Sunday, 30 June 2013

End of Term!

My kids finished school last Friday!  Yippee!

My Spring/summer programme of classes finished last Friday! (pics of finishes to come)

Bee Blessed finished yesterday for the summer!  Here are 2 pics from the day:

Bee Blessed Quilt for Siblings Together June13

This is 1 of 2 quilts we are donating to Siblings Together next month.  Based on the Funky Wrench block here, we have put together most of the donated blocks we received to make this wonderful quilt.  Isn't it a beauty!

And the Starflower quilt top is now finished:

Bee Blessed Starflower quilt top

Love how this one is shaping up!

And just because I don't have enough quilts of my own waiting to be quilted (?????), I thought I'd make another one!

D9P Quillow 001 (2)

This is a class sample for an Autumn Quillow class, based on the Disappearing 9 Patch block.  My original sample from previous classes is based on a scrappy block with sashing . ...

... but I wanted to offer folks a non-sashed, design alternative.  I will be updating the Quillow pattern in my Etsy shop soon with this additional design option.

So that brings my stockpile of quilts needing quilted up to 7 (with another one waiting in the wings!).

What am I like!!!


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Shirley's A Hit!

My youngest daughter turned the ripe old age of 12 yesterday!

Bethany's 12th birthday (with Shirley!)

She loved the 'Shirley' cushion and messenger bag - phew!  And enjoyed opening more presents, eating chocolate cake (made by Shannon) and has ear-piercing & roller-blading to look forward to on Saturday!

Bethany has been busy herself making end of term pressies for her besties!

Presents for friends June13

These are scented cushions for the girls' bedrooms, all made with fabric from Bethany's own stash!

And look what arrived for me today!

FQR13 Name Tag From Kathie Drake

This is my name tag for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London this July.  Kathie made this for me, in my all time favourite colours!  And those hand stitches on the front are teeny tiny!  Thank you Kathie! I will wear it with pride!

I'm dying to show you the name tag I've made for my secret partner, but despite it being posted over a week ago, I still haven't heard yet from the recipient.  Fingers crossed it has arrived safely!

Have a lovely day!


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Looking Back!

Just thought I would show you a couple of quilt backs I've made recently.

Salty Giant front and back

This is the back of Salty Giant, a day workshop I will be doing next term based on this tutorial.  I was working from a FQ bundle - 8 were used for the front, and the leftovers and 1 more fq were used for the back, along with some navy yardage.  I kept back the stripy fqs for the binding (love a bit of stripy binding!).

Next up, my Brit Bee '13 (part 2) quilt back:

Brit Bee '13 quilt front & back

I was short a few siggys, so thought I would just go ahead and make them myself and get the backing made!

Some of my Brit bee buddies very kindly made me mini blocks with the leftover cuts from the main block.  I love them floating in the back of that vintage sheet!

So these 2 are now basted and added to the growing pile of quilts needing quilted (currently at 6!). 

Quilts needing quilted!

Can you tell I'm more of a patchworker than a quilter?!

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, 25 June 2013


The other day, a salesman at my door asked me if I had any children or grandchildren!


I realise (as of yesterday) I'm another year older, but really!  Grandchildren!!! 

Thank you everyone for your lovely birthday wishes on FB, texts and emails.  I got some lovely gifts .....

Birthday Art canvas from my daughter June13
A beautiful art canvas made by my daughter! Sorry about the wonky pic!

Birthday pressies June13

..... and enjoyed a wonderful meal out with my 3 favourite girls.

My 3 favourite girls! June13


Friday, 21 June 2013

A Special Delivery!

On Thursday night, a few Bee Blessed ladies had the privilege of handing over 19 baby quilts (+ 1 cushion) to a local Mums & Babies HIV unit.

Bee Blessed Baby Quilts Handover June13 004

The lady 2nd from right is Pat.  Pat was receiving the quilts from Bee Blessed on behalf of the unit, 65% of which are asylum seekers with very few possessions.

