Category: love

St Distaff day blues


I thought I would share with you my latest little creation which was originally going to be called the Putting on the Itsy Bits Ritz quilt due to the combination of Moda and Makower fabrics used, but will, from now on be known as the Little Boy Blue quilt.

It is made from about 2/3rds of a Moda Putting on the Ritz jelly roll and about 1 1/2 yards of Makower Itsy Bits yardage.  This is not because I am the devil may care, throw caution to the wind, kind of woman, it’s because the lady in the nice fabric shop had matching fabric but couldn’t sell me any due to her block of the month club.  Frankly it would have been better to tell me she hadn’t got the matching yardage.  Anyway the Makower is a very near match and is for the back only, which will be stippled, so is not really a problem.

Being on a budget, I am always looking for ways to make my fabric purchase better value for money and have been busy looking at prices of the different precuts.  In the UK layer cakes and jelly rolls seem to be between £25 and £30 ($39-$46) and charm packs £8.50 – £11.00 ($13-$17), in fact it seems to me that the retailers sometimes just swap the dollar sign for a pound sign.  Imagine my delight to have found a secret (well I suppose not if I’m sharing it with you) stash of delightful charm packs.

At this point a drum roll feature would be excellent WordPress, let me introduce, Melody from Fort Worth, Texas and her Etsy shop Melody of the Heart.  I currently have, winging their way to me, 9 charm packs in three designs for a total of £62 ($93) including shipping – which works out at just less then £7 a pack – I haven’t found better value anywhere else at the moment but if you can do better …. Please pay her a visit; amazing value and a lovely friendly service too.

In other news, I am just waiting now for some batting so that I can complete Ruby and her friend.  I am currently hand quilting Little Boy Blue (see below) but am waiting for a free motion quilting foot and my try machine quilting Ruby to see which I prefer.

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Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby


 

 

The light is still not quite right to photograph this to reflect the lovely colours but I will include the swatch in a moment.  I have used a single charm pack from Moda designed by Bonnie and Camille called Ruby.  This was my first attempt at cutting into the patches (four patch blocks).  I have pieced them randomly without much attention to the overall design and I like it.  Next time though, I will be planning more carefully and piecing with purpose!! All over pinwheels would be particularly suitable for a boy I think.  The panel here looks quite Cath Kidston in colour whereas the palette is actually fresher and more modern looking, see swatch below right.

Anyway, the panel is approximately 26.5 x 26.5 inches.  I’m trying to work out how I got there but next time I’ll write it down as I go.  The charm pack yielded 10 4 patch blockswhich were cut on the diagonal to give 40 triangles which were sewn back together to give 10 squares – I used 9 blocks to create a square quilt top.

I’m waiting for my backing and binding fabric to arrive but I will be using the one pictured to the left (the aqua coloured with apples/cherries) to create a deep 8 1/2 inch border,  it will also be used as the backing fabric.  The quilt will be bound in the same aqua colour but a solid version.

I will be using Warm and Natural cotton batting again (if it ain’t broke …) as I have been pleased by the finish of Hannah’s quilt and it was quite easy to hand quilt.

I will be hand quilting this one too – the middle panel will have a stipple pattern like the one to the right 

and the border will be echo quilted on either side of the border fabric and then have the lovely ducks (left) to further decorate it.  It will be approximately 35.5 inches square when completed and will be for sale in my etsy shop.

Hannah’s quilt


I have been quiet for a little while because I have been busy finishing things, cleaning things, cooking things and eating things not necessarily in that order.

At the end of November I had the brain wave to make something I hadn’t attempted before for the main Christmas present for my daughter Hannah.  She has wanted a traditional quilt for a long time and I was actually looking to buy her a handmade one but the ones I liked were out of my price bracket. So I decided to make one.  I took some advice from Ros as to whether it was feasible to complete by Christmas and then set about looking for fabric.

I started with ebay – my starting place for most things in life if I’m honest – and was suddenly immersed in a world of baffling new terminology: fat quarters and fat eighths, jelly rolls and charm packs, layer cakes and honey buns.  There are more but it’s all just a bit baffling still.  Definitions can be found here, at the Moda Bake Shop.

The idea of precut fabric really appealed and anyone who has witnessed me wielding a pair of scissors will understand why.  That line, the one you’re supposed to stick to, is there apparently only to serve as a punctuation to my wiggly cutting.  The idea of precut anything is very appealing.

I chose to make a single bed size and worked out that I could make one with a jelly roll (4o 2 1/2 inch strips, 45″ wide) and two layer cakes (packs of 42 10″x10″ squares).  I found some I liked on ebay from a seller in Redruth which meant I wouldn’t have to wait for it to ship from America.  I chose a pattern called Full Circle shown below:

Once the bundles arrived and I could see what I was dealing with, I worked out a design, in Excel naturally:

The finished quilt is actually a little different, the dividing grid is all butterscotch, with black squares at the intersections and the outside border is red.  I have a few pieces of fabric left over but not much.

I decided to make the whole thing in cotton so the batting (or wadding), the backing fabric and the thread are all cotton.  This means that it should all shrink at the same rate (it will shrink a bit Hannah).  I ordered Warm and Natural batting from Amazon: for their biggest size it was about £20 which compared very well to all the quilting sites.

