Thursday, 29 December 2011

Praying for a better year ...

I have been away from the blogging community for quite a while.

I have missed blogging and this wonderful community of people so much but my reasons are valid and as much about self preservation than anything else.

This has been a terrible year in many ways, my husband has been very ill and our world at rock bottom. This year I have shed more tears than I ever thought I had and at times felt as though nothing would be the same again.

However, the end of a year is not without its reflections on both the good and bad and although one of the worst years I ever experienced there are also some positives;

In the midst of some terrible times I have been able to reach out to some of my work colleagues and found such profound support and encouragement.

  • I have also made some wonderful friendships in a community craft group I'm involved with

  • I've had to push myself within my little business and had great success this year

I had to increase my part-time job to full-time to ease financial pressures - this has lead to a new promotion and a new role in my work place. I've also taken up an old hobby of cross-stitch and enjoy a little 'me' time to sew during the evenings. Playing with this little guy has kept me sane. Of course quilting has taken a bit of a back-seat but life just wouldn't quite be the same without it - and the obligatory Henri-snuggle-factor-seal-of-approval. I have taught myself to crochet but this remains an unfinished project for now. Some last minute Christmas presents finished off the year.

So what have I learned this year?

  • It's ok not to be ok

  • I can reach out and a friends arms will open wide

  • Admitting wrong and learning from it leads to new and wonderful directions

  • Love is always worth fighting for

On that note I wish you all a healthy and

Happy New Year

Blessings Cxxx

Friday, 16 September 2011

An update and a request ...

The first stage of my All Heart Appeal is almost complete thanks to your help.

I am eager to finish the first quilt as I have an event at the village I live in next weekend and wanted our local villagers to feel inspired.

The story of the first quilt coming together;

First was the arrival of many lovely, inspiring and thoughtful blocks from friends met through quilt groups, my teaching group, in my local village and the wider Blogging Community.

I had great pleasure in arranging, rearranging and coming to a decision concerning layout.

I am so glad I decided to ask for more pink/red backgrounds as the layout was heavily influenced on the balance between the light backgrounds and the coloured ones.

The second stage was to move away from the 'tweaking' and start to sewing the squares into rows.

... then the rows into one quilt top.

Of course it was complulsory to audition a few border fabrics, I didn't want anything to fussy to take away from the centre. I settled for some red, polka dot fabric (my personal favourite).

Having decided that the quilt was going to have three borders I set about sewing on strips of 1.5" around each side ...

... closely followed by a 1" border in white ...

... completed with a 3" third border in red polka dots again!!

And Voila!!!

The first quilt made for Cancer Research UK.

Of course now that everything is ready, basted and waiting - my request to all you wonderful peeps out there is to answer me a question ...

How would you quilt it????

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A New Obsession ...

I have always been known to whip out the knitting needles at various times throughout my life. Recently I had a strong urge to get the needles out again and knit Henri (my fur baby) a wee jumper in preparation for the colder months.

I found a pattern, bought some wool and set to it. Along the way, I changed a few of the instructions and made it to fit my wee boy. It's no masterpiece but my objective was achieved to the best of my ability. I'm no pro but had the confidence to change a few things along the way.

Crocheting - on the other hand has always been a bit of a nemesis to me. I have bought a few books, had good intentions but alas I have failed in the crochet stakes.

That was until a few days ago ...

Having found a pattern for a Retro-style crochet throw in a magazine I could not help but fall in love. I decided that this was going to be my next 'evening' project that would keep me from playing scrabble on facebook (another obsession!!!).

I have long desired a blanket for the back of my sofa in cream with oceanic colours.

Finding the right wool was the first hurdle, I found Rowan Pure Wool Aran which I loved the feel of but wasn't sure if the colours were quite right. My lounge is more of a duck-egg blue. But eventually I decided that no, I couldn't wait (my obsession was that great).

I spent about four hours making a classic 'granny square' - much undoing, throwing it on the floor and swearing before I had my 'Eureka' moment and finally got it!!

