Thursday 28 April 2016

Blogging Tutorial - changing the width of your blog

Yes, here I go again sharing my new found knowledge.  This time it's about the way the blog looks, you see a few weeks ago, and after taking advice from others, I started making my pics extra large, and yes, it is a good tip, it makes my pics look so much better and readers can see the detail more easily, without having to zoom in.  

There is a but, I noticed my pics were too wide and protruded into my side bar.   It looked all higgledy piggledy and messy, covering the side bar stuff, not good.  I had a search around, a bit of play, Eureka!   Much better.

This is how I did it, I can only show you in Blogger but other platforms should be similar.

We are going into Template this time, see it on the left highlighted in orange?  This is the page you get.  See the  orange  button, 'Customise' under the 'Live on Blog' pic? Click on that.

So here we are in the designer part.  On the left there are the options, we want ‘Adjust widths’.

See how the main bit and the side bar are running together?  That is what is happening on your blog, so let's change it.  See the slider at the top?  That's the bit we need to change.  To the right of the slider there is a white box which has number 950, that is the default setting.  

You can either  grab the slider and move it along to the right or click a bit further along the grey bar, keep clicking until you hit 1060.   It isn’t scary, nothing will happen to your blog unless we apply it.  See what has happened to my blog now?  Much better, nice and neat.    If its not quite right for you, slide it along a bit more, or a bit less, until it is right for you.  Don’t make it too wide though or it won’t all show on the screen.

All that's left to do is click on the orange button, top right ‘Apply to Blog’.  Now click on the blue one just to the left a  bit, 'Back to Blogger'.
That’s it.  You did it, another skill learned, and  the more you do the easier it will get.  Now congratulate yourself and have a well deserved cup of coffee and you earned that piece of cake too.  Oh, go on then, have a glass of wine instead, you deserve it.

I'll be back with another fix soon.  If there is any subject you would like me to cover, let me know.  I can't promise anything, but if I don't know I will try to find out, and we can learn together.

Edit  For those who wanted a tutorial on Screenshots, please find a link on my Blogging Tutorials page.


Tuesday 26 April 2016

A Finish, good news and bad

Oh yes, in the net! My Sticks and Stones quilt is finished, and only 11 days late for Jen’s 100 Day Challenge. This was a UFO, which became a WIP and is now my fourth finish of the year.

The fabrics are about three years old and came from a range called Karavan from Westminster Fabrics.

I chose a solid for the binding which is almost a perfect match

I used one of the fabrics for the back.

It is quilted in the ditch which is fine for the wadding used, however, I do plant revisit this quilt in the next few weeks and use it to practice my FMQ. There are lots of small blocks to practice on, I thought if I coordinated it by, say doing ribbon candy on all the long skinny blocks, and maybe pebbles on all the small blocks it would work. Any thoughts?

The pattern is quite old by Black Cat Creations.

This is a very economical pattern, from one fat quarter you get enough pieces for one complete 10 inch block, 1 B block 10 x 6 inches, 1 C block 10 x 6 inches, and 1 D block 10 x 4 inches with next to no waste. These form the ‘stone' blocks, add a ‘stick’ of fabric 10 x 4 inches and you have three 10 inch (finished) blocks ( by stitching a B or a C to a D, or a stick.) Theoretically a baby size takes five fat quarters, four for stone blocks and one for sticks giving 12 blocks, I found it is improved with six fabrics for this size. The pattern does include borders too but I thought it would be too much with this choice of fabrics.

I did a posh photo too, He He!

The I remembered the matching cushions, which are just cushion fronts just now.

The elephants are bonded appliqué hand stitched.

The cushion fronts are in three colour ways.

I like the yellow one best.

The bad news? Well, I thought I would make a record of all the processes of using the binding tool I blogged about here. I took my time, and lots of pics, checking them on the camera as I took them. When I loaded the pics in to the computer……… they weren’t there????????

All I can think of is my CF card must have either been full, or, it wasn’t in fully. I could NOT believe it…….. I was on my hands and knees on the floor, getting the best light, with the camera around my neck holding the binding tool, taking pics with one hand......... 

SO disappointed…… it will be a while before I get another chance to use it I think. But it worked great, I will be using it for all of my binding now it is so good.