Actually starting to sew it was quite scary; I suppose I was scared of making a mess but there is nothing like a looming deadline to focus the mind.

It was edged in black cotton bias binding and all hand quilted with echo quilting and heart designs.

It is, I hope the first of many as I’m more than slightly obsessed now, in fact I have two quilt tops waiting for edging fabric and batting.  There will be more pictures if the light ever gets any better.  Patience is a virtue 🙂

Virtual Pudding


It’s been a strange week with the premature death of a friend and more problems and devastation caused by student finance England.  So I thought some virtual pudding was in order.

James Martin does a Black Forest trifle over here; this is not that.

It was a pudding that my Mum used to make back in the 70s and 80s as a family favourite (for which read one of dad’s favourites).  It probably came from Family Circle.  This was inspired by a post over at Amy Bakes.

Take a large shop bought chocolate swiss roll, cut into slices and arrange around glass dish.  Take a can of stoned black cherries in juice (or if you’re feeling flush a jar of black cherries in kirsch) and a blackcurrant jelly.  We used to use black cherry jelly but I haven’t seen one for a long time – if anyone knows where I can buy them please let me know.  Make the jelly as per the instructions replacing most of the cold water with the juice from the cherries.

You can give the swiss roll sponge a bit of  a soak with liqueur if you like, then arrange the cherries over and around the slices of swiss roll. Add the jelly and chill until set.  Take about a pint of double or whipping cream (whipping cream has slightly lower fat content than double cream: 35% as opposed to 48%).  Whip until soft peaks are achieved, we used to whip to pipe but that was all a bit passe; who knows the cup-cake craze may bring back piping! Decorate with soft peaks of cream, some reserved cherries and shavings of dark chocolate.  Send everyone out and enjoy with a large spoon.

Tomorrow I will be appearing fashionably late to Handmade Monday 37 (just waiting for my phone to charge to take some piccies).

Night all

Wait for it…


As sure as death and taxes, Christmas is coming, the goose is fattening nicely and the old man’s hat is filling so rapidly with coin of the realm that there will soon be no room for his head. 

The Phoenix Christmas range is coming too, but not until tomorrow so you will just have to wait.  Yesterday I did my first event a very tiny, titchy car boot sale at the YMCA in Honicknowle.  I was very nervous ahead of it as I had never even been to a car boot sale and although no one could describe it as Sale of the Century it did quite a lot for my confidence.  The stand looked nice and I managed to chat to people without feeling like I used to feel when I had my business.  Hard to explain but at least I know what I mean.

We have spent an interesting week touched very slightly and vicariously by the glare of the media spotlight; it has given me a whole new appreciation of the machinations and impact of our appetite for the solacious. 

The beautiful weather has been a real boon – it feels like the holidays have really begun and we’ve already done two trips to the beach and have more in the planning stage.  We are also planning to go to Tinside Lido for the first time.  If anyone else has been recently please let me know what it’s like.  Have a happy Sunday.

Great Bake-in


The weekend bake-in has begun with a round of chocolate butterfly cakes with coffee icing.  The recipe is from Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium (1957), my cookery bible which I have used since I was a little girl and have known all my life.  I’m doing these today because John loves chocolate and coffee but it is nobody else’s favourite.  I don’t really count as I’m not particular: I love everything!  I have a new piping bag and nozzle set (this one, here) and I’ve been itching to try it out since yesterday but with moving mountains and ironing this is the first chance I’ve had.  The icing set needed a cake stand like this.

Tomorrow I will be making banoffee pie, not much baking really required but the delicious end result almost qualifies it.  Sunday is the marathon.  I was going to make bridge rolls but taking up the offer to bring some home from work on Saturday by Arty Daughter seemed too good to pass up.  Coconut macaroons will follow; I once visited a ‘bakery’ in Plymouth who had never heard of coconut macaroons, needless to say, they are no-longer trading.  Choux buns or eclairs to follow, then a nice moist fruit cake – a boil-in-the-pan recipe, finally a carrot cake, courtesy of Delia.  The addition of Surrealo son at the table, who returns from his hectic social whirl in London tomorrow, will make our little band complete.  I hope wherever you are and whoever you are with, you have love and good things to eat.

Welcome home


Well, I’m not sure why, but I have moved from blogger to wordpress.  So “hello” to those who don’t know me and “nice to see you” to those who do.

My blog has seen various levels of activity over the last seven years and when I started it back on aol hometown I didn’t think that it would have documented so much trauma.  Life then seemed quite idyllic and perhaps I am having some of those same feelings of hope.  Or perhaps I just have the freedom and space to think at the moment.  It feels like an indulgence.

Of course, with the work I was doing previously, it would have been difficult and inappropriate to comment on the www about the things I was dealing with, something that at least one of my previous employers should have borne in mind but I am not bitter or twisted; well perhaps only a tad, only enough to leave a metaphorical eggy burp.

It really all has been a blessing of sorts.  I will not give credit to my changed life to anyone apart from myself.  To those who might wish to, I say they cannot claim that they knew it would be for the best. The fact is that they didn’t really know or care; I know that it has saved me and therefore saved our little piece of the universe.

I can’t adequately express the tsunami of change that has hit us and every so often, it seems, hits us again.  What I can tell you is that I am glad that we are all still here bobbing, slightly dishevelled, surrounded by the flotsam and jetsam of “normal” life.