Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Start and A Finish - and a Finish

Last year Dave-next-door asked if I would make a case to protect his new laptop and he was very pleased with what I knocked together.  So much so that when Patti-next-door had a new laptop recently, they asked me if I would make one for her too.

It's the same 'folder' style with the flap secured with velcro, but I used a slightly different technique for this one.

Rather than put a sandwich together, sew the edges (right sides together) and turn inside out; I put a fold in the sandwich to the size of the laptop, then I put the binding round the edges of the case shape as if I was edging a quilt.  I was very pleased with this, and Patti was delighted too.

And - on schedule, ready for her visit next weekend - I have finished the binding and label for the baby mat for Granny Helen to give to baby Thomas Lester.

Pictures of the end result, therefore, next weekend, but for now, a tiny peek of the label...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Not much to see here - I'm working on the binding for Granny Helen's baby mat still.  Nearly finished, though, so just a label to sew and attach.

I can show you what I bought when I went shopping at the weekend.

I had a Cotton Patch gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket, and without a specific project in mind, I planned to look at charm packs, or fat quarters which would fit in with some of my existing fabrics.

I found this pack of twenty 10" squares in yellow/green which I think will be perfect.

I also bought some thread to quilt the Festive Mystery - a variegated cream (at Sue's excellent suggestion) for the back, and a zinging metallic Christmas red/green/gold for the front, which I fell in love with.  It will either be utterly perfect, or an absolute disaster and FAR TOO MUCH.

I look forward to seeing which it will be!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pieced Back

You know, I'm not 100% happy with the William Morris style print fabric that I'm going with for the backing of the Festive Mystery quilt.  It's got too many orangy/tan bits in to fit in with the gold/green/red Christmassy theme of the top.

But life is a compromise, and although what I have is not ideal, it doesn't actually jar - and it's what's there at the time.

So.  I've put the squares into strips, ready & pressed, I've just got to join them all together then get sandwiching.

I'm looking forward to a trip out at the weekend in search of variegated quilting thread.  I have a birthday token kindly sent from big sister Helen to spend at the Cotton Patch on the other side of the city burning a hole in my pocket, and maybe I could treat myself to a little something as well as the thread...

I have to think about the thread - I've fallen into the trap of a beautiful but overly dominant thread before, so I might have to shelve the idea of a lovely Christmassy red/green, but I'm sure the right one will jump out at me.

Well, fairly sure - those with long memories will recall that it took three goes to get it right for last year's Scatty Stars quiltalong, but there you go....

Festive Mystery - Backing

I made my decision on the backing fabric for the Festive Mystery.  It was between a William Morris style dark print, and white, and - despite overwhelming opinion (thank you all) to the contrary - I decided on the white.  The dark was just too gloomy to compliment the bright Christmas design.

Then I laid out the fabric, and realised that I hadn't quite enough. Bum.

However, I'm in good company, QuiltSue didn't have quite enough backing for her quilt either, and what did she do?  She banged on about not being able to do a pieced backing made a wonderful job of piecing a backing, cleverly incorporating the fabrics from the front design. Utterly brilliant!

Being in such good company cheered me up no end, and I had a lightbulb moment - I thought I'd use half-and-half white and patterned fabrics in a checkerboard design.

I did some sums and now have a whole heap of 8¾" squares ready to press & piece.

Thank you, Sue, wouldn't have thought of it without you!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Christmas Quiltalong - November pt2

My trip around all five of the town's charity shops yielded nothing in the way of inspirational backing fabric for me to use for QuiltSue's a Festive Mystery quilt, so I am stuck with what I've got if I want to press on with this one.

Domino helped audition the pieces of fabric and we've decided that it will either be a darker William Morris style print, or a plain white.  I'm erring towards the white.  The colour balance on these photos is really poor, but you get the gist.

I also need to decide on what to use as quilting thread.  There is only one local shop which sells thread - and even there, there is very little choice.  Hmm.

Whilst I'm sorting that little connundrum out, I think I'll go and do some more on the binding for Granny Helen's baby mat.

Christmas Quiltalong - Nov pt1

Are we all in a Christmassy mood?  I do hope so, because today is the penultimate Christmas Quiltalong with our host QuiltSue at the helm.  Get yourself something festive to work on for the day, sign up to Mr Linky and start humming those Christmas tunes.

