Sunday, 11 July 2010

Planes, Trains and Wagon-mobiles

Life kind of speeds up at the end of term don't you think? So much packed into the last two weeks, but the delicious promise of holiday and lazy time at the end of it all makes it bearable. This end of term is marked by lots of comings and goings all around me, hubbie on endless business trips, a much anticipated visit from an old overseas friend...and the excitement this weekend of new shiny wheels to take on our family holiday.

We took delivery of a shiny red wagon to transport the kids and the many bags of stuff that they always have in tow from our holiday caravan up over the dunes to the beach. We have coveted a wagon like this for 4 years, watching others wheel easily over the sand, kids smiling and laughing as we trudged through the shimmering heat with bags over the shoulders and a kid tucked under each armpit yelling!!( them and us!)

The shiny, red 1950's ness of our wagon inspired me to dig out a WIP that never really got off of the ground. It started as a boyish homage to Lucienne Day's style, but something just never clicked when it was made up on the linen background. I took it to bits, reassembled it on a fabulous blue Kona Chambray that just calls out to be bedlinen. I also have acquired a rustier red solid in the intervening weeks and months so mixed that in with the bright red I began with.

Now it's really working, It's funny how just a few tweaks can make it all OK. I have another sunny afternoon of applique planned today!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Life in Soft Focus

There's something about a prolonged period of heat and haze that can start to blur the edges of life a little. If I had to live a film-life it would be a Merchant Ivory kind of Edwardian life, all crisp white cotton summer dresses and gin and tonic on the veranda of a Thames side villa whilst bees lazily drift by amongst the roses ....................ummmmmmmmmmm.

But the last few weeks of lovely warm lazy days, and the promise of the summer stretching ahead is giving me something of the merchant ivories. In the vase on my kitchen table is a flower that sums up this feeling exactly, the peony. I love them, unashamedly pretty, only just the right side of vulgar pretty, lazy hazy unashamedly pink.

This weekend I have been working on an unashamedly pretty pink baby quilt for a much anticipated baby due this summer. It's been the perfect project for the weather.

The fabric stripes are Kona Snow, Kona Ash, a selection of Sevenberry florals and spots ( such lovely cottons) and the elephant and mouse print is from pygletwhispers on etsy.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New New New!!!

This week the postman has been knocking at least once a day with my favourite USPS envelopes in hand!

I have had a bit of a re stash in readiness for a summer of full-on creative fun. So far my summer sewing plans include; Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets

Heather Ross' Far Far Away II (where is the rest of my fabric from this line Mr Postman? Am starting to worry!)

Cosmo Crickets Early Bird ( you really did have to be an early bird for this on the Hawthorne Threads site, it was sold out in a flash!)

A fantastic Wine Gums inspired collection of colour

I have lots of swirling ideas for each of these little bundles of promise. I find that the 15mins-each-way, twice-a-day walk to school is the perfect time for cogitation, quiet baby in the buggy watching the world go by, sun shining and mind whirling, anyway off I go to school again, just 3 more weeks of idea generation before the summer holidays begin!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Do you Have Plans for the Summer?

It's that time of the year, the 'do you have plans for the summer?' conversation crops up a lot. The sun is shining, we're all counting down to the end of term, sports days and village fetes and holidays to pack for.

I have a lot of non-plans for the summer, I don't want 'playdates' and organised clubs, I don't want the kids to have to do anything at all. I love non-plans, I love the promise of the day stretching ahead where there's really nothing much that needs to be done, perhaps a little baking, a potter in the garden, maybe we'll scooter down to the park, feed the ducks, take a walk in the woods. But mostly we will potter, pootle, muddle about, make dens, play games, do projects like last years epic 'make a working cable car from the top of the slide to the football net for the playmobile people'.

....and whilst the kids have their fun, mummy has some quilty pleasures planned of her own. Three quilts all based and ready to hand stitch lazily whilst dallying in a deckchair

The handsewn-hexagon project rumbles on.....

And a lot of very exciting new fabric to turn into quilts over the summer, which I will show you tomorrow.......yummy!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

I'm a Little Folks Winner! Yipeee!

Look what the postman bought me today, unexpected mail is the most fantastic isn't it?! A delicious parcel of ready cut Little Folks squares that I won in a giveaway on the Izzy Inspired Blog last week. I was SO happy to win this. I don't know why, but it took me ages to fold and buy my first stash of Little Folks. I think I was a bit intimidated by the Voile and the gloriously clashy colours (and the price). But when I did buy some I ADORED it. I made this quilt, and some scarves, and then it was gone! I decided I need to re stash ( I have learnt to lay down like good wine my favourite fabrics, I am a Flea Market Fancy veteran with sadly empty shelves of the coveted prints!). I entered this giveaway and I won! It's like Izzy knew just how much I loved it and how I still had other Little Folks quilts inside that needed to come out. I think I will do a Film in the Fridge inspired one with these..........but if I use them I'll be without again.......Thank you Izzy Inspired!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

In Praise of Hex's and Handsewing

I have been away from home and my sewing machine a lot over the last few weeks as I have been travelling backwards and forwards across the country visiting my Dad in hospital and my Mum alone at home without him. It's been a pretty upsetting and unsettling few weeks. In the past when people ask me where I find the time to make quilts, I laughingly tell them it keeps me sane. When life is a bit uphill, sewing really does do that for me, it's critical. On another long journey in the car I got to wondering why.

My project of choice has been hand sewing these gorgeous curved hexagon blocks ( they're missing the final bits that makes them hexagonal at the moment!), carrying the pieces pre cut with me, in my little sewing pouch, stitching, stitching whenever I get 5 mins, whenever it all feels a bit overwhelming, when the anxiety starts to creep in, when my mind starts to worry and whirl. The comfort of hand stitching, the rhythmic, unthinking repetition is so soothing. The small thrill in seeing a block come to life through your stitches, just a small happy moment in a lot of dark worry and stress. The joy of making something by hand is elemental. Before I made things I didn't feel a lack of it, now I make, I can't live without it.

There is also something so timeless about stitching, generations of women have found this same solace in quiet, unobtrusive stitching, slowly making objects full of love and thought and contemplation. My Dad is finally on the mend and normal life can start to take over again. Thank you Quilting for sustaning me.

p.s These stars will eventually be hexagonal. I made them using a cutting template from here, cut with a 28mm rotary blade and sewn by hand, it's a great traveling project if you're planning a holiday (more fun than a hospital visit!)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Come On England!

My boys are big,huge, football fans, huge. My Little Man said he wanted England bunting. Being a bit picky on the nylon front I couldn't bring myself to buy the flimsy nasty stuff at the petrol station for a tenner. I figured I'd make some. Little Man loved it, but Big Man said it was a bit 'Cath Kidston Football Bunting'. I don't think thats a good thing if you like your football, but heh, I took it as a compliment and I can just about bear it up in my sitting room for the next few weeks! Come on England!