Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I got my winning bundle of solids from Cindy at Fluffy Sheep. I am quite impressed with myself because I don't have that much confidence in colour matching and that sort of thing. I throw colours together and pray generally, not having much faith that what I am doing is right.

But I love my solids bundle.

I can work with this. For one it is the usual colour overload that I love. Seeing it on the dark background makes me think that it would work very well with Kona Charcoal. I am getting ideas for this. It might take a while for me to get round to it while I clear away the 'to do' list but I am definitely already pondering.

It thrills me that Cindy is going to offer this as a bundle in her shop. Wonder if anyone else will have the same taste as me?

Best make something with it and prove that it works as a colour combination!


Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Winner and a Discount Code

With the help of Mr RNG I am pleased to say that I have the winner of Annie's wonderful bundle of Perfectly Perched from The Village Haberdashery.

And that winner would be...

True Random Number Generator

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(As per normal I am having problems making Mr RNG do what I need it to do - copy over the info - so the above is the best I can do. I'm on someone else's computer and happy to have an internet connection, which I don't have at my mum's. Please accept this as the best I can do under the curcumstances.)Please note that when I was counting through the comments to 87 I skipped two comments that I knew for a fact were from outside of Europe. I have tried to keep this as fair as possible in the knowledge that I possess of the entrants.Christine23 July 2012 22:29
I can't wait for Bella, Field Study and Ruby star vinyl I pretty much want to buy everything from Annie's shop.

Congratulations, Christine, I will be passing on your email to Annie and she will contact you for your postal address and be sending you this awesome bundle.
If you didn't win but still covet some of this Perfectly Perched fabric then Annie has generously come up with a discount code for 10% off any purchases of Perfectly Perched between July 29th and August 5th. Just enter this code - PERCHED10 - when you checkout and the discount will be applied. 
Thanks to everyone who put their name in the hat. 
Susan * I would like to repeat that I am on holiday with limited internet access therefore, while I love reading every comment I get, my ability to reply is sadly restricted at the moment. My apologies.  

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Birthday That Keeps On Giving

My best friend - the one who makes the most fantastic cakes with the girls because she is a professional cake decorator - gave me a gift certificate to Fluffy Sheep for my birthday. Isn't she the best?! So I spent some of it on pieces of fabric I coveted but didn't have a purpose for, yet.

Here's what I got.

Donkeys and wellies. Donkeys in wellies. Need I say anything else. Honestly these are a necessity because they make me smile.

Melody Miller because I could and I did, and it is mine all mine. Besides, I never had the typewriters when everyone else did and I was dead jealous. If you don't have typewriters, Cindy still has some in stock. I left some for you. Because I am nice like that. Not that I am nice enough to share my own. Uh-uh, no way.

I have also been in complete envy of everyone who has been embroidering these houses. I am a complete copycat and I have bought this fabric and come away on holiday with it. And a few accessories.

Also pictured is a lovely piece of fabric sent to me by Sarah that is calling out for embroidery too. You will have to stay tuned to see if I actually accomplished anything while away other than relax.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Off Again

It is time for our annual migration north to here...

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth

... and here.


I shall be off the radar for a bit. Some pre-written posts will pop up periodically though. Just so you don't forget about me. Pray for sunshine - please! It is ten degrees (celsius) cooler at my mum's compared to here right now. I would hate to miss the only bit of summer we get after spending three months in the rain.

As ever I appreciate every comment left and endeavour to do my best to respond to them all - but I may be less than successful in the next couple of weeks. Please know that I appreciate them and love receiving every last one (unless you have a go at me - which no one ever has and therefore makes this a totally redundant phrase).


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

£10 and a Bucket Load of Veggies = Me Time

You may wonder how £10 and bucket load of veggies can buy me time but it does, in this house at least. It worked a charm in fact, so well that the effect carried over into today. And I am telling you it was one heck of a deal.

The bucket load of veggies? That was what I bribed the girls to make dinner with yesterday, along with a minuscule bit of chicken. I asked them if they would like to be in charge of dinner. (It's all in how you word it!) They were thrilled and I ticked that box off my things to do. Sewing time was bought.

Now how did I get peace and quiet to ensure more time to do what I needed to do the rest of the day? I bought a paddling pool for £10. Honest! I know, I know, my girls are a bit old for a paddling pool. But here is what I got them.

