I decided I'd enter my 'Tree Quilt' into the small quilts category. My original post about this quilt is here.

This is one of my favourite quilts that I've made, and it has lots of different elements that I love - applique, machine embroidery, some paper piecing, using some child friendly 'flaps' and very much piecing it together on the hoof. I also really like the fact that it's a very unique boy's quilt, when I made it I think I'd had a run of doing lots of girly quilts so it was refreshing to create something a bit different.

Another thing I love about it is that it's almost entirely made from recycled fabric. There are 6 old shirts, a pair of trousers, some pajama bottoms, 2 skirts and an old curtain cut up and used in this quilt. The only 'new' fabrics I used are the 'wood grain' pattern that just felt perfect for the binding, and the bright yellow with the brown acorns that I think works brilliantly framing a couple of the pictures and is dotted around in other places too. The backing is made from an old, cotton 'throw' I found in a charity shop.

The wood grain binding and the yellow with brown acorns are the only 2 'new' fabrics.

The quilt was for a 5 year old boy who'd just started school. I didn't have a lot to go on when coming up with an idea, but I knew his Dad was a tree surgeon and I knew the little boy was in a 'Squirrels' class at school. I decided I'd do a tree block for each season, with some squirrels, and it all sort of grew from that.

Here's the Autumn tree:

With a little squirrel in there:

This one is Spring.

I really wasn't sure how best to try and represent blossoms, and when I'd done it I didn't feel it was quite Spring like enough so I added a little bird in a nest with some machine embroidery.

Winter was lots of fun to do, but very time consuming!

I used bleach to create the 'snowflakes' in the background (see here for more details on that) and then machine embroidery on the birch trees.

And then another Winter tree with a little robin, just in machine embroidery:

My Summer tree was paper pieced hexagons:

I added a windy tree:

I decided I couldn't have a Tree Quilt without a Christmassy tree:

And a few other tree related pictures:

Oak leaf and acorn in machine mbroidery

A machine embroidery squirrel

An oak leaf flap...

With acorns hidden behind it - the squirrel must have stashed them there!

And another squirrel hiding
 My last 'block' was a machine embroidered name:

And, as in my original post, I should apologise for the terrible creasing in this photo and several others too! One reason why this quilt wasn't the best to choose to enter, but nevermind. I finished this quilt at the very last minute (something that does tend to happen quite often with me!) and had to rush out to photograph it in daylight before washing, drying and ironing it, then handing it straight over, literally just in time.

When you have a moment, do head over to see all the amazing entries.

Friday, 16 May 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment. Maria and I have just had a lovely afternoon on the beach, and I'm afraid I haven't managed to get it down to one photo. Hurray for sunshine!

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Mini Patchwork Picture

Just a quick post - slightly late! I saw on Facebook this morning that Just Mosaics is holding a Facebook Art Sale to raise money in memory of Stephen Sutton, the inspirational teenager who sadly passed away earlier this week. Donations to his Just Giving page have now raised over £4 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

There are lots of lovely pieces of art in the sale, which is happening tomorrow (Friday) at 8pm, if you're interested. I decided to make a mini patchwork picture to donate too.

It's quite small - 29cm by 22cm

If you have a moment, go and take a look at all the lovely pieces for sale. Linking up with TGIFF and Needle and Thread today.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Wool patchwork baby blanket

I really should have been finishing up one of my existing WIPs, or possibly starting a quilt for Maria's birthday which is approaching alarmingly quickly, but instead I've been playing with wool the last couple of days.

When I tidied up my fabric recently, I was matching up colours as I went along, thinking about future quilts to make. And this little bundle of wool was part of that.

The patterned piece is a scarf, there are a couple of jumpers and a couple of blankets.

I decided to just put together some different, simple blocks and work it out as I went along.

I was recently trying to help a friend work out a design for a quilt with a particular number of fat quarters, and it was a bit of an eye opener how precise and planned it had to be in order to make sure she didn't run out of fabric. I find it's so much easier to be free and improvise when working with recycled fabric rather than uniformly sized fat quarters.

Once I had my blocks, it was quite straightforward to add strips here and there to get them into 3 rows:

And then sew them together:

This one is not very big; baby blanket size, just right for one of my little helpers to hold it up for me!.

The scarf no longer looks at all like a scarf. I really love the colors in it, and the wools are all beautifully soft.

And I think I've got the perfect, old curtain to chop up for the back!

I'm linking up with WIP WednesdayLets Bee Social, Needle and Thread and Freemotion by the River today. Lots of lovely quilts to go and browse through. See you tomorrow,