31 May 2012


  • Hair cut                                                             Tick
  • Swaps finished                                                   Tick
  • supplies and equipment packed                         Tick
  • Boarding passes printed                                     Tick
  • Maps printed                                                      Tick
  • Bags packed                                                      Tick
  • Phone numbers logged into Mobie                      Tick
  • Money                                                               Tick
  • Last swim in the pool                                          Tick
  • To do list for husband                                         Tick
  •  Alarm set for ridiculously early hour                    Tick

I think I'm ready!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26 May 2012

FQ London 2012 Link Party

Fat Quarterly

Doesn't time fly?  It was back in the cold dark days of February thatI bought my tickets for the FW Retreat, and here we are, just 7 days away.  So if you've hopped over from the linky on flickr, welcome to my little bloggie world.

I'm English, living in the Cech Republic with my husband (also English), two dogs and two cats.  It's a beautiful part of the world, there's a few posts here and here if you'd like to see a bit more.   I've always been a knitter - mum must taught me when I was young, and I've since taught myself to crochet.


That's me on the right teaching my friends to crochet!

I learnt the basics of sewing at school (thank you Mrs Jeffries) and in my younger days I did a bit of dressmaking, with reasonable success.   Then one day, about 2 years ago,  I came across "Oh Fransson" and the rest, as they say, is history. I'm self taught off the internet and books, and I still don't think I'm a brilliant sewista - I have trouble holding a straight line, and a 1/4 inch seam.   My cutting out is not wonderful .  I  do have numpty moments where I sewing things together back to bront, inside out, upside down.  You know how it is!  And I never get to see other people sewing as all my sewing is done at home alone.    So I'm looking forward to doing a lot of stalking at the Retreat, just watching how real sewists do it. 

Of course I can't wait to meet the friends I have made on the internet.  Are you going to be like I think you are?  And what about all the people I don't really know very well - so many new friendships to look forward to.  I think sewing (and knitting) is something that should be done with a cuppa, and chatting with friends, and I think there'll be a fair bit of that!

And then there's the workshops.  Because I'm not able to take a machine, I tried to choose something where I could hand sew, so I'm doing the English paper Piecing and Freezer Paper pieceing, both techniques I wanted to learn.  Then I'm having a go at Lynnes Union Jack, well just because I've always wanted to do this, and  hopefully I can get to borrow a machine.

I'm a little nervous about being let loose in London on my own - I'm not a big city girl at all.  But I know I'll be OK.  For heavens sake, I'm quite happy to pootle around cities like Berlin and Prague alone, so I should be able to cope in a city where I speak the language.! But there's plenty of other people to keep me in check!

So I'll be off to London on Friday, arriving from Bratislava.  I have my name tag, from Nicole at Follow the white bunny.

 I've got my sample swaps


Just got the supplies to sort out and my bag to pack.   Then I'm off!   CAN'T WAIT!!    See you all soon


25 May 2012

Ready to go

Well, not quite ready to go to London, but at least I've finished my swap samples.   When I signed up I thought this would be easy, but then I saw what other people were doing and all my ideas seemed very ordinary.

I made a jewellry bag along similar lines to the one I have had for the last 10 years or so.  It's so useful and has been everywhere with me.  But I wasn't keen on the one I made - turned out a bit frilly!

So then I made a card holder using this tutorial from verykerryberry.

I was happier with this, but I wanted to make something from my own design.  My thought drifted a little sideways, which they often do, and thought it would be good if I could make something to hold all those moo cards that are going to be flying around at the Retreat.   I like to talk my ideas over with someone, which usually ends up being my husband.  But you know how interested husbands are in sewing.  But he does enjoy working on little projects like this with me, and he always has something useful tucked away in the corner of his workshop (Always referred to as something in stock!).   So after a few scribbles and modifications, between us we came up with this

Which, with a flick of the wrist turns into this

A neat little holder for 9 (9?  Why not 10?  I have no idea) mini moo cards, although you could get 2 or even 3 in each pocket. The little soemthing he had in his stores was the plastic material for the card holder. I didn't like the button on the front and the little half moon cut outs are a bit scrappy, so this one is mine.  The real ones look like this

Tah dah!

You could use them to hold your own cards to hand out, if you have them, or the ones you will inevitably collect on the day!  I just can't make my mind up wether to cut out the half moons or not.  It does make it easier to pop the cards in and out, but I don't want to make a mess of it!  So swap partners, whoever you are, I hope you like them!

