Sunday, 13 July 2014

Little patchwork bags for little girls

This afternoon I finished the second of two patchwork tote bags I promised to make for my granddaughter to give as party gifts to her little friends.

As both 4 year olds have short names I was able to applique them onto the front of their bag.

I always have a stash of 2.5" squares, fusible webbing and suitable pieces of fabric for linings and handles so everything was to hand to make the bags.

Here they are:

Little granddaughter was very pleased with them.  Nice and colourful and just right to hold a 4 year old's treasures.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Sewing with my daughter

Over the past few weeks I have had a few great sessions sewing with my daughter.
She has always enjoyed seeing the quilts, cushion and bags I have made but doesn't sew herself.  I was thrilled when she suddenly asked if we could make two cushions together as a "Thank you" gift to the Nursery where our little granddaughter has been a pupil for the past 18 months.  She will be going to "Big School" in September so my daughter wanted to mark that end of an era with a gift the future children at the Nursery could enjoy and came up with the idea of cushions that could be used in the Home Corner or the Reading Corner.

Caroline looked through my stash of fabrics and we came up with two ideas.
One featured a panel I had, a cute Daddy Bunny pushing his babies in a wheelbarrow. This became the centre of a log-cabin design.

Daddy Bunny cushion:

Then we made an Owl cushion based on a lovely Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie fabric
A piece of this became the centre of the design and we framed it with two borders.

And here they are, side by side:

Caroline handed them in to the Nursery staff on Monday and they were thrilled.  Our granddaughter was also delighted, especially with the idea that Mummy and Granny had made them.
Granny was also delighted that Caroline not only suggested the idea but that we did them together.  I even overcame my fear of putting in zips and added zips to the bottom of each cushion as I am sure they will have lots of washes!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Soy Amado Blocks catch up

June rushed past in a blur!  I was busy doing so many things that are not quilt-related but I did finish the last of 6 Soy Amado blocks I was making for Alison's project.

A couple of weeks ago I posted them to her.

Here they are:

I was very pleased with them all, nice and bright, which will hopefully add a cheerful note to a Mexican child's bed.

I was thrilled when I looked at Alison's blog yesterday (Little Island Quilts) and discovered she had sewn all 6 blocks into her quilt Soy Amado 47 which you can see on her blog and also on her Flickr page.  My four Star blocks have made the corners of the quilt and the other two appear in it too.

I have so enjoyed making the blocks and am full of admiration for all Alison's hard work in assembling all those random gifted blocks into marvellous quilts for such a worthy cause.

Hope to write another post soon to show other projects I have completed.  However, it is Wimbledon! And tennis takes priority at this time of the year!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Thrifty finds and a little mending

I always enjoy poking around Charity Shops, especially when I am visiting different parts of the country.

On our recent trip to Canterbury I spent a happy hour wandering around the many Charity Shops they had, including an Oxfam book shop where I found an excellent copy of a children's song book, music as well as words.  Lovely to keep at home for when our 4 year old granddaughter visits.

In another shop, one which was aptly devoted to a children's charity, I found a little girl's pretty pink duvet cover and matching pillow case set.  The design was fairy princesses and castles which was very appropriate for Little Granddaughter who loves anything pink and princesses are high on the list too.  Reasonably priced so I bought it as a little gift from Canterbury. Spare bed linen for children is always useful.

Isn't it pretty?
 I washed it yesterday and as I ironed it this morning I discovered a little hole in the duvet cover.  No problem as I knew I could cover it with a little heart shaped applique. 
Took about 15 minutes, and here it is:

Can you spot my applique?  It's the heart directly above the princess's head.  I used Bondaweb and tiny hand blanket stitch in a matching embroidery floss.  Hope our little girl likes it too.
I pass on a lot of things to our local Charity Shops so it's nice to find useful bargains myself.  I am a fan of "making do and mending" and not throwing away items that still have plenty of life in them.  So my two Canterbury finds fitted my bill exactly.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Poppies for Remembrance

Yesterday was a very important day in our country's calendar. 
6th June 2014 was the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings, also known as D-Day, when the Allied invasion of Normandy during WWII began.  This eventually lead to the end of the war and meant that my generation was able to grow up in a peaceful Britain.  We owe everything we hold dear to those gallant men who fought and, in many cases, died that we could be free.

My newly planted pot by our front porch was appropriately flowering yesterday, in time for those celebrations.
On the sewing front there has been a little hand blanket stitching taking place during our few days away in Kent.  Whilst we were resting before dinner I managed to do a few more stitches and completed almost three of the seventeen Sunbonnet Sue blocks I need for the baby quilt I am currently making.
Here they are:

I love hand sewing so this is not a chore, although I do need to get a move on with these blocks now and start to put the top together.  I will be hand quilting it too so lots to do and the baby this is intended for is due this month. No pressure there then!

I have been continuing to admire Alison's QAYG quilts for her Soy Amado Project.
Each one is completely different and she has now finished 35 quilts!  Alison turns these quilts out so rapidly it just amazes me.  If you haven't seen her quilts, do take a look at her blog:

I have 5 blocks ready to send and one more I want to complete before I post them to Alison.