It is such a joy to see these snugglies going off on their way to bring comfort and warmth to babes in need.

Thank you to everyone who contributed blocks and fabrics to make these cute quilts.

I've no doubt we will enjoy making more baby quilts for this great cause!


Thursday, 20 June 2013

A Shirley Saga!

You may remember my previous angst over Shirley the Cow!

Well I took the wise advise of my readers and turned both Shirleys into presents for my bovine-loving daughter!

Shirley 1:

Shirley the Cow Cushion

'Shirley the Cow' Cushion is approx. 18" x 15".  She is paper pieced & I ditch quilted the face and did a few rows of echo quilting in the background.

'Shirley the Cow' Cushion

Doesn't she look like she's smiling!!!

Shirley 2:

Bethany's Messenger Bag 009

'Shirley the Cow' Messenger Bag is approx. 14" x 13.5" x 4".  The cow panel was also paper pieced, but a few mistakes made this Shirley look like she'd had a stroke!

Bethany's Messenger bag

I used a stiff denim for the bag, layering it with wadding and muslin.  I also used sew in Vilene with the duvet cover lining. To give the bag even more structure, I've put handbag mesh & feet into the base. 

Only 1 needle was harmed in the making of this sturdy bag!!

So the Shirley saga is complete!  I'm confident my daughter will enjoy these makes, but I won't find out for sure until next Wednesday! I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Didn't They Do Well!

A few of my project classes are coming to an end as we near the end of term.

My Monday night crew finished up their Welcome Wall-hangings last night:

Welcome Wallhanging Class June13

Aren't they brilliant!  Wouldn't you love to be welcomed by one of these!

If you fancy having a go at one yourself, the pattern can be found here.

And last Saturday was my Swing Bag workshop.  Here are some of the finished lovelies!

Swing Bag Class June13

Rosemary's Swing Bag June13

These designs are based on the Amy Butler swing bag, but with some additions (ruffles, contrasting yokes, box corners - there's even a crazy patchwork version!).

Well done ladies!  Your makes are beautiful!


Monday, 17 June 2013

Presidents & Pencil Cases!

At one stage this morning, a rather well known President was not half a mile away from me! There's been quite a stir here in sleepy N.I. as we welcome 8 of the world's most influential leaders for the G8 Summit!

Something else I can't quite believe is that my kids have only 8.5 schools days left before the summer holidays start here!  Yikes!

So a few end of term pressies were rattled out over yesterday and today!

Pencil Cases
Pencil Case 1: Front & Back
Now that all my kids are in 'big school' there's no more making teacher presents! But there are still the last minute birthday gift and 'best friend swaps' to make!

Pencil Cases
Pencil Case 2: Front & Back
For all these pencil cases I chose pre-cut squares from my scrap-vomit box. Daughter no.3 loves an eclectic mix of colours and prints - let's hope her 2 friends do as well!

Pencil Cases
Pencil Case 3: Front & Back
I finished the cases off with Daughter no.3's fimo lolly pop zipper pulls!

Pencil Cases

That's another tick off the present making list!  Shirley the Cow got some attention today too, but more on that another day!

Have a good one!


Sunday, 16 June 2013


Happy Father's Day to all the dad's in the UK!

As well as Father's Day, June is also a busy birthday month in our household. 

No. 1 daughter decided to make a birthday cushion for her boyfriend, inspired by this quilt in my early birthday present this book!

So we chopped up a few pairs of jeans, smaller pieces from shirts, and voila!

Shannon's Denim Cushion

She did all the piecing & quilting herself AND put the zipper in (with a little guidance)!

She's chuffed to bits with her manly cushion!  Fingers crossed her boyfriend will like it just as much!

And when I eventually reclaimed my sewing machine, I got another Churn Dash block done for Sarah's Siblings Together Boy quilts ......

Churn dash for Sarah's ST

.... and the Bee Blessed BOM, Woven block (tutorial here).

Woven Block for Bee Blessed June13

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend! (With 7 excitable 14 years olds in my house today, I'm off to find a quiet corner somewhere!).