12 Granny-squares later and I am loving how this blanket is coming along.

I've decided that it will consist of 10 squares in each row by 10 rows!!

Am I mad???

I love how the colours come together but I have ordered a few softer tones to balance out the darker turqoise, grey (mole) and dark green. I can't wait for them to arrive.

I reckon it will take me most of the next three months to complete it but it's so therapeutic to crochet a square here and there that it really doesn't feel like a chore.

I am in heaven with my crochet.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Diary Cover Tutorial

I've recently been taking part in the Mug Rug and Goodie Swap hosted by Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting.

I've had such fun taking part that I thought I would do a simple tutorial of the little diary/journal/notebook covers.

Here goes:

1. Open out your diary/journal/notebook and measure along the front, spine and back.
Add 1" to the length and the width so my cover and lining will measure 9.25" x 7".

2. If making strips like mine above I used an assortment of fabric measuring 1.5" wide x 7". I sewed 10 of these strips to make the cover front and back panel. I did exactly the same for the lining.

3. Cut a piece of wadding measuring 8.25" x 6". This was the same size as the diary. Centre it on the piece of fabric that you will be using for the main front/back cover and quilt as desired.

4. Cut two pieces of contrasting fabric measuring 6" wide by 7". Fold in half and along the fold sew a 1/4" seam. The other side can be left raw edge for the moment. These become the inside flaps to hold the diary in place.

5. Pin the two flaps to each side of the piece of fabric used for the lining of the diary, this is the piece not quilted. On top of this, right sides together place the quilted fron/back piece.

6. Sew along the top and the bottom of all edges using a 1/4" seam to make a tube.

7. Turn the right way out and press. Fold in a hem allowance of 1/4" at each side and slip stitch closed.

The fun bit is popping in your diary and swooning over your marvellous creation.

You really can whip up these little babies in no time. What a lovely gift to make as a present.

Hope you enjoy. Back soon with lots of pictures!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mug Rug and Goodie Swap Mosaic

I'm taking part in a Mug Rug and Goodie Swap organised by lovely Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting here.

I'm excited about this as it's only the second swap I've taken part in and already I have met some new wonderful people. Cindy organised another swap I took part in recently which was the Japanese Fabric Swap.

Us swappers were advised to create a little mosaic of our favourite colours, fabric type and suggestions to help our swap partners find out more about us. Most of my 'favourites' seem to have come from pretty much the same source - lovely Kerri of Lovely Little Handmades. Up until now I have managed to steer clear of the red, aqua and white combo, but I seem to be developing a little obsession.

I don't know who my swap partner is but whoever you are I hope this helps!!!

Caroline xx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The kindness of strangers ...

It has been a little while since I told you about my All Heart Appeal to raise money for Cancer Research and I thought I would do an update.

First of all I want to thank each and every one of you kind hearted people out there who have donated a heart or hearts for my appeal. I really do appreciate it and love the thought you have all put into making each and every heart. Some have involved some interesting techniques that I would never of thought of. You are all so generous.

At the moment they are all laid out on my design wall and I can't help looking at them and reconfiguring them to try and get the balance right.

After much thought I decided that having an all white/cream background might not allow the hearts to shine through enough so I decided to branch out and ask for pink or red backgrounds.

This has helped greatly and the layout now seems more harmonious with some colour popping out. I am in the process of making a few more pink or red blocks to fit into the bottom left corner to balance it out.

I now have about 50 blocks and would like about 64 to complete the quilt. Hopefully it will be completed by the end of September.

Again, thank you so much for your generosity. Anyone else wanting to donate a block is very welcome - just e-mail me and I will send you my address via e-mail (please make sure you send me an e-mail address if a no-reply blogger).

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cheery Giant Spools

I am a bad blogger indeed and promise to post more pictures soon.

I seem to have about a zillion things to do before september and the start of various classes that I'm going to be teaching, plus some trading events and charity events. So what do I do??

Crack the whip and start ticking the long list of jobs to do??