Look out for my next post, changing the width of your blog space, on Thursday.

Linking up with

Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts Lets Bee Social

Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread Thursday

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

TGIFF hosted by Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches

Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

Until next time
Smiles from

Friday 22 April 2016

I've been playing with my scraps

I've had such a good day I simply had to share it, but first......

Thank you, to everyone who has sent me lovely comments and emails and everyone who are now following me, and reading me, I am thrilled to little mint balls.   You have made me very happy!

I haven't had much chance to sew this last week, so I decided to rectify that and layer my City Lights quilt.  The only thing is I wanted to make a scrappy panel for the back and before that I had to make the binding.

This is what is left in the kit for the scrappy binding, there was sure to be extra for the panel.  Wrong, by the time I stitched it all together leaving a few inches extra there was only 3, 2.5 inch squares left, and I couldn't use them, just in case my calculations were off.  So, what was left?

That is all, the selvedge scraps of various widths, not enough to make a panel, sad.  But, I read about lots of quilters who use selvedges, could I do that?  I love improv quilts, I have a books on modern quilting and a Craftsy class, but you know what, I decided just to give it a try.  As they say God loves a trier, and my Dad always said "Our Kathleen is very trying".   And the Oakshott fabrics are so beautiful..........  So I just started stitching strips together.

Then I started cutting it up and adding bits, but I forgot to take pics as I was in doing mode not thinking mode.  I ended up with this......

So I kept on stitching random bits together.......

I wasn't sure where to go from here, this is harder than it looks.........

This is what I ended up with.  I didn't mean to stitch a triangle but that's what I got, AND I really enjoyed myself.  It looks better than in the pics, I plan to add a border (surprise) and put it on an angle, and make a cushion to feature the lovely fabric.    Of course, I could always cut it up and stitch it together some more, yes?

This is all I had left.  I may even try to salvage some of them for the cushion, What do you think?

And I forgot about the City Lights quilt.  The binding is made though, and I will use my solids collection for a feature panel for the back, but that will be next week.

Just to let you know, due to the positive response I have had to the 'add a button' post from yesterday I am intending to do more basic tips for new bloggers, so do come back if you are interested.  If there is any subject you would like me to cover, let me know.  I can't promise anything, but if I don't know I will try to find out, and we can learn together.

AND,  Thank you to everyone who has told me about the New Bloggers Bog Hop, I have now signed up.  Are you all trying to tell me something????????

Smiling happily and doing a little dance,

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Blogging tutorial, grab a button

Ok, all you people who know me can stop laughing now, I'm not known for being 'techy'.  This is for a fellow new blogger who uses Blogger and who wants to know how to grab a button and, yes, I know I only learned a couple of days ago but it will also act as a prompt for me if I forget, which is why I made it an idiots guide, my level.  If you know all about buttons then you may want to skip this post, the title says it all.

Most importantly,  I have to say thank you to Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for giving me permission to use her Needle and Thread button in this tutorial.   I salute Kelly and all the other wonderful quilters who give us all the chance to link up and visit, get to know each other, make new friends, learn, share, and grow.  Kelly's Needle and Thread button is on the right sidebar along with Lorna's Let's Bee Social and Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?   More to be added later.  Please check them out if you haven't already done so, and join their linky parties, they are so much fun.

And now without further procrastination...........

First go to the site and find the button you want, underneath it has a box with jumbled writing in, that’s the code, all you do is select it and copy, make sure you highlight ALL of it or it won’t work (yes I messed up first time)

Next open blogger and go into Layout

At the right side you will see add a gadget

Just click the add a gadget box and you get........

Nearly there, click HTML/JavaScript

Click in the box and paste the code you copied from the button and hit save.

You can add text in the Title box but remember in will appear on the blog, I went back and added 'test' so I knew which one it was, and which box I was working with.

This is it at the top.   Just click and drag it to where you want it to go.

Now its at the bottom, the one that says test.  Click Preview to check it's where you want it to be on the blog,  if it's not drag it elsewhere.  

Now click on the 'Edit' in the box..........

 and delete the world you typed into the title box so it won't show up on the blog then save.  Or leave it if you want it to show.  

If you changed your mind about the button click remove. 

If you are happy with it click save arrangement at the top right, where the preview button is.