Friday, 14 June 2013

In the Company of Angels!

It never ceases to amaze me how 3 women can spend an ENTIRE day talking about sewing, while driving, eating, drinking coffee, running in the rain, fabric shopping & gate-crashing my class!

Di & Sarah June13 001
Sarah & Di
That's multi-tasking at its best!  And the perfect way to spend a lovely day!  Thank you ladies!

And the sneaky peek I showed you yesterday?

Scented House for Di

A scented house gift for Di!

And for another angel, I've made these:

Brit Bee Blocks for Terri June13

Terri is queenie in the Brit Bee for June, and she has a rampant mild addiction to star blocks! She has sent us all some solid and 2 sets of coloured prints to come up with some starry magic!

The red star is from the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop book, and the yellow star is called Ribbon Star Block, by Lee of Freshly Pieced.

Unfortunately 2 of my outer points overshot in the yellow star, but I'm hoping T-Bone Angel will be gracious and forgiving!

In my other bee commitments this month, I rustled up an improv. log cabin for Hipbees Lynz, as per her requirements.

Log Cabin Improv block for Lynz/Hipbees - June13

Lynz sent us some lovely solids and we had to sneak in a little bit of ourselves!  I went with some flowery Marmalade! Yum!

This really isn't the best photo of this block.  It is much straighter and nicer in real life! Honest!

You should check out the other Hipbee improv. blocks over in the Flickr group!  It's going to be a stunning quilt!

Have a wonderful Friday!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Salty Giant!

Yesterday I finished another quilt top!

Salt Air Giant Star 002
70" x 70"
I love the simplicity of Jeni's design, using 8 fat quarters (I used Salt Air) and some yardage (Klona navy).

Salt Air Giant Star 004

I will be teaching this as a one day workshop in the Autumn, so this will be my class sample.  I also got a pieced back made using the leftovers (no pics yet, sorry).  So I'm all ready to baste this baby at the weekend!

As for today, I will be a 'lady wot lunches' (& shops for fabric, and drinks coffee, and natters loads) with 2 lovely quilty friends.

More on that tomorrow!

Have a goodun'!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Keeping Secrets!

There's been a lot of secret sewing going on around here lately!

In fact, there are 5 separate sewing projects I can't yet tell you about!  Here's a sneaky peek at one of them:

Secret Sewing

Something I can show you is the bundle of rainbow goodness that came through my door today!

FSQ Rainbow Charm Swap June13

A huge thank you to Cindy for the endless hours she has spent cutting up our chosen yards of rainbow colours, packaging them so beautifully, and posting them out all over UK & Ireland!  Enjoy a well deserved rest C!

I'm now dreaming of what I can make with these lovelies!

Happy Wednesday!


Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Blessing Bees!

Yesterday at Bee Blessed we made great progress on some of our WIPs!

Bee blessed 002

This is the Funky Wrench Quilt for Siblings Together, all basted and ready for quilting.

Bee blessed 003

And this is the Road to Tennessee quilt top, all sewn together! Isn't it fab!

Bee Blessed Starflower quilt layout

The beautiful starflowers have now been trimmed, laid out and sewn into rows.  Not long now til this will be basted, quilted and bound!

Bee blessed 001

Our youngest member of BB got her first ever quilt finished!!  The only bit she didn't sew was the binding!  A big 'thank you' to Cindy for donating the little pre-cut squares that went into this quilt!

And a big 'thank you' too to folks who have recently donated fabric and blocks.  We appreciate every single one! 

If on occasion you don't happen to see your block in a finished quilt, it might be because it was too small (i.e. finished under 12.5") or we had more blocks than we needed for one quilt.  However, we keep ALL the blocks that are made for us, and when we have enough odd ones gathered up, we make sampler quilts with them.  So please don't despair!  We make a huge effort to try and use everything we are given!

Of course there was lots more activity yesterday - squaring off blocks, sewing up rows, quilting and making binding! 