The wrapping paper and cards are all in the shops now and the Christmas adverts are on the TV (despite it not even being remembrance Sunday yet), so it's easy to get into the Christmas spirit.

It's lunchtime here in the UK and I've had a busy morning sewing (hang the housework) and have finished putting together the Festive Mystery Quilt which Sue has kindly devised for us. It looks lovely, and all I have to do is find some suitable backing fabric and I can get sandwiching and decide on how to quilt it.



I bet you've spotted already that I've made a bit of a boob on the border.

Out with Percy Unpicker.  Oh well, the day wouldn't be complete without seeing him at some point, I suppose!

Friday, 9 November 2012

It's the Second Saturday tomorrow...

... and that means it is the Christmas Quiltalong day - hurrah!

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I'll be finishing attaching borders on the Festive Mystery Quilt - it has a home to go to now, so I need to get a move on to finish it.

Then I'm about half way through hand sewing the binding on to Granny Helen's baby mat, so that's taking shape. Have a little peek...

And as QuiltSue is hosting, so we are in for a really great party!  Whoop, whoop!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

I'm Back!

Thank you for all for sharing your special Christmas decoration tales which we talked about when I hosted the Christmas Quiltalong in September (if you can remember that far back!).

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them all.  QuiltSue has the most 'lateral thinking' favourite Christmas decoration, being Christmas trees in all shapes and sizes; Mrs P has the most poignant tale, and Lynn's cat-stocking tale is the most unexpected by a country mile - you can see them all in the comments here.

It hasn't actually taken me six weeks to read them, but I have been comatose in the sunshine on my jolly hols, and since getting back, life's been a bit of a whirl.  I'm sorry that I missed Elizabeth's hosting last month - you all look to have had a fabulous time, and next Saturday I'll be trying to catch up making progress on my quilt. 

Actually, I have done some sewing, but as it's for the baby mat for big sister (now Granny) Helen to give to her new brand new step-grandson, you don't get to see it yet.  Just a tiny peek.

I have nearly finished it - just the binding to hand sew & the label...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Do Chip In...

Following the excitement of the Christmas Quiltalong last weekend, I have cleared up all the party poppers and biscuit crumbs, put all my fancy dress outfits back in the wardrobe and have made a little progress on big sister Helen's son & daughter-in-law's baby mat.

I will show you a tiny peek.  I still need to attach a border, then it's a quiltin' we will go.

Oh - talking about the Christmas Quiltalong, I still want to hear about your oldest or most treasured Christmas decoration - I'll keep it open till the weekend then sort out someone for a small giveaway.  You don't have to have been quilting along with us - even if you've just been peeping in, I'd love to hear from you!

It might take my mind off Lynn's rather odd cat-stocking tale...

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Christmas Quiltalong, September - pt 5 - goodnight!

Right then, girls, that's your lot from me - I have cats to gather and chivvy up to bed.  In fact, I have one right here trying to type with me, so please excuse any glitches that get through.

I have had such a fun day today!  I might admit to not having done as much sewing as I should have, but hey - I have cookies to eat, and tomorrow is another great day for quilting!

Thank you so much to you all for joining in my fancy dress party!  And do let me have your Christmas decoration stories, I'm so enjoying reading them!  I'll tell you about mine tomorrow too.

And I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite seasonal songs....

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Christmas Quiltalong, September - pt4

I know what I meant to ask you all, but in between clearing up all that sticky honey in the kitchen and prancing about in my cossie, it totally slipped my mind.

I wanted to hear all about your oldest Christmas decoration and the story behind it - or your most treasured, if you wish.

I might be able to rustle up a little something for the best tale.

(note: best tale does not necessarily mean one most likely to tug the heartstrings - funny/interesting carries as much weight as tales of orphan matchgirls or deathbed aged great-grandparents).

Right - I'm off to attach borders.

Melomakarona - Honey Cookies

Ok - so who's hungry?  Time for some Christmas Cookies?  Yes? Thought so!

So, here's the tale: Mrs P sometimes has these great international cookery nights with her family where a letter is pulled out the hat and they have a meal based on a country beginning with that letter - what a hoot!

I like cooking and recently took an international cookery course at our local adult education centre.  When the course ended, I wanted to do more, so every Wednesday evening I have my very own international cookery night, taking one country at a time and putting a few typical dishes together.  It was 'G is for ... Greece' this week, and one of the dishes I cooked was 'melomakarona' or honey cookies with nuts.