And, with the weather cooperating fantastically, they proceeded to spend the best part of two days in there. Really, they did. They snorkled. Okay, I have no proof but they did. And they surfed. Ha! You don't believe me but they did. Look, my big show off of a daughter insisted on photographic evidence.

That was Emily demonstrating a wipe out - in slow motion. You never would have thought they would get so much fun out of one five foot(ish) wide paddling pool but it has been great listening to them. While I did heaps of laundry, cleaned, sewed, cooked, and got on with things.

I had to do all that because I am about to have some time out. Starting tomorrow. No housework for two weeks. Woohoo!!

One of the things I accomplished was my Stitch Tease block which isn't due yet but I knew was the next in line for me. It is for Di (Quiltova). She asked for pinwheels. This is one of those blocks I am not allowed to show you. Sorry. It is going to be a big surprise for Di when she gets a completed quilt top next year. All I can show you is this.

Nice, huh?! I think so too.

I've done some other stuff. And got mail. But I am going to pre-write some posts for my wee holidays because I will not be spending much time on the computer between now and our return. Stay tuned to see what has been arriving and what I have been making.


Monday, 23 July 2012

New Bird in the Flock

How many of you loved  Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets line? Because I loved it. Totally, and it features in One for the Birds in several of its incarnations.

There are lots more Tufted Tweets to add to my quilt (yay!) but I have been distracted. Because there is a new bird on the block that I am desperately wanting to add to this quilt. Also designed by Laurie Wisbrun. Have you seen Perfectly Perched?! I love it! Here's one of my favourite prints.

I can't decide if I like the pattern or the incredible colour more. How about you? Well, one of you will be able to decide up close and personal, because the lovely Annie from The Village Haberdashery is offering up a fat quarter bundle to one lucky winner here on this blog. 

The giveaway is open to readers living in the UK and continental Europe only this time I am afraid, but I think there are plenty of you out there who are more than happy to put your name in the hat for this lot.

More birds on chairs. Eeeeek! To have a chance at winning this bundle, besides living in Europe, you need to do any of the following.

1. Leave a comment telling me which of Annie's coming soon fabrics you are lusting after the most.
2. Sign up for The Village Haberdashery newsletter, or already receive it, and leave a separate comment telling me so. (The subscribe link is found in the bottom right hand corner of the home page for the shop.)
3. Like The Village Haberdashery on Facebook for a third chance to win, and leave me a separate comment again telling me so.

If you are a non-reply blogger I will be unable to contact you if your number is drawn for the FQ bundle and will have to redraw. I would hate for that to happen so either make sure you are not a non-reply blogger, or leave an email that I can contact you on, thanks. 

The giveaway will close on Sunday at 6pm. As I will be on holiday I will do the draw as soon as I can after and announce the winner - but be patient please - if the sun is shining and the beach looking good there might be a slight delay. The winner's contact details will be passed on to Annie and she will contact whoever it is to get their postal address and send the bundle directly to you. (I think she is doing this to keep my hot little mitts off them.) Good luck!

Just in case you are curious, I scrolled through the 'coming soon' fabrics about five times and still have't made up my mind which ones thrill me more. I am a fabric junky!


*** The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Get a Wiggle On

Today was the first day of the summer holidays. Technically I think the plan was for me to do nothing today. Things didn't go to plan. But that's okay. The sun shone. The girls got on - mostly. In the scheme of things I would call it a pretty good day. Even if it wasn't as lazy as hoped for me.

Towards the end of the afternoon I put my foot down and told the rest of them that I was going to do something for me, and just for me. Which was a bit of a lie because I was doing something for Emily - Strawberry Patch. She is asking for help making Wiggly Bags. These are used to hold the Hickman lines for children undergoing cancer treatment. If you wish to learn more about this and the Olivia Holmes Foundation which is working to improve the environment while doctors provide first class care for young cancer sufferers then please follow this link.

All you need to make a wiggly bag is two six inch squares of fabric, four 50cm of cotton tape and an inch of sew on velcro. That's it! Emily's has an excellent tutorial on her blog to run you through the quick steps of making them. I threw together six in a very short period of time, and that included fabric delving and velcro finding - which was right on top of the boxes I was searching through and I failed to see it. Typical!

If you have the chance to make one, or more, of these wiggly bags Emily would really appreciate the support.

