Sunday, 21 December 2008

Happy Christmas one and all!!

I would just like to wish all of my new (bloggie) friends across the globe
It's been a fabulous and insprirational 6 months since I joined 'blogland' and I thank all those who have made me welcome!
May all your Christmas dreams be fulfilled!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Santa & Rudolph

I thought some of my bloggie friends would like to see my twiggy santa and twiggy rudolph Christmas decorations. I first made them about 3 years ago - cute aren't they? And they turned out to be quite poular with friends and colleagues at work too - I think you know when something works don't you? Even my plumber has asked me to make a pair for him and his wife!! How about that eh and I thought it was only us girlies who were into crafty things!!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"Deck the halls ........."

Well, it feels as though it’s been ages since I last posted, or had anything to post about! Christmas just seems to have got in the way – the same for most others I suppose. If I haven’t been making curtains (yuk!), I’ve either been Christmas shopping, wrapping presents or putting in extra time at work. However, I have nearly all my Christmas presents sorted now (some home-made of course:0), although I still have to write cards. As well as the home-made pressies, I’ve also been making these few Christmas decos. They turned out rather well, if I say so myself and my intelligent sister-in-law was quite taken with them this afternoon – she’s going to see if she can interest anyone in them where she works (what a lovely sister-in-law she is). I've also made the bells in a gold colour fabric, but I didn't get around to taking a photograph of that one. Despite being pleased with the decos and the presents I’ve made, I really can’t wait to get started on my next quilt – I’ve got 2 patterns, but can’t decide which one to go for. Can I work on two at the same time, or is that complete madness – now be kind!!!
I made my first batch of mince pies this afternoon too –“it’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas!!” I’ve put most of them in the freezer, otherwise they would last about 5 minutes, although of course, it was entirely necessary to test one first (OK, or two)!!! There’s nothing I love more than to get comfy on Christmas Eve when everything is done with a mince pie or three, a large glass of sweet sherry (love it) and to sit and watch my favourite Christmas film, 'Scrooge'. We could just do with a covering of snow and it would be complete! Who knows, maybe this will be the year we’ll have a White Christmas.
I hope everyone out there is nearly ready for Christmas too and starting to get in the festive spirit (the alcoholic kind of course!!) – bye for now!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Just a quikkie!!

Having shown off my new curtains, Kathleen said that she would like to see a picture of my finished lounge, so here are a few piccies. I think it’s always difficult to take photographs of rooms and although my lounge is quite small, these photographs make it look even smaller. The size of it also makes lighting a real problem, but it gives an idea anyway. If you take a close look, you can see evidence on the foot stool that I had been doing a bit of hand stitching last night – honestly, it’s not just there for effect!!

And I took a picture of under the stairs (the stairs go off the lounge you see) where I keep my books (I love books and would probably have twice as many if I had more space)!! Also my antique ‘Singer’ is there which I just love to look at from time to time, although I can’t begin to imagine how long it would have taken to make my curtains on that!! And for those keep fit enthusiasts amongst you, you will see this is where I store my little exercise machine, which is as pristine as the day I bought it (do you get what I’m saying here)!!?? I walk past it each and every day and promise that I will ‘one day’, make use of it – my mistaken belief was that if it was left out handily on display, it would encourage me to use it every day – WRONG – I do occasionally go near it though to dust it!!! The photographs amongst the books are of my lovely older brother who graduated to become a maths teacher following a career change in his 30’s and of my eldest nephew who graduated this year in criminology – I’m such a proud auntie and love both of my nephews to bits. And then there’s a lovely old one of my mom and dad when they met in 1953 whilst doing holiday work. Anyway, this was only going to be a quickie post, so that’s the lot for now ..........

PS. Like the music??!!! It's taken me ages and ages to work out how to get it on here - but turn the volume down if you don't like it:0(

