Thursday, 23 December 2010

Done nothing for the last couple of weeks

The reason for my inactivity is I've been quite ill in bed for over a week.  New meds for diabetes really messed me up and after several hospital/GP visits I'm finally on the med (minus the new meds).  The medication (new to me but one in general use) severely irritated the whole of my digestive system that it was thought I'd developed Crohnes disease (just what I wanted before Xmas!!).  Hopefully I should feel much better before we go to Ireland on Wednesday.  The only place I thought I was going was the hospital!!!
As a consequence I've done very little sewing but will make an effort once we get back from Ireland.  Been all over the world but never been to Ireland so really looking forward going.

Buster isn't keen on the Christmas tree, the twinkling lights keep waking him up but tomorrow I hope to feel fit enough to bake him a batch of biscuits to cheer him up.   I bought a special bone shaped cutter just for him.  Off to bed now to do some further recuperating and to be nearer the smallest room!!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Last Journal Page finished

The December Journal Page for the Contemporary Quilt Group 2010 challenge is now complete.  Following the 'diary' theme of the other journal pages this one reflects the heavy snow we've had here in the North East.  I took this picture on the first day of the snow when we took Buster for his walk in the woods.  By the following day the snow was so deep it was impossible to get there.  Using Photoshop I cropped the photo and printed it onto fabric then threadpainted it in black and a sparkly white thread from Maderia one of the FS (diamond) threads.  When I'd finished it didn't quite catch the sparkle the frost had created on the snow so I painted it with a bit of glitter glue.  It doesn't show up in the photo.  I think I may have put a bit too much on but its too late now to alter.  Just got labels to put on all the quilts and I'm looking forward to next years challenge.

Bling card, lots of glitter on this one.  I thought I'd withdrawn from this swap as there were a lot of people in it, far too many for me to contemplating making cards for.  However, two turned up on my doorstep.  I am quite happy to swap with two ladies so this is my Bling swap.

I've been following one of the on-line projects from the Bernina site specifically written for my 830.  Its a fairly easy project but I've not used the endless function before so enjoyed making it.  The top is one of the designs on the machine, copied and flipped, the ribbon is multiple buttonholes made using the embroidery machine and the bottom a single motif multipied using the endless funtion.

Finally I've finished block six of Kate North's 'Stay at Home Round Robin"  We had to make two blocks for the lefthand side, one 3"x 9" and the other 4" x 3"  My quilt is at the moment not quite true to size and I think I may have to trim it before too long.

The vast majority of snow has now gone and its safe to walk the streets again.  Only problem is more is forecast for tomorrow.  If we get snowed in again then I might even get more sewing done.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Look what the snow has done to my garden swing

The first day's snow has landed.

After two weeks of snow which froze my poor garden swing canopy surrended to the inevitable.  Lots of gutters and drain pipes have also come down.  We've been lucky in that respect but had some rather dangerous looking icicles hanging from the our gutters.

My first attempt at making snap bags using bits of metal tape from one of those carpenters retracting rules.  Keith was very good he gave up one of his many metal tapes without too much arm twisting.  My friend Ann sent me the pattern and although I can't actually share that with you I could if any one is interested show you how the metal tape acts as a snap fastener.

I admit that the cold weather has made me want to hibernate but once I found a warm spot to sew in I made this lap quilt.  I wanted one to throw ovr the settee that I could whip off and wrap myself up in when the NE wind whistled round the doors.

This is a close up of the quilt pattern.  Pretty easy stuff but its a while since I made anything larger than a placemat so I was quite pleased with it.  I cut out the squares and circles using my Go cutter and found it really easy to use.   I'm hoping for more dies for christmas, so do you hear me Santa I've been a good girl?
The back of the quilt is fleece and I had several bits left over, enough for this small cushion and perhaps a larger one.  I used left over strips from the quilt border to match with the quilt.   Now all I have to do is keep the dog off it.