In other news, the disco for the Y6s went really well last night. The kids loved it. The parents survived the mind bending volume level of the music. The food was consumed and my cake was a hit. (Phew!) It took me all day to make. I am not a natural at cake decorating and when the black icing started melting I was less than pleased - to put it politely. My only worry now is Emily will want me to repeat the feat next year.

I can't show you photos of the disco as I try to avoid posting photos of children not my own without the parents' knowledge and consent, so I will leave you with a photo of Emily conquering the limbo in style.


Friday, 20 July 2012

So Proud!

Today is the last day of the school year here. For Helen it is the very last day of primary school. Such a huge occasion. To celebrate they had a leavers assembly this morning where each Y6 child featured a talent, cups were awarded, songs sang and good fun had by all.

Yes, I cried. Of course I did. My baby is becoming a young woman. And such a lovely one most of the time at that.

She has gone from this loveable baby...

... to the first day of school. (I love the seriousness in Emily's face here. She knew life was changing.) Helen could not wait to start school though.

And here she was today.

Needless to say you do want to know what she won the cup for. (Don't you?!) Helen got the Art Cup, and it was the only one she absolutely, desperately wanted to win. Can you tell from the smile on her face?! You can't see the smile on my face, but it is just as wide as Helen's. I am just so proud!


Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Matter of Trust

I often get asked about online bees. And I get told stories about them as well. I am currently in three quilting bees. When I first joined a bee I didn't really know what it was, or what would be expected from me. In a rare moment of bravery I just put my name down before I stopped and thought about it. Before I thought I wasn't good enough, didn't know enough, wasn't nice enough. For my bravery I was rewarded because that bee was Brit Bee.

Brit Bee is amazing. I not only learned a whole lot about quilting but I got eleven of the best online friends you could imagine. Supportive, funny, sarcastic friends - who are all now real life friends as well. I also learned that I was lucky, very, very lucky. Because I have heard the horror stories about people who are in bees where they send out their fabric and never get it back. Or receive blocks so poorly done that they have to resew them, or abandon them. On the other hand, you could get asked to make blocks like this.

When you join a bee you are doing so on a matter of trust. You are trusting that the other people in your group will honour their commitment, or else inform the mama and pass the mantle to someone else to takeover from them. If you can summon the trust then you just might meet amazing people like I did. You could make new friends, try sewing techniques you might never do otherwise, fall in love with fabrics that you would never have looked at twice before. Do I think it is worth the risk? Yes, I most certainly do.

Which brings us to my blocks for Miss July in Brit Bee Round 2 - Fiona. This whole matter of trust got taken a step further this month. Because Fiona trusted us with some of her most precious fabric. Fiona delved into fabrics that weren't just some of her favourites but that had memories woven into them. Her granny's natural linen table cloth. Her great great aunt's handmade lace. An old handkerchief here and vintage sheets there.

Fiona combined these precious fabrics with other low volume fabrics from her stash. Low volume indicates quiet fabrics. Then she contrasted it with pieces of high volume Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy. And she asked for a small six(ish) inch high volume traditional block surrounded by the low volume fabrics.

I absolutely loved this challenge! The different textures and weights of the low volume fabrics contrasted so nicely with the FMF. The making of these blocks was a joy from beginning to end. I just hope Fiona likes the finished results as much as I do.

My first block I used a pattern from the Farmer's Wife book. At least I think I did, because I couldn't find the book so I used one of the blocks I had made already as a guide. Only I realised that I had messed up the block and two of the HSTs shaped to look like flying geese were facing one way and two the other. I flipped a mental coin and went with this layout.

My second block was more work, but for some reason I found it endless fun. It just could be that my mojo has returned properly now because there are 82 pieces in this finished 12" block but at no point did I get frustrated. Very out of character! I supplemented Fiona's FMF with some DS of my own to give enough variety in the postage stamps. They are finished at 1" each.

From this long and rambling post you may get the idea that I am encouraging you to join a bee, form a bee, be in a bee - and you would be correct.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cottage Industry

I have actually put head down and concentrated (for a change), and all the pouches are made for Helen's teachers. Phew! All I have to do is buy some chocolates now, and put some in each pouch. Job done!

Meanwhile, the girls came home with the trebuchets they made at school. Being a politically correct, safety conscience mother I refused to allow them to use them.

Yeah right! They went to war and I only got upset when they started hitting the window with stones instead of each other.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My Face Hurts from Grinning!

