Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Postal Quilting Bee

Today I received an interesting email from a student at Bath University, she is hoping to set up a quilting bee by post with the hopes of making a quilt from the blocks she receives, feeling that I don't want to join in on this I have said that I would put her details on here, I can't find any details on her blog about it, so this is an extract from her email..
I am writing to you as i have just finished my dissertation titled Does Quilting Still Have Value in the 21 Century and if So Why? Which i concluded YES of course it does :D During my research i looked a lot into quilting bees, groups and guilds, also i looked into postal quilting bees. Now, i have finished and i can go back to my practical work for my Textiles degree at Bath Spa University. I really really would like to make a quilt as the result of a postal bee! This means i need your help! I would like to know who would be interested in this idea and if i have enough interest then i will be able to start organising it. I was thinking about using a tumbling rhomboid or cube motif. Essentially my aim is to get as many people involved to make a motif (or as many as you like!) and then post them to me, where i will then sew them all together and make a postal bee quilt.
If you want to see her work go to (here) You can then contact her direct if you choose to join in.

For my own part this is what I have been making this week, I wanted to make an I Spy quilt for a new baby in the street and started last Wednesday (as soon as I knew it was a little boy) with this selection of  5 1/2" squares.
I sewed them all together, trying (and not succeeding) to get the Red, Blue and black/dark squares evenly spaced, after much confusion it began to take shape, here they are all sewn together, as you can see from the light in the window it took some time.
On Thursday I found the backing and binding fabrics and got it all sandwiched together then on Friday I discovered the backing had gone all wrinkled.
After much reverse sewing it was a case of ironing everything and starting again...but once that was done I was able to quilt it, I chose to do simple straight lines running half way through all the squares.
Then the binding was cut, joined together and pinned,
before stitching it on, here you can see my trusty Elna at work!!! and Joy of joys all the corners worked out beautifully. Now all I have to do it sew the binding down on the back which I am off to do now while sitting in the conservatory in the bright warm sun as the 'view from the window' is to nice to ignore.
See you all soon with the finished quilt.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Busy! Busy! Busy

What a busy time I have been having of late, Wedding Anniversary, workshops booked, plus a swimming session with Little H, but sewing needed to be been high on the agenda. The 15th was our 37th Anniversary,  no problem there as DH rarely remembers so I planned a whole day of sewing, followed by a committee meeting of SVQ here, or so I thought! Over breakfast I was presented with a card, very pretty lovely verse etc, big hug and thanks all round, then jokingly I ask what time the bouquet would arrive Oh! in about 10 minutes came the reply, a short while later DH goes off to the garden and comes back with said bouquet (he had it hidden in the caravan) well! it was a bunch of Chrysanthemums actually but who cares, as he hands them over he casually says he wants to take me out to lunch as well, now this was a big huge mega surprise and I'm thinking I don't have time for this! :-0 (remember a day of sewing was high on my agenda) so I gently suggest that as I am working all day tomorrow perhaps we could go out for our tea when I get home. He looks crestfallen and says in a little voice (and I quote) 'but our anniversary is today and I did remember!' OK says I, we can fit this in, so after a quick shower and little bit of sewing we go off for our lunch to a nice  pub and enjoy some lovely food (& PUDS). On my return feeling a little guilty about leaving DH on his own downstairs after all his efforts I again retreat to the workroom to sew. 
From left Anniversary Bouquet & Mothers day flowers from DS & DD respectively
On 16th I was taking a Hand sewn Victorian crazy workshop with a WI group, my plan was they would make the patchwork during the morning session, then make a start on the embroidery after lunch. The day started early as they needed to to fit in around school runs for some of the students, meaning I loaded the car and left home at 8.15am. by 9.15 we were set up and ready to go. There was quite a bit of chatting among the 'girls' (the youngest was 14) throughout the morning as they sewed,  it was all nice and calm (apart from the chatter!) we broke for a quick lunch but after some were still working on the patchwork. They all seemed to be enjoying it, when suddenly out of the blue someone asked if we could do it again! (So much for retirement but Hey who cares?) so I am booked to go back in April, to get the embroidery done.
17th was CTQ and DD rang to ask if she could call in and see me there to drop off her gift for Sunday, of course not much sewing got done once she arrived, but I did get some 5 1/2" squares cut to start a play mat for a new baby who arrived earlier in the week (more on that later) Little H was on her best behavior and had all the girls cooing at her, to which she responded with big gummy smiles. My Mothers day card was super, especially made and contained a photo of said GD in her new activity centre.
Monday 19th was my turn to treat my Mum, so I took her off to the pub for lunch (same pub, same 'delish' food and puds!!) On 20th I was going with DD to take little H for her 1st swimming session while DH looked after the boys. All went well with little one splashing away, kicking her legs like she had been doing this all her life but she seemed to be thinking that while it was all good fun and very interesting it was a VERY Big bath LOL.
The next few days were quiet, and the view from my window was of warm sun so off into the garden goes I cup of tea in hand, I sit on the garden bench in the sun thinking about what I needed to do this week and then the thought occurred that this really is my little piece of heaven, (my sewing room is upstairs on the left)
Home sweet Home
Look at those colours
Our Pond
Today I was teaching a workshop at the Girl Guide County Training day, I have not done this before so it was a very interesting exercise. It was held in an area of Bristol which I am not familiar with so, I put my trust in the Sat Nav and set off. Having arrived safely I was directed to where I was teaching a Funky Chicken workshop, we all had a good time and some very interesting chickens made their debut...here are some of the ladies at work and the results of 2 hours stitching.