On Wednesday, I had more or less the whole day to myself, and made this bag to take with me too.

The wishy washy pale green is actually a very acidy lime green, but I just couldn't catch the colours no matter where I took the photo.   It's the summer Madras tote by Noodlehead, with fabric I bought in IKEA when I popped in last week.  They have some wonderful fabrics there now and a metre of this was just 6.50 Euro.   Bargain!

So I'm off now to get everything together for worshops, swaps etc.   We have visitors then until Tuesday, so I'm not going to get much else done.

Take care!


23 May 2012

At last, a finish

If you remember, I was making a quilt for my nephew's brand new daughter, but it has dragged on a bit - she's 16 next week!  But it's finsihed at last.

I chose to make the Sweet Pea quilt from Camilla Roskelley's book Simplify, mainly because I fancied doing the scalloped bias binding.  Here's the start

Made from the orphan fabrics left over when the Farmers wife copped it, hence the name Pheonix, rising from the ashes.

I had a bit of trouble with the tape when I was trying to baste it.  The tape must be getting a bit old and just would not hold.

The wandering daisy print didn't turn out quite the success I hoped for

It's lovely on the white and yellow, but lost in the middle.  And it turned out to be more of a wonky daisy than wandering!

And here it is blowing in the breeze

The biais binding on the scalloped edges was a bit tricky but I can tick something else off the "learning new things" list

And finally rolled

So today this will hopefully get posted off to Manchester to it's new life.   I'm quite pleased with it - when I started it, I didn't know it was for a girl, but by the time I did the binding I knew, so I picked out more pink colours.  I think the end result is very girly, in fact it's a bit to pretty,pretty for my tastes, but I know it will be appreciated and loved.  And that's all that counts!

And because it's WIP Wednesday, I can tell you that the only other progress that's been made is my sample swaps for the FQ Retreat.  They're almost finished and I'll post the results in a day or two.

All other projects:  No progress other than they moved from the upstairs bedroom back to the dining room, af you call that progress!

So now you can hop over to Lee's WIP to see what the others are up to.


21 May 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side

I thought I would join in with the Bloggers Quilt Festival this year.  It's a first for me - having the confidence to put one of my quilts into a competition.   Not with any expectations of winning, as I've seen the competition, but I hope some of you will have come over to share my favourite quilt.

I've chosen my "Beyond the sea" quilt.  It wasn't my first quilt, it wasn't the most difficult I've done, but it is the only quilt  I've made that I've kept.

It was my first go at picking my own colour pallet and as I didn't have much in the way of a fabric stash at the time,  I ordered random fabrics from the internet in the hope that they matched, and most of them did.   Some of them I have used time and time again, until there's none left

(That little cockeral print - I've no idea what it was and I've got none left now - anyone any idea ?).

I get this quilt outside in the garden at any opportunity.  We had a friend over for supper yesterday and we sat outside in the sun, me on the bench with my quilt and pillows, and a glass of wine.   Doing a bit of hand sewing and chatting.  Absolute heaven!  How did I ever live without a quilt?


I'm not very good at naming quilts.   At the time of making this, I was trying to choose song titles (That didn't actually last very long as it was quite difficult!) and this one reminded me of the seaside, having picnics in amongst the dunes, hence Beyond the Sea.  I even took it to the UK last summer so that we could have a picnic on the beach, but it rained most of the time.  It did come in useful one day though


I had lots of shots of the WIP but only one (not very good one) of the finished quilt.  So I took it out this morning in the wind and got a few more.  I had to wait ages for it to stop blowing, but  got some lovely shots of it in the wind.

That's "Beyond the sea"  -  I think I've snook into the deadline of 21st May by the skin of my teeth, but now everyone else has moved on to the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day.  I just can't keep up!

19 May 2012

Sock Challenge 3 - One down one to go

So to remind you of where we were , I'd turned the heel and was heading off towards the toe.

This was a bit of knitting outside when the sun was nice
The decrease has started to shape the toe - toes almost hidden

Toes nice and cosy now - just got to graft the two rows together

The final sock - quite difficult to get a good photograph of your own foot!

In it's full glory - there's a bit of a loop at the top where I didn't pull it all tight enough when I made the initial circle

The toe - not perfect as I got my front and back mixed up on the first couple of decrease rows.  The graft isn't perfect either.