There it is on my blog on my blog.  It will show on every post, including all the old ones.

I hope this all makes sense, I tried to do it logically with lots of pics to make it easy.  Hope you enjoyed this, and if it helps one new blogger then it was worth doing.

Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread Thursday

Smiles from,

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Warts and all!

But first I HAVE to tell you, I did it!!!

Oh yes, after searching and reading I found what I wanted and I’m doing a happy dance.

Can you see what is in the right column?  Thats right, BUTTONS, for some of my favourite (but not all yet) linky sites.  I can finally say ‘Thank You’ to all of those wonderful quilters who host linky parties and enable me, as a new blogger, to meet all you wonderful people in blogging land.   It was another case of what if, what if I messed up, what if I lost my blog, could it somehow mess up my computer?  My ‘just do it’ motto of the year came to the fore.  Oh yes, I think this motto may just become permenant.  

Can you see what else is there?  BLOGLOVIN, you can now click to follow me, easy peasy, and now it says I have 11 followers, I am SO excited, so welcome to you all, you have made me so happy, thank you.  If you don’t follow me (yet) then I hope you will consider it, but thank you for reading here anyway.

Speaking of following, I had a bit of trouble, probably my fault but I joined Google+ and had a few followers, then I got an email from Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches saying I’d turned into a no reply blogger and she kindly sent me a link on how to change it.  I just found out I left Google+, and lost my followers, so sad, and so sorry if that includes you. I probably messed it up myself but I am starting to accept its ok not to be perfect, I'm not aspiring to be Mary Poppins after all (who is practically perfect in every way).  Blogger doesn't always send me emails of comments either, so if I haven't responded to you in the past my apologies, and if you are a no reply blogger I will post on the blog.  

But now I have to show you where I have been sewing over the winter.

Yes, it's the dining room. 

As promised,this is my sewing room.   Don’t get too excited as it is very much a work in progress.  It was a bedroom which doubled as a sewing room but now the bed has gone this is my big chance to get it right.  It is quite small, but all mine so a bonus, I know I am lucky to get a room all to myself just for sewing. 

There are storage possibilities once I have cleared out the cupboard, yes it is messy but to end up with my perfect room I have to start by showing the before photos so you can see the room warts and all.

Recently my fabrics have ended up here...... 

and here….

My Horne cabinet I bought second hand last year.  It was a bargin price but apart from not liking the colour there just doesn't seem to be enough space for me to sit, and the machine is too far away.  To use it I have first to move the cutting board and rulers.  

The light is also a magnifier, and this is my second machine, an inexpensive Brother for taking to class.  It wouldn't break my heart if anything happened to it but it would if anything happened to my Bernina.  

 my books are mixed in with cookery books, and stuff in the dining room............

just below my favourite novels by Diana Gabaldon.  No I don't read these, they might get damaged, I have them on my kindle too.

More books, it makes it hard to see what I have and haven't got when they are split up, and I often have to go searching.

 I just got this though, I do have more threads, this was just for effect, honest.

So, more or less a  blank canvas, here's how I see it. 

  1. It’s north facing, so poor light
  2. Over the garage and so quite cold in winter, even with the radiator on
  3. The sloping ceiling, while aesthetically pleasing limits storage possibilities.
  4. Odds and ends of furniture and poor storage.
  1. New ceiling lighting (expensive), or lamps for extra light
  2. Purchase an electric fan heater for winter use, reasonable expenditure,  running costs only when room is used.
  3. Live with it, change to another room
  4. Complete restyle.  My friends husband who designed kitchens and bathrooms has offered to look at it and suggest various options.  Break out my piggybank and give myself a budget (Ikea).  Sell the Horne cabinet, get rid of the old drawers.

Lighting is a problem throughout the year and it is no fun to sew in a dark, cold room in winter.  I am presently camped out in the dining room with a complaining husband.  Although it would be a big investment to have new lighting installed it is a much better solution than a stronger  light and several lamps with trailing wires.

Even with the lighting sorted, I can’t spend hours sewing in a cold room.  Fan heaters are reasonably priced and would come in handy if the heating ever broke down.