Okay, my cup is full to overflowing with happy stuff here. And fabric too. Because two orders I had out there in cyberspace arrived today. Both were from Pink Castle Fabrics. One order was placed and paid for months ago but due to the complications of the fabric company not filling fabric shop orders properly I needed to wait. That hasn't made its arrival here today any less exciting.

The other order was some of my birthday spending bounty put into action. I hit the sale section at Pink Castle and it is amazing the fabrics that you can find there. Would you like to see what I got? (Honestly, you know that question was redundant because I am going to show you no matter what your answer was.

First, the boring looking ones. Lovely to have but Essex linen doesn't exactly make for a mind boggling, covetous photography. A half yard each in navy and grey.

Next the long awaited FMF. I couldn't get all the prints but what I did buy I love. I may or may not have an idea for this bundle already, but not for a while yet. Other things to do first.

And then there were the fabrics I got in the sale section. These all call to the colour addict in me.

You might notice that there are a number of other Denyse Schmidt fabrics in this haul. I might have a purpose for them as well. Maybe!

One might think that was enough excitement happening in my life in the past few days. But there's more. Really! You might remember that Cindy - Fluffy Sheep Quilting - had a contest to make a bundle of eight Kona Solids and then link your mosaic to her post. She then opened the contest to voting for the favourite bundle. I won! I know - surprised the heck out of me too! My prize is two yards of my choice of Kona solids. Well, I did think it would be silly to want anything other than the colours that were in my Sunrise mosaic, so I will be receiving a bundle of these from Cindy. And she will be listing this bundle in the shop so anyone else who wants it can order it too. This just might be my fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Worhol said everyone got.

I am sure there is other stuff to tell you, but my brain is fried on fabric goodness. I can't focus on anything else. My feast of fabric this week comes after quite a long drought. It might take me a while to get over this euphoric feeling.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Winding Up

This is the last week of the school year here. So it will be a busy one. Today is the swimming gala. We also have the sports day this week and the leavers assembly. Because Helen will be leaving primary school and starting secondary school in September. So much change! There is also the disco that the Y6 parents are hosting in the village hall for them to celebrate this momentous occasion. Oh, and her dance exam happens one evening too.

It will most certainly be busy round here. That's okay though, because it will be followed by weeks of being out of routine, travelling north, Olympic sports watching and general relaxing. Can you tell I am looking forward to that?

Meanwhile I have been contemplating fabric. Yesterday I bought three FQs from Judith (shown bottom of the mosaic), and I also received some fabric from Fluffy Sheep Quilting last week.  I got some more seeds fabric because I love is to much. They are the sort of fabrics that I love to have in my stash because seeing them makes me happy. I got these lovely fabrics, and some solids, from Cindy's shop because I won a prize from the ever funny and talented Katy over at The Littlest Thistle.

A few weeks ago she asked for suggestions of what to do with all the pin cushions and pouches she got at the Retreat. I suggested that she best have a voodoo pin cushion to deal with her less amenable colleagues at work. And I won! Yay!! I really didn't expect to really win anything because it was all good fun so imagine my surprise when she sent me a gift token for Fluffy Sheep Quilting. Huge thank you to Katy. I had a great time spending it. Katy, if you want another pin cushion I can make one with the seeds fabric as a memento.

Yesterday there was also discussion about the differences between Kona Snow and Kona White, as well as Coal and Charcoal. As I have all in my stash - Fluffy Sheep again - I thought I would show you the difference.

I have been using the Charcoal in my Framed Purse Swap purse make with the hexies but needed the Coal for a bee that I am in so I was curious about the difference myself. The coal looks lighter in the top photo than it is in actuality I think. Both are fabulous colours to have in your stash and their ability to show off bright colours is incredible. 

The Kona White versus the Kona Snow is very much a matter of preference. I needed the White for the bee I am in, the same situation as the Coal. But personally I tend to use the Kona Snow all the time and always try to have a good supply in  my stash as it is rather essential to the sewing I do. Yesterday some of the others thought that the Snow looked rather creamy, or yellowish. It might do when viewed on its own, or up against the stark white, but used in quilts it offers up a lovely mellow finish that looks white without being a hard white. You can tell I love it just by looking at some of my biggest projects. I used Snow each time.