It's been really cold over the past few weeks and taking Buster for his walks has been a real effort.   He loves to run but the only places you can let him off the lead are all about a mile away from home.   So its quite an effort getting to the start of the walk.  Buster didn't mind in the least, he loves the snow, thinks its good to eat but is puzzled by the yellow bits, he has to inspect every one!!.  

Yesterday we took a walk across the fields, big mistake, I was knee deep in snow, over the top of my wellies and Buster leapt about like a demented rabbit. The snow was so deep it came half way up his back and he kept getting lost in snowdrifts. Back home I was cold, wet and short of breath, he fell asleep immediately and snored the rest of the morning away.   We've had several days without post and I felt sorry for the postman yesterday when he did get through as his bag looked very heavy.  We've now had two days where the temperature has been above freezing  but this has made walking treacherous. Today Buster's walk was cut short, very short as I came a cropper within five minutes of stepping over the doorstep.  Not hurt, apart from my pride, I just got a wet bottom and a warm lick from Buster.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Guess who's come to stay?

Meet Monty my new microwaveable pal, Sy and Julie gave him to me because I'd complained I was cold.
Isn't he cute, far too lovely to put in the microwave, he just sits on the radiator or beside my sewing machine and keeps me company.

 I've decided to give Rug Mugs to my friends this Christmas instead of cards.  These six are going to a group I sew with so I wanted them to be very similar.  They took me longer to make than I had anticipated and by the time I'd sewn all the bindings on my finger was sore.
 More Black and White cards from the BQLPC group, these two are from Pauline C (top) and Michelle (bottom).
 The next four are again from the BQLPC group but the theme this time is 'windows'.  At the top are Helen Pearson's cathedral windows and Lesley's Office Lights card.
The bottom two are 'Let us Out' windows from Pauline C and Boutique window from Janet B.

I think that's almost it for fabric postcards for this year, just one to get made in time for a deadline of early January so I've not got any excuse for not getting on with the lap quilts I'm trying to get finished.

We were supposed to be going to the K&S show in Harrogate this weekend, first it we were going to go Saturday then we changed our minds thinking it would be less crowded on Sunday.  Then we woke up to snow and a forecast of doom and gloom getting worse on Sunday so we finally set off this morning.  We got as far as the outskirts of the town when we heard the link road to the A1 was closed.  As we'd had to fight our way to the edge of town, the gritters hadn't been out last night and the ice under the fresh snow made it difficult driving, we decided it was too risky to try so we returned home. It was just as well because we've had some really harsh weather today and unless you need to go out the police are advising that you stay indoors.  I'll look forward to going next year now. 

I went to the opticians yesterday for a pair of close work glasses and got a bit of a shock.  It appears that I've developed some sort of cyst at the bottom of my retina that has loosened one of the layers of the retina.  Something called a retinoschisis.  Apparently its fairly common, does no real damage unless it grows too big but there  I was expecting to buy some sexy new glasses and ended up with a referral to the hospital.  Life sometimes sucks.  On the positive side I've nearly got all my Christmas present sorted out, just a couple to go.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Block 5 of Kate North's Stay at Home Round Robin done

It took me a while to decided what blocks I wanted to do for the SAHRR I wanted to try out some of the Go Cutter dies.  In the end I used one, the small triange that comes with Go to make windmill blocks then added left over stripes from another project to the sides, top and bottom.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Caught up with Journal Pages

My October JP shows Juliette's balcony in Verona where she was supposedly wooed by Romeo.  We've been here a couple of times and there are always crowds of people, many of whom desecrate the walls and doors with graffiti.  This year there was a barrier round Juliette's house which meant people couldn't easily get to the walls and doors. 

In November the town council always put on a big fireworks display in the South Park.  The houses in the streets around the park are lucky in that they get a great view of the fireworks without having to stand outside in the cold.  Mind they miss all the atmosphere.  Sadly because of all the cutbacks this will be the last year for the firework display.

Something Black and White, one of two swaps this month with the BQLPC group.  Mine once again use up scraps of leftover fabrics sewn together with decorative stitches and embellished with a few bugle beads.

