Sunday, 18 November 2012

Cards & presents

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by to visit today, do you find the days seem to be getting shorter in hours as well as daylight as we rush through November?! There are a thousand and one things that need attention before December 25 so I have started making lists & trying to prioritise in an effort to Be Organised & Keep Calm! As with every year I know there will be things I had hoped to do that I won't fit in but they will keep for another year. Some of the requests from young folks will be fine for their birthdays in January if I don't finish in time for Christmas (it is NOT family planning to have all three offspring born in January!) and overall they are very understanding about their mother's "getting to it" list - as witnessed by my daughter waited patiently for 18months for the quilt in my last post!
Some things are not negotiable however, so I have been busy getting organised for some of these events. Today I can share two cards I made for friends with birthdays last week...

  ...next week I will be able to share a couple more cards & a present with you. I did make one other birthday card for this month but forgot to photograph it before I mailed it - DOH! 
I also finished two Christmas presents this week which I think I am safe to share with you. I have been thinking about these particular ones since July when I made the Applique Owl Peg Bag. Two of my nieces are lucky enough to have ponies so when I saw this pony fabric I thought it would be perfect for making something for the younger one. After practising my applique skills on the peg bag I decided to make the girls pony cushions with their names on for their bedrooms.Again I'm having a few issues capturing the colors accurately, so please bear with me, the background color is a deep chocolatey brown & the letters are lilac...

 I found some suitable fabric on ebay for the cushion for my older niece & when the fat quarters arrived I tucked them away. In October I played around with different fonts & cut the required letters out on computer paper using my Pazzle. The other day I decided it was about time to get organised & make the cushions up before I lost the paper letters! I used some fleece fabric from my stash to make a simple envelope style back for the cushions so that they are snuggly but easily washable. I chose lilac to match the letters on the first cushion & navy blue to match the background on the second cushion.
I found some fusible web in a craft shop locally to back the letters with which made things a lot easier than when I made the peg bag. It also meant I could use a looser zigzag stitch around the edge of the letters as the web should prevent them fraying too badly. Due to the larger letters I found this one easier to sew neatly!
Partly because of the random nature of the background fabric & partly because she has so many letters in her name I decided to place the letters in a more jumbly way on this one... 
The cream thread helps to punch the letters out & stops them getting lost on the background.
In other news I have been working my way through previous posts putting the pictures back on. I'm sorry if you have visited posts and tutorials to find them devoid of photos, I hope to have this fixed soon...
Thank you for visiting today, I hope to be back soon with some more goodies to share with you! Wishing you all a lovely week ahead!




Friday, 9 November 2012

A Big Taa-dah!!!

Hello there! Thank you for dropping by today I hope your week went well? In this part of the world we have noticeably shifted into colder, darker days now so I was really pleased to finally finish the Winnie the Pooh quilt for my daughter this week! ***HAPPY DANCE***
As mentioned here this is a project that has been around for Far Too Long so I was really happy to be able to take something off that list :) Also it is the first actual bed sized quilt I have completed so that makes me smile too :) It's been quite a journey & I've learnt a lot along the way, the kind of things that you discover when you go from reading the theory of how to do something to actually doing it!! At times I wondered why on earth I had started this, how on earth I was ever going to finish it, but now it is done I would will definitely make another at some point! I am slightly amazed to hear myself say that, but now the journey of this quilt is over the idea of doing it again doesn't seem nearly so daunting. 
I gained a LOT of inspiration from Kristen's quilt post here so I owe her a HUGE thank you for that & for all her encouragement :) I was able to borrow the Jane Brocket book she mentions from our local library & this showed me a different perspective on the actual quilting that I had never considered before - namely big & bold could be beautiful too! Instead of trying to cover it in tiny, even quilting stitches that were hard to see with the naked eye & would take me forever to complete I was allowed to make bigger stitches that were meant to be seen! After all if Jane & Kristen said it was ok then that was good enough for me!! This took the task of quilting it from a "sitting in silence concentrating on not messing it up" job to "sitting in front of the TV and r e l a x" time. Oh yes, there are things about it that are less than perfect, but my daughter loves it just the way it is so I am content with that.
Before I washed it I hung it out over the line in the back garden & took a few photos (proof - just in case it all fell apart in the washing machine!). At this stage it was a bit more rumpled than Kristen's as she completed hers in one day whereas I pulled mine out & worked on it, stuffed it back in the bag, then pulled it out again for a few more hours etc. over the last seven weeks....
I'm happy to report it survived the washing machine just fine but the rain was back by then so I hung it over the upstairs bannister to dry. A few days later once I was sure it was really truly dry I gave in to the pestering & threw it over my daughter's bed...
This quilt all started with my daughter falling in love with a remnant of Winnie the Pooh fabric in a store in Colorado. I made her a patchwork pillowcase with it for her birthday (which you can see on the bed above). The discussion on what to do with what was left over from this led to tracking down the same fabric on ebay & working out a design that went with the pillowcase. Because she loves the pictures on the fabric I decided to cut the squares a large 6" to keep the pictures in bigger chunks. The top measures seven squares by eleven with a 6" border around the edges. I used a dark chocolate brown cotton for the backing & cut six squares of this for the top as well, one for each corner & two midway down the sides. The binding was cut from this fabric too. I quilted it diagonally across the squares, using masking tape to mark the diagonal lines up to the border.
I traced round a cookie cutter heart in the six dark brown squares & quilted over the lines but wasn't too sure what design to pick for the rest of the border. After much deliberation we stuck with the whole Winnie The Pooh theme & chose images of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, & Eeyore's heads online which Hubbie printed out, & I cut out & stitched round.... 