The only step towards sewing I did today was having a dig through the stash and the zips I have in stock and thought about making some pouches for Helen's teachers as a leaving gift. I don't tend to do teachers gifts every year, but I do think a thank you at the end of her time at the school would be good. So far I have come up with these combinations, but the sewing will have to wait until tomorrow. I have to go cheer the girls on in the swimming pool now.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Friends, Food and Fabric

What a perfect day! It was wonderful to welcome so many friends to our home. To share food and laughter, and to be able to spend some quality time with such truly wonderful people. Who was here? Well, some of the nicest people in blogland, and real life too.

We had Judith (and family), Laura Jane, Nicky (and family), Terri (and family), Trudi and Jennie.

They came from far and wide. Food was made and brought, as well chairs, toys and crafts. And it didn't rain all day! It wasn't exactly warm out, but it was dry. These days that counts as a fantastic success.

And all our children mingled, played, got to know each other and got along. Best of all Judith's daughter, Shannon, gave all the other's a lesson on how to make mini models with Fimo polymer clay and that was an absolute raving crowd pleaser.

And Judith brought a selection of fabric we could buy. I ask you, could anything else have made the day just perfect?! All this fun and food, and fabric too?!!

And just in case the children were having too much fun, some others got in on the act.

It was one of the best days I have had in ages. Relaxed and happy, full of laughter, chatter and joy. Thank you to all who came. I just hope that the people who wanted to come today, but couldn't, can make it the next time round. Whenever that may be - but I certainly do hope there is a next time.


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Ready for Tomorrow

I still have no sewing to report on because yesterday we had lunch guests, and tomorrow we have many more guests. (Yay!) This has meant that I have had to clean - a lot! The trauma has been rather severe to my system, and all my sewing stuff? That has had to be put away. Into trays, boxes, bags and corners.

Yesterday was about making a nice lunch for people I didn't really know, but who proved to be very nice. I settled on home made tomato soup and my ever faithful, never fails me Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Then there was the second ice cream to produce. It was a little bit more complicated than the vanilla as I needed to make brownies for the brownie part of the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. Then chill all the ingredients for the ice cream before I could proceed. The nice thing about this recipe is not only do you get a brilliantly lush ice cream but you have lots of leftover brownies. Woohoo!

Finally, I have been churning out chocolate chip cookies because Terri wants to do a cookie swap with me tomorrow. She says hers are award winning. And she loves her baking. I don't know about the award but I do know she really does love her baking. So the pressure is on. Might make her a lemon cake in the morning too, time allowing.

There is food everywhere in this house, ready for tomorrow. Food and socialising at home go hand in hand for me. I hope I remember to take loads of photos to show you all. The weather report is looking promising so cross your fingers and toes it stays that way. But even if the rain pisses down I think we all still intend to have a brilliant time.


PS: Do you want the recipe for the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream?

And, Donna, you are a no-reply blogger so I can't email you directly - but yes, whipping cream and double cream are the same thing so if you make the Vanilla Ice Cream that is what you want to use.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I Scream, You Scream...

... we all scream for ice cream.

Yesterday, as I said, I made ice cream. Vanilla to be precise. Today I am making the brownies for the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. But that's today and it isn't done yet, because there has been much busyness going on. So I will tell you about yesterday instead.

I am not a huge food snob - well not too much. I love food. I love junky food as well as really, really good food. I hate reading food labels sometimes though. Because when I do read the label of something that I like it can put me off it. And, quite honestly, I often don't want to be put off it. Even if it isn't particularly good for me.

We all know that ice cream, in the scheme of things in life, isn't the healthiest of options. It is a treat though. And I do feel better about it if I can make it from five ingredients rather than fifteen or so.

I whipped two eggs with 3/4 sugar. (Though that amount of sugar is the Ben & Jerry's recipe amount and I actually use less.) Then I add in 16 oz of double cream and 8 oz of milk. Plus 2 tsp of vanilla. I like the vanilla bean paste as you get the nice gritty vanilla seeds in that.

That's it. If it is all blended then put it into your ice cream maker.

It takes about 20 minutes to churn. And, if your ice cream maker is designed like mine is, you can stick your finger in and taste it as it freezes. Needless to say sterilising your finger between dips! When it is ready it will be of a soft scoop consistency but if you put it into a container and pop it in the freezer it becomes nice hard ice cream - which is the way I like it. Perfect!

I got two containers 2/3 full with this recipe, just so you have an idea how much it makes. I will let the lot who are coming round here on Sunday tell you if it is any good or not. (It is!)