In an earlier post I showed you some chickens I made earlier and the fabrics for my a Crazy Chicken, which I decided to make as a sample for today and for next Wednesday when I am doing this workshop at SVQ, so here she is my version of a Rhode Island Red,
Left side

I had great fun making her although DH says with that tail it must be a cockerel. I am going to Challenge the ladies at quilters to bring their completed chickens to the April meeting for show and tell and I will give a little prize to the one which get the most votes. I took all 5 of mine to WPQ for Show and tell last week and having shown them to a friend at my Slimming group whom I get my eggs from, I had offers to sell two of them! Well I better sign off or this could become a short story instead of a post!
See you all soon, bye for now

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Spring has sprung (part 2)

Well another day dawns bright and sunny though we did have rain overnight as forecast. DH has just brought me a cuppa to enjoy while I sew and mentioned there were frogs spawning in the pond... this I have never been lucky enough to see, so off I went pond-side with camera in hand, and there they were. This is the picture I took and if you look closely you can just see the greeny-brown colours of Mrs Frog just under the eggs. 

There was another frog was at the bottom of the pond which the camera did not capture. I always get sooo excited when I see frog spawn, it takes me right back to being 4 or 5 years old with Mum taking me to a local pond to gather some to take home, then I would watch eagerly for the Tadpoles to hatch, when they were few days old, off we would go again to put them back in their pond. Last year we lost a lot of our frogs, we kept finding then dead in the garden. They had no apparent injuries so I think they must have contracted the same disease that was killing off the wild frog population, hopefully this year they will be OK!
I guess I spoke too soon! I just looked at 'the view from the window' and its 'throwing it down', Good old British weather never fails to amaze me, still it all bodes well for filling up the water butts, and the water from the two roofs you can see here goes into the pond through a system of underground 'drain pipes' buried under one of the flower beds.

I started on the crazy panels for the chicken last night, this is as far as I got, before going to Church, I'm hoping to get them (and maybe the embroidery) finished today so it's watch this space.

I like to use the 'crazy' log cabin technique and I'm trying to make them as near to identical as I can, but as we all know Crazy work very often dictates to the maker how it will look. I've spent the afternoon sewing and got the panels completed and I've made some  features to add at the sewing up stage.This is where I am now.

The panel with all the pieces sewn on always looks a mess at this stage! But once it's trimmed it'll improve.....
Here it is trimmed up, I always stitch around the edges on the machine set on the biggest stitch, this holds all the sides firmly and stops them getting in the way while I'm embroidering and embellishing.
and these are the features beak, tail, wattle, comb etc, I may not use them all or, I may make some different ones I haven't quite decided yet! So as the sun is out I'm off to the conservatory to start the embroidery.
P.S. By the way if you're out there reading this D I hope you and yours are all OK, I'm glad to know you're keeping an eye on me!! LOL.

Friday, 2 March 2012

What a difference a month makes!

Hi all,
Spring has finally sprung here at Monkey Business HQ, this was the scene from my workroom window one month ago today!
Feb 2nd 2012
And now it looks like this (sorry about the laundry!!!)
March 2nd 2012
it was soo pretty and the sun was sooo warm today, has been for most of this week actually :-))) I went outside and took some pictures of the spring flowers which will be a great reminder next winter when I look back.
mini Daffodils
Snowdrops & Crocus
Crocus are so pretty up close

Even the fish are out to play.
DD was here all day on Wednesday so we took the boys and Little H out for a long walk around the village, it was lovely, we planned to go up through the local Bridle Path but it was too muddy and steep for the buggy so DD went that way and I stayed on the road arranging to meet at the top where the path rejoins the road. It was very enjoyable as it was fairly uneventful dog wise and DD only had to hide behind three different cars while other dogs went past out of sight from Ted, he's either losing some of his eyesight or he is getting better as he only barked once, which for him is a miracle. Baby H managed to fall asleep just as we turned back into our street which was NOT what we planned but she managed to stay asleep in the garden for another hour or so then woke up full of beans.
She's thinking Oh no! she's got the camera again!

 Now I said I wouldn't but I have, I've decided to make another chicken this time in Crazy Patchwork I made an Elephant some time ago from a kit I bought from a company who were at Malvern called Rag Bags. They  collect and package recycled fabrics for Quilters, so this is Melanie the elephant of whom I am very fond
Right Side
Left side
 She is of course an Indian Elephant and she deserves an outing as she lives in the Cupboard :-( Anyway back to the chicken, these are the fabrics I have selected,
Yes I know the colours are the same but these are colours I like A LOT! Anyway she can pretend she's a Rhode Island Red which of course as you all know is a breed of chicken! LOL. She will be about 6"-7" square when completed and I'll keep you up to date on my progress.
Well I'd  better go and do some more sewing plus I'm taking Mum to the Women's World Day of Prayer service at Church tonight.