Windows was the second postcard theme put up by BQLPC for November.   There is a passage in the Bible, I think in   Matthew that quotes the eyes as being windows to the soul, or something like that.  So eyes are my Windows.  I downloaded some free clipart of eyes (there are lots out there) and changed them slightly in Photoshop by giving my 'eyemate' coloured eye liner.   I saw David Hockney at the weekend showing how he was creating a painting a day in a paint program for a show in one of London's galleries.   I thought I'd add some blue hair to go with the eyeliner.  The I was stuck as how to finish the card so I added windowsills top and bottom and curtains.  I think it looks more like a cinema screen though, what do you think?

We've been dashing here and there for the past couple of weeks visiting woodworking shops for Keith.  I thought it only fair that I go to his favourite shops as he never complains about taking me to mine.   One place we went to last weekend, no not a woodwork shop, was the Crafts for Christmas show in Harrogate.  I thought it would be all cardmaking and stuff like that that but it was an Aladdin's cave of artisans from all over the country.   There was also a food market which we indulged in greatly and have already eaten most of the stuff that didn't get put into the freezer and we wonder why we put on weight!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Finished my September JP

All I have to do now is finish Octobers!!  I'm way behind with my challenges and I don't really have an excuse, just seem to have lost the will to sew but my mojo will come back soon I'm sure.  In the meantime I've decided to make a Mug Rug like one of these.  I have quite a few scraps and playing with these should revive the muse.  Actually I know what the problem is, I'm just plain ole tired, too much running around lately.   Now to show you my September CQJP.
The photo is where I started from, one of Marc and Alix's wedding in September.  I wanted to create something pretty but different so made a fabric background of snippets of sheers in shades of pink to magenta.  These were the colours in Alix's bouquet.  Next I covered the whole lot with net and free machine quilted it in flowers, feathers, scribbled my way through a whole lot of motifs.  It was my intention to reproduce the photo on extravaganza as an overlay which I would leave loose.  However, it got lost in the background, the image on the sheer organza was a bit pale and insipid so I carefully cut out the background and appliqued it onto the background.   I added a bit of lace, what wedding picture is complete without a bit of lace, and put a few french knots into the bouquet to add a bit of depth.  I was going to bind the edges with a thin magenta ribbon but decided I liked the satin stitch.  

I've also been creating some lino cuttings, one of which was based on the Bridge of  Sighs in Venice.  I thought I'd use this for my October JP but its ended up as a cover for a plastic folder as I wasn't too keen on the colours I'd used to print the block in.

Well it looks like the photos will have to wait until another day Blogger has stopped playing nice and won't let me upload another one.  Wonder what I did to upset Blogger but will try again later.

Lino cut folder

I got round Blogger by posting the photo of my lino cut Bridge of Sighs (yes I know its the wrong way round I forgot to reverse the cutting) via Picasa.  The print was originally printed onto white cotton one in blue and the other in green and overprinted with the opposite colour (ie green got a blue overprint and blue got a green one).  It looked a bit stark so I had the brilliant idea of spray dyeing it with magenta, blue and green Colourwash sprays but overdid the magenta a bit.   The cloth was bonded to pelmet vilene and stitched round the image my machine.   I didn't like it when I finished it so its now become a file cover.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stay at home Robin - block 4

Finally got Block 4 added to the Stay at Home Robin held by Kate North.  The size is 3" x 9" and is added to the left hand side of the other three blocks. I wanted to move away from the more straight line blocks of 1 and 2 but keep the same fabrics.  I free cut wonky strips and sewed them back to form the block.  I wanted broad and narrow strips.  When I finished for some reason it was just a tad short of the 9" so I cut the striped piece in half and added narrow bands.  Now of course it was too long and had to be shortened but all in all I'm happy with it.