They are typically eaten at Christmas in Greek homes, so that makes them pretty spot on for our quiltalong day!

Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, ground coarsely
  • Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

  • Ingredients for the syrup:
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 1-2-inch piece lemon rind
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  • Combine the orange zest with the sugar - use your fingers to rub and combine to release the orange oils into the sugar. Add to the oils in a large bowl and beat.  Add the orange juice & brandy and mix well.

    Gradually incorporate the flour, sifted with baking powder & soda
    Pinch walnut sized pieces off the resultant dough and roll into ovals (like a small egg) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork then bake at 350F  for 25-30 mins ill lightly browned.

    meanwhile, make the syrup but simmering the ingredients in a small pan for 10-15mins.  Remove cinnamon stick, clove and lemon rind and pour the syrup into a shallow bowl or dish.

    When the cookies come out of the oven and while still very warm, float them in the syrup and allow them to absorb syrup on both sides.  Fish the cookies out with a fork or spatula, place on a platter & sprinkle with ground nuts & sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

    Store in airtight container (not in the fridge).

    Make these!  They are lovely!

    Christmas Quiltalong, September - pt2

    How are you getting on, girls?

    I've more or less finished getting ready for the party - the washing is out, the house is clean (or more so than it was at any rate).  I'm coming to this Christmas quiltalong party as a BEACH BABE because the sun is shining!

    I'm going to have to get some cocktails or some punch on the go, aren't I? Perhaps I shall do that once I've baked some Christmas cookies - I'm on my way to the kitchen now after FINALLY finishing the mystery quilt piecing.

    Then it's on with the borders, and getting it sandwiched.

    Christmas Quiltalong, September - pt1

    Good morning, good morning! And yes, Lesley you are quite right, it is a great day for quilting!

    Here in the middle of England, the sun is shining, the cats have had breakfast, and so have I - and it is time to get jiggy with the Christmas Quiltalong! Whoop whoop!

    We're here on the 8th leg of the 2012 Christmas Quiltalong - can you believe that? - where we have been either piecing a Mystery Quilt - courtesy of QuiltSue - or any other Christmas related stitchery - the plan being to not have a massive 'AGGGHHHHHHH' moment at the beginning of December when we realise that all those good intentions of a delightfully quaint home made Christmas are disappearing faster than a glass of sherry in Mother's Union meeting.

    So have we got a busy day ahead? Oh yes, I think so! I want to hear the sound of happy fabric being pieced, and sewn, and pressed and sandwiched, and quilted and bound - phew!  And let's see if we can have a whole heap of fun on the way!

    First up, however, are our thanks to Sue for making the Quiltalong happen this year with her Festive Mystery Quilt, and to everyone who has played along so far this year -
    I kicked things off in February (yeah, yeah,, I'm back again - what of it??);
    then we had so much fun with Joanna, dancing the night away in the March installment;
    with Lesley's pajama party in April;
    Sharon's wonderful angel tree decorations in May;
    Paulette's fabulous Nanaimo bar recipe in June;
    Lynn's pretty mittens pattern given away in July;
    Cathi's wool extravaganza and Christmas chocolate nibbles last month.

    So that is more than enough to get you in the party mood!

    Right, it's about time I got this place ship-shape - so if you could get signed up below to Mr Linky, and perhaps let us know what you'll be working, and what fancy dress you are wearing to the party...

    Friday, 7 September 2012

    Christmas Quiltalong Eve

    I really wasn't sure what sort of party to have tomorrow for the Christmas Quiltalong.

    Lesley has already had a pyjama party when she hosted...

    I know that I'll be cooking...

    And there'll be some entertainment...

    But I didn't want it to be too formal...

    Or too posh...

    But not too casual...

    So it's fancy dress - what will you come as?

    Party Alert!

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    This is turning out to be an exciting week!

    First of all I received a brilliant package all the way from Canada - I was lucky enough to win a package of goodies in Mrs Pickles prize draw.  Thank you, Hayley - those fabrics are wonderful, the chocolate has all been gobbled up, the seeds will be sown in the Spring in my allotment.