But a rather well turned heel I think
I bet you didn't know you could take so many pictures of a sock!   I'm bringing it with me to London Helen, so that we can have a critique!!   Off to start number 2 now, which I hope will be better as I learn from my mistakes!

Have a nice weekend

16 May 2012

The Chaos Effect

Firstly I'm pleased to say I've got my name tage for the FQ Retreat.  Yay!  I got a cute little polar bear asleep under his quilt, all the way from Nicole in Holland!

Isn't he lovely?  And what a clever idea to use an embroidery hoop.  I had half a suspicion that this could be for me, as the space for the name was very small!

And she also sent me an extra goodie - a tea towel.

At first I thought it was too nice to use,  but then it would only sit in a draw, and never get seen. So I will use it, but selectively.    Thanks again Nicole.

And so on to the chaos theory.   You know the thing - a butterfly flaps it's wings in Valtice and there's a hurricane in China - or something slightly more complex than that.   But it's happened here.   A casual chat over dinner on Friday has led to chaos.  We're changing the spare spare room from a study/sewing room/bedroom, back to a bedroom. This has meant throwing out years of paperwork, 4 or 5 years worth of back copies of Gardeners World Magazine, cards that I have been saving for years because I like the picture and was going to "do something" with them.   I have also cleared out clothes and shoes I haven't worn for years. I have 3 really good suits left over from the days when I wore suits, which are no more thank goodness.   Then in order to make room for me back in the dining room, together with the remaining accumulated paperwork and books,  I have also tidied out all the drawers and cupboards in the dining room and lounge.  Not to mention what in the garage!  You get the picture.

Today, the tidying got as far as the spice drawer, although how I don't know - the kitchen wasn't included in the move around.   I think I must've got the bug.  But I think you will agree it needed it

So when I was in Tesco this morning I bought these

Those clippy stackable containers - 16 of them.  And here is the after photo

A few more are still needed, and I'll bring the dymo home to label them, but much better.  (The ones stuffed at the back are "spares" - heaven help us if we run out of anything)

As you can see, I've had a thrilling day, the highlight of which is cleaning out a kitchen drawer.  How sad is that? 

I'm going to feed the muts, then do some sewing.  TTFN

13 May 2012

Gardening in May

There hasn't been a gardening post at all this year.  I've just been looking back to this time last year, and I'd written several.  So I think we'd better have an update.

We' had a very mild winter - one or two weeks of very cold temperatures, but hardly any snow.   Then March and April have been warm and sunny, so I thought the garden would be way ahead.  But it's also been very dry and  think this has checked some things back.

The veggie patch is looking much better this year.  We have peas, beans, onions, potatoes, carrots and beetroot all growing away.  The parnsips still have to get going and right over in the far corner I've sewn some cutting flowers.  I love having bunches of flowers in the house, so I've planted a few different ones this year.

And my tomato plants are doing really well.   Last year someone (Marg? Shay?) christened me mad tomato woman, and this year I'v tried to cut back, but I appear to have a problem

There's 28 plants here, which techically is less than the 30 I had last year, but doesn't really constitute cutting back!

We've done a few new things this year.  We moved the compost bins away from the side of the house,  and have brought all the fruit trees together, as previously they were scattered about and got neglected.  We have autumn raspberries, strawberries, goosberries, tayberries, blackberries and  bilberries.  Hopefully up by the house I will water and feed them more often.

Last year we planted a weeping birch, but it didn't make it through the winter, so we have replanted with an acer

This is not a delicate cultivated variety, it's a bit hardier so should withstand the winds.

We've dug and plated a small border in front of the fence.  We'll probably make it bigger, and a more interesting shape later, but it's a start.

Each year different plants have a good year.  Last year my wysteria was lovely but this year either late frosts or my bad pruning have left it without a single bloom.   But the Sambucus is fantastic

As the weather gets hotter, this will dry out a lot and loose it's wonderful fresh colour, but at the moment it is gloroius.

Also the weigelia is fabulous this year

Also I didn't realise I captured my tasteful garden ornament.  I think you can porbably make out what it is!

And finally, a taste of the coming summer.  I've planted up some window boxes

They're a bit sparse at the moment, but hopefully they will fill out.  Previously I've put them on the balcony but then I've got to traipse upstairs with the watering can every day, twice a day when it's really hot, and it just doesn't happen.  So we'll try them at ground level this time.

I hope you enjoyed a quick flit around the garden.  I will try to keep up to date in future,  with at least a post every month.

Have a good weekend everyone