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Well, this has been my longest absence since I joined blogland – as regards postings anyway – I've still been looking!! However, I can now show my latest creation – yes, it’s a pair of curtains!! I’ve had a week off work and set myself the task of finishing painting my lounge and making the curtains. I have to say though that I HATE making curtains, but I am very pleased with the result. My lounge isn’t very big and in keeping with my preferred ‘Country’ theme, I chose a large check pattern to match the 3-piece suite I have been given by my lovely aunt and uncle.
Has anyone ever made inter-lined curtains (which these are)? They feel beautiful and it’s like having quilts at your window, which, believe me, we need here in the UK during winter months. The inter-lining (which is a bit like quilt batting) is locked to the back of the main fabric, with little stitches just catching a thread of the main fabric and then picking up a bit of the inter-lining. Stitches are only needed about every 30cms or so. Then the ordinary lining is attached in the usual way. The difficulty with curtain making is dealing with the sheer size of them in order to keep them smooth and straight for hemming and you end up either working on the floor, or as in my case, across the bed, which still isn’t big enough, and it’s back-breaking work. What you really need for curtain making is a large workroom with a very large table at waist height so that a curtain can be laid out flat to work on.
Now if anyone has taken a closer look and thinks “oh dear, she’s made them too long”, this is a design idea (not mine) – they are meant to be long so that they ‘puddle’ (No, not piddle!!) on the floor. I like the look of them and it also helps as a draught excluder. And at the top, there is a deliberate overhang above the header tape so that when they’re gathered, they form a frill effect, which again I like.
As I said before, I loathed doing them, but it was worth the effort. And now that they’re finished, I can use what little is left of my week off to do the kind of sewing I do enjoy – so that’s where I’m off to now - to soothe my withdrawal symptoms!!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Bag lady!!

I just finished this bag the other day. It's a design by Louise from my favourite fabric shop, 'White Cottage Country Crafts'. It's not on their website at the moment, but the pattern is available at the shop. I think their website is a recent addition and I would say, not finished yet, as not everything is priced up properly and their fabric range is much much more than you see on the website. I've tinkered with the pattern slightly because I wanted to use the lovely brown beaded trim I bought last week at the Malvern Quilt Festival, which, as you can see, I have put down the front. The original bag design has a flap, but that would have deflected from the trim, so I left it off .... I may put a magnetic clasp on the inside perhaps to stop it from gaping open. I love the way the handle is formed, which you can see in the next photograph, by twisting the ends over each other and then stitching them together - a clever idea don't you think and a bit different?

I added 2 pockets inside - one for my mobile, plus another one - a lady can never have enough pockets in her bag can she?!! I'm keeping this bag for me ................

but the next one is a present for my dear cousin Pauline, who will be 60 years old shortly .......... shhhhhhh, don't let her know I told her age for all to see - she'd have my guts for garters!! I purchased this pattern from a shop called 'Abigail's Crafts' and is made very simply using 9 strips from a jelly roll and, again, I strayed a little bit from the original look of the bag by adding the lovely shell buttons instead of a fabric flower on the flap. I hope dear cousin likes it - I know she has recently bought herself new shoes in the wine/purpley colour, so they should match well enough. This isn't a brilliant picture really, because the wine/purpley colour is actually alternated with sage green, not brown as they look in the photo and there's so much shine on the buttons, it's difficult to see what a lovely colour they are - never mind though - you get the idea I hope.
That's all for now folks!!

Thursday, 6 November 2008


This is too bad!! It's infectious. There I was innocently browsing Jo's blog; from there I went to Maree's blog and before you know it I've ordered a jelly roll from 'Fat Quarter World' - I just couldn't stop my fingers from pressing the 'order' button and the 'proceed to checkout' button. So now, I too have a bundle of fabric on the way to me. These are the fabrics in the jelly roll, it's called 'Tranquility' by Sandy Gervais - simply scrummy. I've convinced myself that I've bought it with a view to making it up into a quilt for someone else, but who am I kidding!!! It may never leave my side once I own it!! I may not feel so 'Tranquil' once my credit card statement arrives!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

12 Days of Christmas

I've just finished my '12 Days of Christmas' wall hanging - doesn't look too bad does it?
Thank you to Kathleen in Canada, who was kind enough to send me the magazine containing the pattern in the first place; otherwise I couldn't have done it.

I don't know though why I'm always so naive about how long things take to do. I saw this as a nice easy 'weekend project' - WRONG!! 2 weekends is closer to the mark. Still, I think it's worth it now that's it finished. I bought the lovely wire hanger from the Malvern quilt festival that I went to last Friday - they do seem quite expensive when you consider they are just a bit of wire bent into pretty shapes, but I suppose the makers have a fairly captive market don't they - hey ho!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Malvern Autumn Quilt Festival 2008

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, I went to a quilt festival – first one I’ve been to actually. It was at the Malvern Showground. The Malvern Hills has a long cultural heritage and is well-known for its dramatic hills and for its famous pure spring water. It is a very beautiful part of the country: really popular with walkers and ramblers. I went with my friend Pam and we both came away thoroughly exhausted after a great day viewing the wonderful quilts on show and touring all the stalls, deciding what to buy and trying to ignore what we couldn’t afford to buy! Having said that, I did return home with money still in my purse (pretty amazing I’d say)! We met some very nice ladies and had a lovely lunch into the bargain.