The two plain fabric colors in this are hard to capture accurately with the camera as they change so much under different light conditions. All the photos of it on the bed were taken in the natural light of her room just after lunchtime in the space of four minutes! The sun was ducking in & out behind the clouds but I managed to catch it lighting up the bottom of the bed...
It looks just as old, soft, & rumpled as I had hoped it would, like a favorite much-loved possession from her childhood. I am not worried that as she approaches her eighteenth birthday she will leave this behind her soon, all the teens & twenties around us seem to agree you are never too old for Winnie The Pooh... sweet dreams baby girl xx


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Halloween goodies!

Hello there!
I hope you are enjoying your weekend , this really will be my last Halloween-related post for this year - promise! Firstly I have to share with you the gorgeous felties that my awesomely talented friend Lori sent me for Halloween...
Aren't they cute? I really can't pick a favorite between them, I love them all! I hung them over the edge of the big mirror in the hall which is just opposite the front room door. Every time I pass they make me smile :-) What a brilliant surprise - am I lucky or what?!
 I also want to show you the Halloween stitching I did for us to keep this year. This chart appeared in an issue of Cross Stitch Card Shop magazine last fall & I loved it instantly but didn't have the time to stitch it right then. A couple of months ago I found some royal blue aida on ebay so decided I would squeeze it in this year. Normally I find the guidelines in the magazines on how long a project will take to stitch are pretty accurate, but this one was way off! I have no clue why, they reckoned it would take 10-12 hours but the back stitch alone took me about 5 hours! I do love it though...
 When I began stitiching it I had decided I didn't want to make it into a card but hadn't quite made my mind up as to what I did want to do with it. Then whilst in Inverness recently Hubbie & I discovered a new quilting shop. Eeek! What excitement! It turned out it has been open a year already (!) but it is in a part of the city I don't often go to (I think that is now set to change!). Overall I was pretty restrained but I couldn't resist these two Halloween themed fabrics...
 
They had a lot of funky fat quarters but this bright orange one really made me smile and the purple with the little stars on was pretty much a given for me ;-)
So can you guess what I made my stitching into?
Yes! A cushion!

Unlike our snowflake one it won't sit on the sofa all year round, but I think it can stay there for a little while yet & it will brighten up any grey October days in years to come. Although it took me a lot longer to complete this project than I had envisioned I must admit I am pretty happy with it ;-)
 Well I really must go get back on track with some other projects now (I think I'm going to ask for one of those Time Turners Hermione had in the third Harry Potter for Christmas!). Thank you for stopping by today, I hope to have a big finish to share with you next week (fingers crossed!)....



Thursday, 1 November 2012

Halloween stitching

Hello and Happy Halloween!

This is the pumpkin Hubbie carved for us tonight - rather a cheeky Jack isn't he? He kept us company in the front room tonight while the young folk went out to the school Halloween disco.
We also had these lit...
I found them in a local garden center the other week, they are supposedly Christmas decorations but I must be missing the link between owls & Christmas! Anyway I absolutely LOVE them & they will be year round tealight holders for me. I chose two different colorways, one in red & two in a very orangey gold which you can see a bit better in the next photo...
So on to the stitching...
Don't you just love it when you see a chart that you know is just perfect for a certain person? When I saw this little fairy in one of the cross stitch magazines I thought she would make the perfect Halloween card for my friend Lori. (If you don't know her she makes the most exquisite things - do go visit her blog here or see her facebook page Hippywitch Crafts) 
I had great fun stitching her & then turning her into a card, but an absolute nightmare photographing her! The colors just did not want to stay true & to capture the metallic glint of the bronze heat embossed words other parts look washed out - arrgghh! Well anyways you get the idea...
Then late one night I found another irresistable design that was crying out to be made into the accompanying present. It used a mug with a stitchable insert identical to one I have had in my stash for quite a while just waiting for that perfect chart. The insert is a vinyl aida material which I had never stitched on before, I would imagine it behaves pretty much like plastic canvas but I haven't gotten around to trying that yet either! I used shorter lengths of the metallic purple thread than I would usually to minimise the wear on it as I pulled it through the hard vinyl but otherwise it was little different to stiff aida. I added a black bead for the spiders' body and the red & orangey beads for the flames, it's a bit crinkly looking here because I couldn't iron it as normal when I was finished...

 Here it is mounted in the mug all ready to jump in a box & fly down south...
The other Halloween card I made this year was for my friend Cathy. The design is called "Home Sweet Pumpkin" and you can find it here. I stitched it on a different count aida than suggested because I liked this dark blue that I had in my stash better than the fabric they had used. This meant that it came out the wrong size to use the same charms that were listed so I picked two little silver pumpkin charms from my stash instead... 
I have been stitching a Halloween design for us to keep but with one thing and another I only worked the last backstitches tonight! It will need to wait for my next post... 
I hope you all had a lovely Halloween! Watch out - here comes November!