Thursday, 19 January 2017

It's My Blogaversity!!!

Oh yes, a whole year since Jen from Quilter in the Closet and her 100 Day Challenge gave me the push I needed to start my blogging career (sounds very high powered don't you think?)

How things have changed, I took a look at my first post recently, I remember I felt very shy and nervous and you can tell in the writing.  Do you think I've changed much?  Do you know I didn't even add one pic?

Well just to start today off right ................

An update on my latest quilt, the Meadow Mystery Quilt.  Of course I don't know the real layout of the quilt but this seems to be the popular choice on the Meadow Mist Facebook page.   But, before anyone mentions it it has already been pointed out I have made two mistakes the bottom of the quilt.  There is a four patch block turned the wrong way at the bottom left and a white quarter square triangle instead of a blue/grey one on the bottom right.  Now I know why I was a white one short and had to remake it.  Don't know what happened to the blue one though, that might have give me a clue.   This is the first time I done a quilt along, let alone a mystery quilt and it has been wonderful. If you haven't done one before think about doing one in the future, I have so enjoyed it, especially being part of the FB group and seeing everyone else's fabrics and blocks.  AND I believe there will be another one starting this summer, just tell me when!

I digress (unusual for me I know), I have to tell you it has been a wonderful year in many ways.  I have made so many lovely friends, there was the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop, I never envisaged taking part in any of it and I have had a blast.

So, what have I been doing since I last posted?  Well it hasn't been the best start to the year,  a very close relative became suddenly and life threateningly ill, but we got our miracle and the crisis has passed, for now anyway.  However with three parents aged 85 to 89 and all having a degree of health issues it's a case of when not if it will happen again.  So if I didn't reply to your post or make a return visit my apologies.

I have however been doing a little FMQ practise, yes I am still rubbish but I'm going to practise every week until it becomes acceptable rubbish.  Already I feel that my motions are becoming smoother and more controlled, well they should the number of Craftsy classes I have watched.

Ok then, here is the first attempt.  As you can see I practised over a couple of times on the same piece, just to get the flow of the movements really.

Then I moved on to this piece, the white stitching is a continuation of the first try, my stitching was improving although I was going over the lines a lot.  The grey stitching is when I practised a couple of days later.  On the left I was using the open toe darning foot, the circles were getting more circular, but then I changed to the bigger see through foot on the right.  I found this more difficult, the circles are bigger and the shape is not as good.  Ignore the uniformity of the stitch size if you can see it, I am using a Bernina Stitch Regulator so I take no credit for that.  The hardest thing I am finding, apart from keeping my movements at a steady pace, is planning my route.  If I was just wanting to go in a straight line two deep then I could say I've pretty much cracked it, but doing it in a cluster is hard.  I'm considering a supreme slider, but they are eye wateringly expensive,  and you know what happened when my friend Wendy leant me hers!  Didn't see it?  You can read about it here (blush blush).

Moving on I have made my bee blocks for this month,

These heart blocks are for Cyndi in Stash Bee Hive 2 which I posted here.  They are only 8 inches finished so I made two.  If you don't follow Stash Bee I suggest you pop over and have a look, you will find some great inspiration.  On the first of the month the Queen Bee in each hive posts her tutorial and states her wishes, then the rest of the month the worker bees post pics of the blocks they are sending.

This is the second one for Sharon @ Yellow Cat Quilts,  who is part of my second bee group, Bee Inspired, formed by a group of us from the New Quilt Bloggers.   Yes it's a paper pieced design, now I remember why I don't normally do paper piecing, although something tells me I will be getting a lot more practise this year.

About my new sewing room, I've been having a bit of trouble (nothing new there) with my design wall.  I read lots of suggestions and took lots of advice and decided to make it with foam insulation board, three pieces hung together using Command strips not huge, but big enough and much bigger than I have now (I don't have now, unless you count the floor or the bed).

This is how I made it,

I covered the insulation sheets using cotton wadding.

I used 505 spray to temporarily fix the wadding to the foam sheets.