Really got to get on with some of my outstanding pieces for the Contemporary Quilters journal pages.  I still have not done Septembers.  I want to do a piece on Marc and Alix's wedding but need one of their photos. They are coming up at the weekend so hopefully they will bring some with them.  None of mine are quite right for what I have in mind and a wedding isn't something you can go back and retake.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Italian holiday photos

Photo heavy posting but I'll keep my mouth closed and let you look at them.

Bording the boat in Riva for a cruise round Lake Garda

Limone Harbour


Heading across the Lagoon towards /Venice

St Marks, couldn't get inside as there were too many people.

I loved this little balcony down one of the canals.

The Rialto Bridge plus gondola

My own little Canoletto, two view of the /Grand Canal.

Juliette's balcony - Verona,

Loved the striped brickwork on the Regional Offices in Verona

Verona Arena Christians and Lions no longer performing but plenty of opera still.
Promised these earlier but went to the Quilt Museum in York instead.  I missed the last exhibition, kept saying I was going but by the time I found time the exhibition had finished.  This time I went as soon as it started.  Can't for the life of me remember the title, something about stitch but the work there was extrodinary.  Julia Capara, Alice Kettle, Paddy Killer, Jan Beaney to name just a few.  Can't say I was impressed with Michael Brennan-Woods piece though.

Friday, 22 October 2010

back again

Although we've been back from Italy for a few days now the time has just flown by.  I came back to a host of postcards and atcs but not scanned all of them in yet.  Here's a couple that I have scanned in.

Thes are P is for Pink, P is for Passion Flower and O is for Ocean made by Jennifer Morlock and Hetty van Boven of Art4Mail fame.

We had a lovely time in Italy, we went to Lake Garda, Verona and Venice, walked our feet off, sailed on the lake, ate mountains of food and drank gallons of wine.  Now we have to repair the damage ugh....  but it was worth it.  The weather had been forecast as dull, cloudy and wet but it was wrong, we had sun, sun and more sun.  I've got loads of photos but blogger is playing up and won't let me upload any more so I'll call it a day and try again tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Off to Italy in the Morning

 So I thought I'd better catch up with my blog,   I'm conscious that I'm not doing very well in blogland so far as keeping things up to date but I promise to try harder in future.   That was always on my school reports, must try harder in future.  The two cards below are from the Arts4Mail group, the pretty Sunbonnet Sue is from Vicky in Canada and the other card is from Charlie in the USA.  Charlie's card is her response to the Challenge card. 


I've been busy finishing off all my October swaps and trying to get them into the post before I go to Italy in the morning.   I just managed to catch the last post with my 'Pink' cards for the BQLPC group.

I also managed to finish my P, Q andGold atcs for the Art4Mail group but posted them before I'd remembered to take a photo or scan them.   I do have a spare P for Petal atc but its lost under the mountain of stuff we still have yet to pack so I'll post about that when I get back.

My last October swap was with the BLQPC group ' gateways' and I didn't quite finish them.  Here is where I've got to so far.   

The gateway in question is in Portofino, Italy (where Rod Steward has a villa).  I took the photo last year, the gateway led nowhere.   I think it may have been part of someones grounds at one time but the cliff may have crumbled over time.   It looks out over the harbour where all the lovely yachts are but the photo isn't good enough to see them unfortunately.   I printed the photo onto fabric three times (I needed six so two sheets were printed) then free motion stitched the gateway and part of the crumbly wall.   That's as far as I've got but I now need to put a backing and border on it.  I hope to do that when I get back  so I meet the deadline.

BIG news in our household is - Simon and Julie got engaged yesterday.   They are thinking of September 12 for the wedding to keep up with the Jeavons tradition of September weddings.
Off to finish packing and find some embroidery to do while travelling.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Challenge cards

I enjoy making postcards but admit that I really enjoy the design challenge most of all.   One challenge that has made me think about what I'm doing is the Art4Mail 'Challenge' card where you pick five numbers and are later sent the technique relating to that number to incorporate into your postcard.  My five numbers this time were 5, 7, 13, 27 and 44 and the techniques relating to these numbers were, add a pocket, origami fold, different fabric type, something organic and something that sparkles.