No - instead I 'play' around with yet more scraps and do some more of my giant spools blocks - these were inspired by Jacqui from Tallgrass Prairie Quilts - I loved her selvedge spools - but I just don't have nice selvedges so I dug deep into my scraps for these.

They look so much better in person!!

This has been good therapy, this week we found out that my husband can have a bit of a reprieve from the endless radiotherapy sessions on his leg. He's by no means 'better', apparently the nerve tissue is so inflamed that the results can't be distinguished. For now though, he gets 6 months off from the endless driving, back and forth to Oxford and can hopefully start getting over the pain.

Thank you for all the wonderful heart blocks I've received recently - I promise to take pictures today and post some soon.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Caroline xxxx

Friday, 22 July 2011

Happy Hearts ...

Apologies for the delay in posting about my All Hearts Appeal.

Thus far I have about thirty hearts, all donated from wonderful people near and far. I really appreciate each and every one that I have received and it's been lovely to see the effort that people have shown.

I do apologise for the photographs above, some of which were taken during the evening, the lighting is terrible. These are some of the hearts received in the last couple of weeks.

1. Anne in dedication to her first husband

2. Anne in dedication to her parents who both died from cancer

3. Angie Woodhemp

4. Janis Green

5 - 7. Anne

8 - 10. Wendy Herbert

Centre. Jane Weston

I would be exceedingly grateful for more hearts, the more the merrier really as I would dearly love to be able to make as many quilts as possible and aim to use at least 60 heart blocks per quilt.

I'm also going to throw open the colour of blocks to extend to a red or pink background, I think the odd splash of colour will add so much interest to the quilt.

Thank you

Caroline xx

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I'm so excited to have joined Karen's PIF project over on her blog, here.

This means that in the next 365 days I get to receive something handmade from Karen along with two other recipients. How wonderful!!!

In true PIF tradition I pledge to also send a handmade gift to three lucky recipients in the hope that they too spread the love and share a gift within 365 days.

Is anyone interested in joining my PIF and receiving a gift from me - when you're least expecting it???

If so, leave me a comment on this blog post and the first three people to respond will be involved: please note - only respond if you genuinely intend to start your own PIF and would like to blog and post about it too.

Caroline xxx

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

All Heart Appeal

I want to make a difference, and I need your help!

I recently went to a concert where money was raised for various cancer charities. I got thinking that I would like to raise some money myself and my brain went into overdrive thinking of ways to help.

I have a number of reasons for wanting to support Cancer Research, my brother-in-Law died from cancer, my dad had a tumour removed from his stomach two years ago, a childhood friend died from breast-cancer in her thirties and my husband is undergoing treatment for cancerous tumours in his leg.

My little All Heart Appeal plan is to achieve the following;

I would like blocks to be donated that I will sash together, quilt and finish. The quilt (or hopefully quilts) will be raffled off at local events to and all proceeds will go to Cancer research. Even if you donate a heart you can also purchase a raffle ticket to win the quilt yourself. Each ticket will cost £2.50. That is a lot of tickets I need to sell to raise a goal of £400.00.

I would like the first quilt to be completed by August.

If you are interested in helping here's what to do;1. Measure a 8" x 8" square of neutral fabric, white-on-white or cream-on-cream to act as a background fabric.

2. Make a heart, any size so long as it fits within the block and less 1/4" for seam allowance. It can be any shape, fat, thin, elongated, stylized and in any colour.

3. You can also embroider a design within a plain heart like the one below:

4. The heart needs to be appliqued on either by stitching around a raw-edge, zig-zag stitched, blanket-stitched, fancy stitched, needle-turned the choice is yours - so long as it doesn't peel off is the general advice.

5. Once completed mail to me (leave a comment and I will e-mail you my address)and I will do the rest!!

Why not dedicate your heart to someone whose life has been touched by cancer. All dedications will be written in a note that will go with the quilt to winning recipients.

If you don't want to make a heart but want to dedicate one and I will make one on your behalf I will ask that you make a donation on my just giving page found here

You can make a difference.