Then I trimmed it to size (no I'm not left handed but I couldn't take a pic with my left hand so I had to stage it).

Cutting out the corners so it would fit nice and neat.

I taped the edges down with Duck Tape, looks a lovely neat job doesn't it?

I propped them up against the cupboard doors ready for when my husband could help me to hang them straight.

I got up the next morning...........

To this???????

And now look at them!!!

Do you know what I did wrong?  The Duck Tape sticks to EVERYTHING, except the foam boards and the wadding.  I haven't got a hot glue gun thing, and my husband really doesn't want me to get one (he doesn't trust me with one) so how do I stick the wadding on?

I would so like to have a design wall and have a posh sewing room, any advice?  

I am so dreading sticking them onto the wall.

So thats everything I've been up to, I'm caught up with some stuff and behind with others, story of my life really, I think it's called normality.

I was supposed to be queen bee in Stash Bee in February but the lovely  Cheryl swapped with me as it's a little stressful for me to be sorting out the tutorial just now, so I will be queen in May, which is my birthday month so it will be like receiving lots of presents through the post.

Thank you everyone for your wonderful support this last year, I so appreciate it, and I'm so looking forward to the next twelve months.

Until next time
Smiles from

Linking up to:
Myra @ Finished or not Friday also hosting TGIFF this week.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Taking the Challenge

Oh yes, if you didn't know Jen from Quilter in the Closet is having another 100 Day Challenge.

 The challenge is,

1) Pick 3 specific Quilty/Craft goals - finish some UFO's?  try something new?  make that baby quilt?  declutter/destash?  easy/hard?  Doesn't matter, just be specific.  Specificity helps so we don't justify changing our goals or rationalizing that we generally completed them when we only tried.

If you didn't know I took the challenge last year, and what was my number one goal?  You are reading it now.  Oh yes, Jen has a lot to answer for, it was she who unleashed me into the world of blogging.

I hit my second goal  too, but the third one I failed, 

resulting in one of my most viewed posts titled would you believe I failed............

This year I am taking up the challenge again and here are my three personal challenges:

1. I stated recently that one of my goals for 2017 was to conquer FMQ but her we are a week into January and how much time have I practiced?  Zero!  So my first challenge is to practice three times a week.

This is the result of my efforts last year, and it wasn't even my supreme slider.  You can read about it here if you want the gory details.

2. I have talked so much about my circles quilt and finished the top in October, is it completed yet? 

No, not touched.  Number two is to finish and bind circles.

3. My sister is having a big birthday this year, actually in March and I have decided to make her a quilt.  I have a pack of fat quarters from Oakshott Fabrics in my stash and will complete it by March 13th, her 60th birthday.  No pic, sorry, but  the pack is called Moonlight.

So these are my goals,  Do you have the courage to take the 100 Day Challenge?

If you would like to read all about the challenge and join in post a reply or link to Jen's post @ Quilter in the Closet  

Maybe you will start writing your own blog if you haven't got one and who knows what jen will unleash in Quilting Blogland in the next year..............

Until then
Smiles from
Kate x

Linking up to:

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

It's been an eventful holiday season......

full of good and bad.  It's too easy to focus on the bad, I haven't been on the computer much and I have got behind in my emails and visiting, maybe I'd better explain using the sandwich technique.

First some good news, you are not going to believe this, guess what I got for Christmas?  A NEW SEWING MACHINE!!!

I kid you not, and after all the fuss I made about Baby too (well, I couldn't call her anything else now could I?).  But not any old sewing machine, no, it's a..........

1937 99K Singer Sewing Machine

A gift from my daughter, isn't she thoughtful?  I'd better explain, she knew I wanted a vintage hand crank machine and found one locally, a 1929 99K (the K means it was made in Scotland, it's the same machine as the 99 I think), but but had no cover.  By the time she researched how to restore it and had worked it for several weeks she couldn't part with it, so she found another, this time with the original cover, it even has the key and the original instruction book.  It didn't have any extra feet though so she gave me the ones that came with hers, complete with labels which is which.