Off to do more blanket stitching!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

More decluttering and Gift Aid

I had a very successful morning last Thursday. Normally I am at my Patchwork Group meeting but had to give it a miss as my husband needed the car.

So I decided to use the unexpected time to complete the clearing out and decluttering of my wardrobes in our bedroom.  DH handed down all the things in the top cupboards before he left so I didn't have to struggle going up and down the set of steps to reach things down.  The bedroom floor was covered with a random mess of handbags, scarves, cloth bags, all sorts of precious memories such as the lacy hand knitted shawl I made for our son and the lacy hand knitted shawl my grandmother made for one of my nieces.  Even some vases!

So I had a thorough sort out. I was quite ruthless and my the end of the morning I had a large bag of rubbish for the bin and two carrier bags of things to take to the Charity Shop. Over the years I have found that a good rule to follow with decluttering is to immediately take bags of clutter to the Charity Shop.  That way there is no chance that you will have second thoughts and the decluttered items get out back into your cupboard. So, next day off they went to the local Hospice shop.

In the UK we have an excellent idea called Gift Aid. If you are a tax payer you can make arrangements with charities so they can claim an extra 20% on your items that they sell.  So if the Charity Shop sells £100 of your unwanted decluttered belongings they earn an extra £20 making a grand total of £120 for the good cause.  I have Gift Aid arrangements with three Charity Shops in my town. As I declutter I visit each one in turn, donating those particular things and giving the shop permission to use our Gift Aid arrangement.  I have no idea how much money the shops earn from my unwanted goods but the Hospice shop emails me a note ( I think every quarter) and tells me how much extra cash they have earned from my Gift Aid. I didn't think I had taken so many items into the shop in the past three months but last week I received an email which said they had gained an extra £13 from my donations.  This was a real surprise to me....... £130 for that good cause from a few no longer needed things!  I tried to think back. What had I taken into the shop? About 7 T-shirts which no longer suit me, a couple of paperbacks and perhaps a couple of pairs of shoes? It's so good to know that your decluttering means money for very well worthwhile causes. A great incentive for me to carry on gradually going through all my cupboards and drawers and getting rid of things I NO LONGER NEED!

I read a post on a decluttering website last week where the author stated that it is OK to give away/ pass on/ throw out things that you have been given but actually don't want or need.  This is actually quite a hard thing to do, especially if, like me, you were brought up in post war Britain where nothing was thrown away, everything was used and recycled.  However, since my recent campaign of having a major decluttering I have given several unwanted presents away.  I rarely use scented candles but had acquired a collection of fancy wrapped boxes of them. So I passed them on as Raffle prizes.  Out of my house but hopefully now being used and enjoyed by someone who likes to light scented candles in their house! And on Thursday I finally threw away a pot plant that has languished on my bay window for several years!  How crazy is that?  I never liked the plant, it was always straggly and looked messy but because it had been given to me I felt honor bound to keep it. I cannot even remember who gave it to me! But, hot on the heels of my major wardrobe decluttering success I took the bull by the horns and threw the dreary straggly plant into our green recycling bin.  Now it will be made into compost so nicer and better loved plants can be grown.

So, my Decluttering Tips are:

1.  Take small steps: one drawer or one section of a cupboard at a time. That way you will complete
     the task and feel successful.
2.  Give yourself permission to pass on unwanted gifts.
3.  Take the decluttered items to the Charity Shop straight away (or throw into the bin!) before you
      have time for second thoughts.
4.   Make sure you deal with mail the day it arrives: junk mail in the recycling bin, bills paid
      immediately, statements etc filed today. Otherwise you will end up with a heap of unsorted
      paperwork like me! That's another of my tasks!

Have a great Decluttering Sunday!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A very PINK Doll's quilt

We recently stayed with friends in Amsterdam and we met their delightful grandchildren again.  The little girl is now 3 years old and loves her dolls and soft toys, wrapping them up and taking them for walks in her doll's pushchair. 

As a little Thank you to Granny and Grandpa I decided to send some small gifts for the children, including a Doll's quilt for Eden-Rose. She loves PINK!  The day we saw her she was dressed head to toe in pink so of course I had to make the quilt very pink too!

Here it is, ready to pop into the parcel with a book for her and two books for her big brother:

I hand blanket stitched around the hearts and hand quilted with a silky variegated thread.  The inner border and backing are the same fabric, a very soft silky cotton which feels really lovely.

All the patches came from my 3.5" squares stash so the quilt top came together quite quickly. 
It saves so much time if you have squares already cut.  I keep 2", 2.5", 3" and 3.5" as I use all of these sizes regularly.  Whenever I finish a project I cut smaller leftovers and off cuts from the quilt sandwich into squares and strips for my Scraps Stash.

Here's a close up:

After I have shown it to my Patchwork group tomorrow it will be winging its way to Holland.