Bee Blessed 001 (2)

And to make our quilt labelling process much quicker, we got the clever peeps at Spoonflower to make us these!

Bee Blessed 004

Don't they look the business!!

And for anyone who is local to Belfast, I have updated the BB page with our Autumn dates (no meetings over the summer).  You are most welcome to come and join in the stitchery fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Solid Tumblers!

I'm always a little late to the party when it comes to trends!

I tell my kids not to jump on every band wagon going, just because everyone else does!

When solids became fashionable in the quilting world I didn't like them.  I love pattern and scrappy, and the quilts I saw being made in solids just didn't do it for me!

But now that I've got used to seeing them around blogland (and I hugely admire the talent and creativity that folks use in designing around solids), I'm growing to like them more!

I recently bought some half metres of Klona in my LQS and just loved how they all looked together.  They were randomly chosen colours, but I got to thinking they would work for my month as Queen Bee in the Modern Irish Bee (June/July).

So out came my trusty Sizzix, and this time the 4.5" Tumbler die, and I whizzed those solids through!  Sizzix was smokin'!

MIB Block Jun13 001

There are 11 piles each with 22 tumblers. I'm hoping my bee buddies will each make me 2 of these blocks:

MIB Block Jun13 004

The 12th tumbler in each block is to be patterned and from the makers' own stash!  A little bit of them in each block!

To finish, the blocks are bordered in navy, so I don't have to sash them all!!  Tee hee!!

I just have to get a wee treat to pop in each package and these babies are ready to be posted out all over Ireland!


P.S. thanks everyone for your great suggestions on how to solve my ironing board cover dilemma.  A smaller bodkin was supplied from my trusty quilty friend, and the cover finished in 2 shakes of a lamb's tail!!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

A Pressing Need!

I have 2 mini ironing boards in my classroom (you know the cute Ikea ones!), the covers of which were in dire need of replacing.

So I used one of the covers as a template, a duvet cover, some bias binding and hey presto!

ironing board cover 017

I even re-used the Ikea wadding and cord!  Unfortunately I'm out of Insul Brite (heat resistant wadding) so I put in an extra layer of thick wadding I've had kicking around underneath the Ikea wadding.

Now my first attempt (see the flat one?) turned out beautifully, because I sewed the binding on without the cording, thinking I could thread the cording into the casing using a safety pin!

ironing board cover 018
Please excuse my mis-matched bias binding!  I ran out of green!
Sadly, the pin kept getting stuck on bits of fabric inside the casing, so that was the end of that idea!  I also tried a darning needle with a big enough eye to take the cord, but it was too big to slide easily through the casing!

So for the 2nd cover, I sewed the bias binding onto the front of the cover, flipped it over and then sewed in the cording at the same time as sewing down the binding.  Not as neat a finish, but completely functional!

Ironing Board Cover

Now my question to you lovely, clever readers!  Is there any way I can thread the cording into the casing of my first cover, without having to unpick it all and sew it in the 2nd way?


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Meet Shirley ....

.... the cow!

Shirley 001

My youngest daughter has an affection for cows!  She likes to give them names!  Shirley was the latest!

A while ago I pinned this pattern with Bethany in mind!  It is her birthday this month, so I thought I'd have a go at making her a cow cushion!

I knew I wanted Shirley to be in purples and greens.  My first attempt was sewing directly onto the print outs, but I didn't have any solid fabrics at the time so went with polka dots!

Shirley 1

I didn't think it looked quite right, too fussy!  So I got some Klona from my LQS and had another crack at it.

For my 2nd attempt I traced the pattern onto greaseproof paper, which is what I usually use for paper piecing.  And I have to say, the klona pieced like a dream!

Unfortunately, I lost some accuracy doing it this way (you can see that Shirley looks like she's suffered a stroke as one side of her face is drooping!) and I made a mistake on the nose (can you spot it?). 

I don't have the stomach for making a 3rd one, and think I will just go with Klona Shirley!  What do you think?