But, on Christmas Day my beautiful Indi had a relapse of her meningitis.


She immediately had her steroids increased to 30mg a day, a huge dose for such a little dog, although a lot less than when she was first diagnosed.  If you didn't know dogs can and do get meningitis which is almost always viral and the treatment is usually steroids (some dogs need a form of chemotherapy too).  Dogs who get meningitis are usually under a year old but a few are older, Indi was 2 years 9 months.  So far she has had two MRI scans and two spinal taps as well as another scan various blood tests and a stay in hospital, thank goodness for insurance.  If only my tale ended there, but no, she has now developed pancreatitis due to her long term steroids.  She will be ok, we caught it early,  although she is now on another three medications.

Ok, some more good stuff.  Guess what I was doing over the holidays?  You won't believe this but after talking about it for nine months I have finally..........

finished my sewing room!   It's not very big and alright, it's not quite finished, it needs some more storage boxes and I have ahem, a little more sorting and tidying to do, and my design wall is causing one or two problems, but I do have furniture.   Want a tour?

This of course is the wonderful horn table.  I had to order a new insert for Baby but unfortunately it was a smidgeon too big so I had to send it back, I am just waiting for it to be returned.  There is room for my big cutting board and it is also where my rulers go.  Just don't look under the table, that's still WIP land.

My lovely chair, beats the old dining chair I used to use, the seat tilts, the back tilts, and it goes up and down and round and round,  wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ikea Kallax units, a four by two and a two by two, lots of cubes for my storage boxes.  I had some of these already and bought a few more, there are two Ikea large boxes in the middle for big cuts and backing pieces.  The medium size have individual colours in, well, most have two colours in until I get a few more.  One has solids, one has large scraps and the smaller ones have either WIP's or equipment in, it's work in progress just now.  On each shelf I can get two large boxes, or one large and two small, or four small.   On the top is my tabletop ironing board, if I need a bigger board I use the household one but the small one works most of the time.  You can see my new vintage Singer machine on top complete with cover.

Billy bookcase, this is my craft book collection, mostly quilting with a few embroidery, my machine manuals and a DMC colour chart.  I keep my old iPod here with the dock, I quite like some low volume music when I stitch but anything else and I loose concentration.  Notice the cake tins that are not to be used as cake tins I received from my husband?  The top one is full of safety pins for layering quilts, the next one has all sorts of little things thrown  stored in there and the larges two are full of small scraps.  Next to it is my embroidery stand.

This is where the design wall will be, on the right hand wall when entering the room and next to the table, but I'm having a bit of trouble, I'll keep that for another day.

The cupboard is another WIP, it still needs some organisation, but I have a four by one unit here.  At the moment it has some WIP's and UFO's and assorted odds and ends, but Rome wasn't built in a day and wait until I get some quilts up, it will look stunning, the room, not the cupboard I mean.

Sewing?  Yes! I did get a little done, 

I finished the Meadowmist Mystery instructions for December.  Only I seem to have lost two of my blocks, haven't a clue where they are and yes, I'm sure I did four each of the second and third one.  This is why I need to be more organised, if I had put them straight into the box I wouldn't have lost them, I probably picked them up with some other stuff, I'm just trying to remember what else I was working on.

I did a little more stuff too but some is secret so you will have to wait until later in the month and some is barely started, although you may have noticed something on the design wall..........

So that was my Christmas and New Year holidays, the good the bad, and the indifferent.   We all have our coping mechanisms and one of mine is cleaning and reorganisation, this time my sewing room reaped the benefit.   One thing you can be sure about though, in this life everything is transient and next week or next month Indi will be much better, my sewing room will be more organised, and I will have done more sewing.

So until then,
Smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with
Lorna @ Let's Bee Social
Kelly @Needle and Thread Thursday
Sarah @Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF hosted by Laura @Quokka Quilts
Amanda Jean @Crazy Mom Quilts