This is the result.

Jeanette's number challenge card
 This is Jeanettes to me, not sure what her numbers were but she had to 1 piece something, 2 add an ethnic element, add 3 more colours, unusual texture and 5 add a character button.

Today I also received a 'Pink' card from Carole as part of the BQLPC Pink swap.
Rosemarie's Autumn Quiltie arrived yesterday, it's the first one she had made and I think she has made it very well.  Each middle section has a tiny embellishment relating to Autumn.  I'm really pleased with it.

Not a lot going on at home at the moment just going from day to day doing the normal things.  It's lovely after a hectic few weeks.   We go to Italy a week Sunday and I'm looking forward to that but for now I'm enjoying a bit of peace and quiet just doodling along.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Stay at Home Round Robin

At last I've managed to catch up with Kate North's "Stay at Home Round Robin" challenge  This is one you keep for yourself and make up the blocks as you want them to be.  Kate specifies the size of the block and its position, the first one was a 6" x 6" square, the send a 6" x 4" rectangle and it had to be attached to the 6" block.  September's block was 10" x 3" attached to the top of the other two.   You wouldn't believe how long it took me to decided what I wanted to do.

It would appear that Blogger has changed the way you upload photos again.  Not sure what I've done but it looks like its lost all the photos except the one above that I downloaded.  Ah well, next time maybe I'll get it right.  Just a short blog tonight as I've got company coming.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Catch up

The last month seems to have been one round of parties and I've come to a full stop hence the quiet time.  But.... I'mback in action and have made a couple of postcards for various swaps.

Block of the month for August was an open round my postcard is a sort of strange Drunkards Path,   My S for September BOM postcard was Seminole work which I sent off without photographing.  Visualise it, it was vivid purple, lime green and orange - hows that for needing sunglasses.

My 'Bridges' postcards gave me more problems than I thought they would.  First I needed to choose a bridge.  I had them in abundance but which one would it be and how would I depict it, hmm.

The lefthand side one was a modern bridge over the Manchester Ship canal and yes there are people absailing down it.  The right had one an old bridge, one to be found in Leeds Castle, Kent.  I thought I'd play with photoshop so:
Both were made using adjustment layers and gradient layers.  I've been spending a lot of time playing recently just to remind myself what they all do.  A few years back I was reasonably proficient with layers, masks etc but I haven't kept it up and I found I'd forgotten a lot.  There are loads of free tutorials out there on the web if anyone is interested.
I liked the old bridge treatment but thought it would require more time to do six cards than I had on hand so I stuck to the new bridge.   By reversing the colours it made the bridge look as though it was lit up at night.  I wanted to emphasize the bridge structure.   I stitched out the the design outline then using a thick glitzy thread in the bobbin couched it down sewing on the wrong side of the cards.   Naturally I ran out of thick thread halfway through the last card but as that was going to be mine it didn't really matter.

So far I've received these three bridges from the BQLPC monthly postcard challenge.  The single one is from Pauline and the two together are from Janet and Avril.  Avril's is a 'wobbly' bridge over a Welsh stream and Janet's of the Ironbridge.  All very different.
This Autumn Quiltie, which I've posted upside down!! is from Maryke Op den Camp of the Netherlands, sorry Maryke I hadn't noticed until I'd uploaded it.  I promise the blood won't run to the squirrel's head.

My dear old 1630 needs a light change, its getting dimmer and dimmer so its off to Edinburgh tomorrow for an MOT since it must be about 5 or 6 years since it had one.   At least I think the light is getting dimmer not sure whether its not because the light on the 830 is so good.  Anyway it has given us an excuse for a couple of days away and a visit to the Edinburgh Playhouse to see Chess the Musical.  So will post again in a few days.   In the meantime I need to add something to my Autumn quiltie, it was finished but you know how it is, you look at it and think .... it needs something ... so until I decide what it stays here.