Thank you
Caroline xx

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Happy Days ...

My colour scrap blocks are coming along nicely but this week I wanted to concentrate on something else. The arrival of "Lollipop Baby" fabrics made me put away everything else and whip up a simple baby quilt using the full range.

Although I love the colours for me it is a bit too busy, I'm wondering if I should have sashed with white!

Mmmmm maybe that's another quilt!

Excuse the poor photo on this one but the design wall was full and the only room left was on the floor with the awful red rug that covers a multitude of sins!!
My colour spools are coming along nicely, I wasn't sure at first - I looked at other spool quilts where straight piecing is more the norm, so I made red and green straight and left the others wonky. I like wonky!!

I'm quite excited about it to be honest, and I'm just going to take my time over these fun blocks. It's definately going to be a studio piece and will fit right in with my others. I sure do love gazing over the fabrics, especially when life has it's off moments and I need to remind myself of everything good in my life.

For now I will leave you with my photo of variegated thread. I love it.

Friday, 10 June 2011

They're multiplying ...

I've been having great fun this week, continuing to grow this scrappy little number - i can't seem to stop. I also found a whole heap of more scrap fabric that I've added to my basket.
I allowed myself to digress from the above and thought I would have a go at some colourful spool blocks. I was inspired by Jacqui's quilt over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio linked here.
Jacquie made hers with selvedges - which I don't have so hopefully I can get my stash of scraps down by using them in this way.

I've been itching to make a raw-edge quilt since I started quilting and I dived into these gorgeous flannel prints by Blue Hill Fabric called Zoo Friends. These prints are great for a youngster, either boy or girl. I made a little quilt measuring 36" x 42" in a day from start to finish. I love it.
I've also managed to design some cute little bags for a day workshop I'm teaching next month, there are a number of techniques thrown in for good measure, fusible applique, needle-turn applique, yo-yo's, 3d flowers as well as how to construct a simple tote bag.

Phew, I'm exhausted now but my other day job is requiring my attention this weekend and there will be no rest for me.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Simply Scrap Happy

I'm still here, alive and well!!!

I've had a pretty stressful couple of months and I'm trying to stay positive and grateful for all the wonderful things that are in my life.

This week I've been busy, as usual but I decided that I have had enough of the endless scraps of fabric floating about. Some of them are still left over from the very first quilts I made!!

Inspired by the many colourful quilts from the book Fresh Quilting linked here and Elizabeth Hartman's book here I fell in love with a block and decided to play.

I tipped all my scraps into a big basket and got simply, scrap happy!!!

I was going to stop at 6 blocks by 6 and make it into a baby quilt but it's quite addictive and I will keep expanding it until I'm happy.

I love the design, the vibrancy and the nostalgic moments I had when lifting out fabric I'd forgotten about. It's been quite a cathartic experience to get involved with my scraps.

The funny thing is that although the basket was full to overflowing when I started ... 42 blocks later, it is still full to overflowing!

Do you think fabric scraps multiply??

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Colour me happy .....

It seems as though I have been away from the blogging scene for ages and ages.

As my little business grows from strength to strength other things have been requiring my attention.

Whilst my ebay shop has quietened down during the Easter holidays it has given me a little opportunity to enjoy some sewing - just for me - I have been wanting to create a colour-wheel quilt for a long time, an I finally manged to squeeze in a small wall hanging for my studio.

I will also be teaching some of my students this term
about colour, so it serves a dual purpose really.

Over the past couple of months it has seemed like all I have done is cut fabric - into fat quarters - into bundles - into neat packages tied up with string!! Aside from this I have been to my first trading event at a quilt group in Oxfordshire which was very enjoyable. I have also written about four patterns for various projects and more in the pipe-line.

Given the feedback I received I am now contemplating booking stalls at a few larger events, it's a scary thought but one I just about feel able to handle.

For now, I wish you all a happy, hoppy Easter with chocolate wishes for you all.

Caroline xxx