Here are some of the quilts that were on show:-

..... and here is what I bought.

the next one is a 'Nancy Halvorsen' Christmas panel

the next photograph does not do this piece of trimming any justice - I have no idea where I shall use it yet, but I simply had to buy a piece (and only a small piece, as it was quite pricey!) - maybe to trim a bag??

.... it's only the fabric here that I bought yesterday. The pattern and jelly roll I already had, but when I do get around to starting this quilt, which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it, I want to increase its size by adding extra borders, and the red fabric matches some of the strips in the jelly roll.

.... and lastly and sorry about the fuzzy photograph here, but this is Jackie who owns my favourite fabric shop, ‘White Cottage Country Crafts’. Even after looking at all the other stands at the show, I still ended up going back to theirs and spending the majority of my money there. It’s a lovely shop with friendly, welcoming staff and it’s in a very picturesque location - well worth a visit if you're ever in the area (and the lady at the front of the stall looking at fabric is my good friend Pam).

A good day all round I'd say!!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Thank you Australian Homespun!

Well, you’re not going to be seeing much of me over the next week or so! I’ve now received the 6 back-issues of my favourite craft magazine (all in one go!!!) from the guys at Australian Homespun – your generosity is incredible. I’m sure by the time I get through all of them, many more projects will have been added to my ‘to do’ list, the first one of which is this really sweet ‘Tilda’ ‘Betty and Boo’ kangaroo with her little Joey – how lovely are they?!

A very BIG thank you to Catherine Sanchez and Paul Vinall of
Homespun magazine for your kindness.
I doubt that I will actually be able to stay away from blogland for a whole week, particularly as I’ve been to a Quilt festival today (legs now dropping off and seriously broke!!), as I took some nice piccies of the quilts there on display, so will post those over the weekend hopefully.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Auntie Gwennie!

Just felt I had to do a quick post about my beautiful auntie who we buried today. At 67 she died way before her time. This photograph of her was taken when she was a young girl and I only saw it for the first time about a week ago, and although I always considered her an attractive woman, I never realised just how stunning she was. After my own mother died when I was 12 years old, my auntie Gwennie was there for me whenever I needed her and as I went through my teenage years, I could always turn to her for advice, which she gave with love and understanding. Today, her children gave wonderful and touching tributes to a terrific mother who gave herself completely to them and who they will miss very much. They were her world as they were growing up and they are all 3 a real credit to her.


Saturday, 18 October 2008

It’s here, it’s here!!!

My ‘Australian Homespun’ magazine has arrived today – yippppeee!!!! OK, “why” you ask, am I sooooo excited about receiving a magazine. Bet you think I’m a sad person don’t you? Be careful now!!! It’s been about 6 months since I last received a copy of ‘Homespun’. It’s my favouritist (is there such a word?!!) magazine ever, which I used to receive via a subscription through a UK based company. However, after not having received anything for about 3 months or so, and many phone calls, and much ‘being fobbed off’, I discovered that they had ceased trading (the real truth of the matter!). But thanks to Catherine Sanchez and Paul Vinall at Homespun magazine (love you both to bits), I now have a new subscription direct from Oz at a very reasonable rate – thank you both so much. And Paul Vinall is also arranging for me to get the 6 back-issues I’ve missed – I believe they may even be on their way to me right now – hope so anyway.

I’ve also received my first part of
Primitive Gatherings
‘Sheep in the Willow’ BOM, which I’d been waiting for, so I’m looking forward to giving that a go – doesn’t look too tasking, which is a good thing as I’m so tired – worked overtime this morning, groan!!Anyway, it’s time to go put my feet up with a cuppa and lose myself in my Homespun magazine – see ya later!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Halloween Giveaway!

Check out this great blog - Brenda at Pumpkin Patch Primitives is hosting a Halloween Giveaway and the lucky winner is in for a lovely surprise by the sounds of it!!

Julia :0)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Sweet smelling

I made 6 of these little bags this week. I embroidered a heart design on the front, lined them with a co-ordinating pink fabric and each one contains a little bag of scented rosebuds. It could either go in your lingerie drawer to make it smell sweet, or just hang on a cupboard door ..... thought they might make nice Christmas presents – what do you think?

Monday, 6 October 2008

My first quilt!!

Here it is then - my first quilt completed! It's far from perfect, but I'm very pleased with myself nonetheless. If you don't look too closely, you won't spot the mistakes ..... I SAID .... don't look too closely !!lol. It feels so nice and I keep stroking it whenever I walk past it, so does that mean that I'm mad or something??!! I suppose I must be mad, because now, I just can't wait to get started on another - I must be a glutton for punishment, but then aren't we all?