    Next up, it is the second Saturday of the month this weekend, and that can only mean one thing - it is the Christmas Quiltalong! Hurrah!  Now the hostess for this month was going to be Maureen, but following a health scare, she should be convalescing and not having a great big Christmas party going on - so it's all over to my place instead.

    There'll be sewing (of course), and maybe some baking, and perhaps a quiz, and some music - all you need to do is come back here when you can on Saturday with your Mystery Quilt (unless you are clever-clogs who has already finished it) - instructions for all parts are at Lesley's blog - or another Christmas project to work on, perhaps, and be prepared to have a bit of a giggle.

    Actually, I might make the dress code fancy dress, so be thinking on what you want to come to the party as!

    And I might show you just a tiny bit more of the baby mat I'm making for big sister Helen .... but only if you promise not to tell!

    Saturday, 25 August 2012

    Decision on Festive Mystery Quilt, and Mmmmf mmm mmf

    Right - festive mystery quilt - layout 2.  This one.

    I think.

    Quick!  I could change my mind at any moment, so I must get on with piecing the blocks!

    Meanwhile, I  may not have shown the progress of the baby mat for L & F, but I have not been idle - it is taking shape, but given that this is a present for big sister Helen to give to her step-children, I'll not give the game away.

    Shame really, as I could have done a bit of expert input on a couple of things - but never fear!

    Quilt design is an inexact science, so I had a layout envisaged, but as I started to piece, I saw that what I had done was not What I Had In My Head at all, so made changes to the layout as I suit.

    Perhaps the quilt has been telling me what it wants to be!

    Tuesday, 21 August 2012

    Mystery Quilt Layout and A Mystery!

    Ok, I've looked at all my different layouts of the Christmas Quiltalong.

    It's definitely one of these.

    I think....

    ...and this is all I'm showing you of the baby mat that I'm making for big sister Helen to give to L & F for their baby, due later in the year.

    Monday, 13 August 2012

    Christmas Quiltalong - Aug Pt2

    You know that everyone has been showing their Festive Mystery Quilt layouts, and how they have put together some smashing quilt tops?  And you know that although I'm a bit behind in getting the blocks sewn together, but that's OK as I have definitely decided on the final layout?

    Well I have now taken a step backwards. You see, big sister Helen has been up for the weekend and I showed her the blocks, laying them out on the floor, per decided design.  

    Well, before you can say 'Festive Mystery Quilt' she said, 'I wonder what it would look like if that block goes there, and that one goes that way round...hmmm...well, what if you used the border blocks as sashing instead like that...'

    Ooooh...! There's a thought...!

    So now I am not definitely decided on the final layout.

    In other news, as they say, I have re-embroidered the labels for the baby mats, and delivered them safely to their new home at lunchtime.

    And just when you thought you'd seen the last of them, big sister Helen has asked if I wouldn't mind putting another one together as her birthday present - she would like to give it as a present for her step-daughter who is expecting in the Autumn. 


    Saturday, 11 August 2012

    Christmas Quiltalong - Aug pt1

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    Goodness me, where does the time go? It's Christmas Quiltalong Saturday, and we're all off to South Caroline to Cathi's at Shakerwood Quilts!!

    I suspect that today I am going to be distracted from piecing the blocks for the Mystery Quilt - Big Sister Helen is up for the weekend, and it is a busy weekend for my other hobby.

    But that will not stop me from getting at least the labels re-sewn for the baby mats such that the date is right, along with the mother's name - d'oh!  C is now home from hospital with two little bundles of joy, and I plan to pop over to see them early next week, so I can't muck about!

    Right - off to run around the world and see what you're all up to...

    Tuesday, 7 August 2012

    Good News! And .....oops!

    The really lovely good news is that the baby twin boys were born yesterday, and everyone is well. Ahhh!

    The less good news as far as the baby mats are concerned is twofold.

    Firstly, the babies have been born in August, and the mat labels say July.

    Secondly - and rather more catastrophically - it turns out that my neighbours are not L & A, but C & A and I have been calling the poor woman by a name similar to - but categorically not - hers.

    Looks like I have some re-embroidery to get on with - but on the plus side, at least I found out now, and not  in a few days whilst sitting in their lounge cooing at their babies handing over the mats....how embarrassing would that be!

    Sunday, 29 July 2012

    Baby Mats - Finished

    Here we go, then - the babies are due at the end of the month, and here we are with the mats all finished and ready!