I can’t do anything about the ceiling.  Husband did offer to swap (south facing room, lots of light, warm, less space), but he uses the room for work and book writing, he also feels the cold so a no starter.  My friends husband who designed kitchens and bathrooms has offered to look at it and suggest various design options.  

I can break out my piggybank and give myself a budget.  Sell the Horne cabinet, get rid of the old drawers.  Utilise the built in wardrobe.

Keep it simple, what do I need, tables for my sewing machine, cutting board and tabletop ironing board which could possibly be adapted to layer quilts.  Storage space for fabrics, equipment, books and patterns, etc.

Declutter and destash, I don’t have an excess of furniture or knick knacks in the house, why do I hold on to fabric, patterns, books, and equipment I will never use?  

The first thing I’ve done is get a quote from am electrician for LED ceiling lights, the little round ones with natural light.  Yes, it is expensive, and a bit more than I thought, but I think the investment will be worth it.  

I will keep you posted of the progress but I think it will be a couple of months before the room is finished, this is one project I don’t want to rush.  Until then there is always the dining room.

I can’t have a post with no quilt pics, so, these are what I found when sorting out the ‘soon to be a proper sewing room’.

As you can see they are matching (soon to be) cushions for the Sugar and Spice quilt.  There is a pic of the quilt in the last post if you missed it.  I also found three lovely soon to be cushion tops which match a WIP and I'll show you those next time.

This post I am linking up with 

Until next time
Smiles from

Thursday 14 April 2016

I failed……….

In January Jen, Quilter in the Closet, issued a 100 Day Challenge, choose three quilty/craft goals to complete in the 100 day timescale.  Examples were declutter/destash, finish a UFO, try something new, that sort of thing.  I rose to the challenge.  I posted on Jen’s blog, I didn’t have a blog, or at least I had only just started one but hadn’t posted and had no idea how it worked.  My goals were, in reverse order:

3. Start the blog and post once a week.
Did it! My first post was Tuesday 19th January, it was quite short, no pictures and 
explained who I was and why I was starting.  This is my 15th post, about one a week.

2. Finish quilting my Sugar and Spice quilt part done for several months, closer to a year actually.  You see it needed FMQ and I hadn’t done any before, scarey.  I practiced, I practiced some more, I ruined my friends supreme slider by getting it caught and ripping a big chunk out of it (blush, blush).  In the end I took courage in both hands and followed my motto for the year, ‘just do it’.  Did it!  It was just a loopy swirl, nothing special, but it looks fine.  Here it is

1. Complete the top, layer, quilt my Sticks and Stones quilt………..Failed, miserably (cries into a hankie).  I have finished the top, it is layered, but only part of the quilting  has been done (sobs, uncontrollably).  No excuses, yes I have been busy, but aren’t we all?  I don’t have the excuse of children to look after, just my two dogs, oh! and a husband of course, and I work, but part time, but I still failed.  So sorry.  Here is a pic of how it is now, on the sewing machine.

On the plus side, I’m having a great year, craft wise anyway.  Time to list what I have achieved this year.

I quilted and finished a wallhanging with my Global Quilt Challenge blocks and for the first time ever spiral quilting it.

Finished the Sugar and Spice quilt with FMQ for the first time.

Started my City Lights quilt from scratch completing the top.

Made two blocks for a group quilt then stitched the blocks together, added the borders, spiral quilted it and added the binding using a binding tool for the first time ever.

Made two thread catchers, one for me,

and one as a gift.

Progressed my embroidery project 

Started this blog.

So, although I failed I am pleased with my progress this year to date.  Starting the blog has increased my productivity so much, I don’t think I would have accomplished as much without it so I am one happy bunny.

BTW I had a great time last weekend at Higham Hall.

This is last week...

and this is the progress I made, I removed the green stems.

I learned silk shading.

and Battlement Couching.

I progressed in other areas too, I love the clusters of french knots.

The challenge may be over but there is still lots to be done, 
1 .City Lights needs to be finished by mid May 
2. Sticks and Stones needs to be finished 
3. My embroidery needs attention before my next weekend in July 
4. I have only made one ugly Christmas sweater block and I need 16  

These are my personal challenges by July 1st and I will keep you updated on my progress, after all, I can’t stop bloggng now can I?

I was going to show you my sewing room but I've ran out of time...........

Smiles from