    Saturday, 28 July 2012

    Thank You!

    I've been keeping a special eye out for the post recently - you know how it's mostly bills and flyers - well I have been on the lookout for a very special parcel which has had to travel over 4,500 miles to get to me.  Wow!

    And this week it arrived!

    I was the very lucky give away winner when Paulette at Sweet P Quilting and Creations was hosting the June installment of the Christmas Quiltalong, and won this beautiful Primitive Gatherings charm pack.

    Wasn't that generous?  The prints are so cute - very Chistmassy in an understated way.  I've even found a lovely design that they will work will in, so THANK YOU so much Paulette!

    We had a fabulous time with you in June, and this was the absolute icing on the cake!

    Sunday, 15 July 2012

    Christmas Quiltalong July - Pt2

    Ok - so I have had some technical problems here, which has been VERY IRRITATING INDEED.

    After I'd got all the routine stuff out the way yesterday morning, I spent a happy hour or so laying the blocks of QuiltSue's Festive Mystery Quilt out various different designs and taking pics of each on my camera, which I then wanted to put on the screen so I could compare and see which I wanted to go with.

    But there was a problem taking the pics from the camera onto the computer which I couldn't seem to solve whatever I did.  I gave up before I chucked the damn computer through the damn window and stamped off to do other stuff.  What a day for a technical glitch - I could see you all having fun with Lynn (on the phone screen), baking and making and having a lovely time but couldn't join in.  Boo boo boo!

    I was so cross that I didn't even look at the computer until late afternoon today (actually, the weather was so good for once that I was quite busy doing other stuff) but magically the glitch seems to have resolved itself, and I can make my final layout choice.

    Not that I've had time to actually do much sewing, but I'm confident it will fly together now the difficult decision making is done!

    I think that I'd better put a few blocks together to set in concrete my design choice before scrutinising properly how you all got on yesterday - from what I've seen so far, I just know I'll see other ways to lay the blocks out which I'll love too, and I've had quite enough dithering and inaction for one weekend! 

    Saturday, 14 July 2012

    Christmas Quiltalong Jul - pt1

    How can it be July already?  But it is, and it is the Christmas Quiltalong today! So it's out with the Christmas music to get us in the mood, and over to the west coast of America to see Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks Quilting.

    I have decisions to make about the layout of my Festive Mystery Quilt - maybe this one - although I am not above pinching one of the other girls' designs brilliant designs, let me tell you - and then the baby mats to crack on with.

    And lots of other things on the go too, today, so I'd better get going!

    Frosty the Snowman...

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    ...well it feels cold enough anyway.  But enough of our appallingly unseasonably cool and VERY, VERY RAINY weather here in the UK, because it is the second Saturday of the month tomorrow which means that it is time for the Christmas Quiltalong! Hurrah!

    So, it's all aboard the express to San Francisco where we can party on with flowers in our hair with Lynn!  She is a very talented lady who will give us a rockin' time tomorrow - and there are rumours of a giveaway and a tutorial for some very cute Christmas mittens!

    I'm all of a dither as I will have to FINALLY make my mind up on the layout for my version of the QuiltSue's Festive Mystery Quilt, and then maybe I can beaver on with bindings on the baby mats - time is of the essence!

    Monday, 9 July 2012

    Nearly there!

    Quilting finished, quilts trimmed, stripy binding cut and pieced...

    Saturday, 30 June 2012

    It's a Start

    I'm using the variegated King Tut thread to quilt with that I used for Helen's Quilt, and I'm going with an all over medium stipple.

    I like the look of this, although so much for my big words to mum on the phone this evening, 'I should think that I can get one of them done tonight, if I get cracking.'

    No chance - my shoulders had had enough just doing this.

    ASding - A Personal Recommendation

    It wasn't until lunchtime yesterday that I realised that despite attaching the final borders to both of the baby mats, thus finishing the tops, I had run out of vital supplies needed to get them quilted, which I certainly want to get on with this weekend.

    I made a frantic phone call to ASding, who had my order packed and dispatched in short order and it arrived here this morning by 9.0am. What brilliant service!

    Not only were the stops pulled out to dispatch the same day, the parcel was sent out first class so I would receive it this morning, and I was only charged the standard postage and packing.

    So a huge thank you to Ali for going well beyond the call of duty, and getting me out of a fix!
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