Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Modern Mini Challenge...

You must have heard about this one...

I am so thrilled to have been asked to be involved in the Modern Mini Challenge.  

"This is your opportunity to try something new, something fun, something on a small scale.  Take that big idea and give it a try in mini form."

Here are the main details:

6th-19th February...
Weeks 1 & 2:  Inspiration Weeks.
Modern Mini Challenge Blog Hop. Bloggers share their modern minis and kick-start your creativity. Get inspired, get creative, get those ideas flowing!

20th Feb-4th March...
Weeks 3 & 4:  Sew. Sew. Sew!
Work on those minis and create your Modern Mini Challenge piece.

5th - 9th March...
Week 5:  Enter the Contest!
Link up your Modern Mini Challenge piece at Ellison Lane Quilts. Voting begins that week and winners are announced on March 9th!

5 winners will be chosen as follows:

James’ choice Jennifer's husband chooses his favorite.
Viewer’s choice Mug Rug & Viewer’s choice Mini Quilt  The viewers choose from a selection chosen by Jennifer and three other bloggers.
Luck of the Draw Random Number Generator chooses 2 winners.

So what are those fabulous five prizes? Hold on to your hats!

Both Viewer’s Choice Winners will receive a fat quarter bundle of the FULL LINE of Flea Market Fancy reprint by Denyse Schmidt. Oh boy!!!!
James’ Choice Winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop
Both Luck of the Draw Winners will receive a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

A special thank you goes to Kimberly for generously sponsoring all five of the fabulous prizes.

It kicks off next week with the Modern Mini Challenge Blog Hop and this amazing line-up (and me!):

6 Feb: Stitchery Dickory Dock
7 Feb: Fairy Face Designs & Amy's Creative Side
8 Feb: Lily's Quilts
9 Feb: Patchwork Notes
10 Feb: Don't Call Me Betsy & Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle
11 Feb: Sukie, Don't You Know Who I Am? 
12 Feb: Freshly Pieced
13 Feb: From the Blue Chair & Poppy Makes
14 Feb: Needles, Pins & Baking Tins
15 Feb: Mon Petit LyonsFelicity Quilts
16 Feb: LR Stitched & Random Thoughts Do or Di
17 Feb: Life's Rich Pattern & Twin Fibers
18 Feb: Cut to Pieces & Sew Sweetness
19 Feb: Swim Bike Quilt

To say I am a little anxious about being in such esteemed company is an understatement!

And just so you can't say nobody told you, here are the all important Contest Requirements:

1. Create a modern mini quilt or mug rug - only one entry per person.
2. Enter your mini quilt or mug rug in the linky party at Ellison Lane Quilts on Monday, March 5. You do NOT have to have a blog to enter. You may link a picture from your Flickr account.
3. Your entry (blog post or Flickr description) should include the size of the item.

Here's the button, you always need a button!

Modern Mini Challenge

How exciting! I do hope you can join in too xxx

Off now to reply to all your wonderful Cherry Star comments xxx

Monday, 30 January 2012

Star light, star bright!

I told you that I had completed the Cherry Star top...

Well then I went ahead and finished the whole blanket...

I'm opting for 'blanket' rather than quilt, as it has a simple dark grey fleecy backing, and minimal quilting just to keep it all in place.  I sewed it up, right sides together and turned through.

I top-stitched just under 1/4" around the edge in dark grey, and outlined the star the same way.  Simple, but effective.  This is for the times when we, or rather I, really want to snuggle down and be cozy.

Without batting, it is really light, especially compared to the whopper Constellation!  But it is beautifully warm, I know, I sat under it yesterday evening and it was great.

So, do you like the background?  Be honest.  I know it won't be to everyone's taste, but I love love love it!  Its an IKEA classic which I had been waiting to use.  I sort of envisaged counting the stars in the sky, and it made me smile as soon as I auditioned it.

Thanks must go out to Chelsea for running the Made In Cherry QAL, it focused my mind on using my rainbow charms on a superb pattern that I had pinned as soon as I saw it; and I am, once again, surprised and thrilled with how it turned out.

I think I normally play things a little too safe; so much time, effort and expense is usually being invested for me to risk making a big old faux-pas by getting all adventurous.  But I want to change that, and make things I will love, and reflect the look I really want to be creating, not just making the things I know will look OK from the outset.  Does that make sense?  First attempt, I will deem a success.

So onto my Mouthy Stitches partner, who will also receive a leap of faith, with 3/4" finished HSTs.  I wasn't too sure I could pull it off, but Lucy's excellent and timely use of the brilliant method from Elizabeth 'Oh Fransson!' for piecing small squares set me on the right route.

I can confirm that it worked a treat; I won't talk you through it, the original does that way better than I can, but all you need to know is that I gridded some light-weight iron-on interfacing with 1.5" squares, pressed on my trimmed HSTs and off I went...

I really hope my partner likes the Cherry Star off-spring panel, otherwise this Mama will happily keep it! xxx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

It would have been stupid not to...

We went to Bluewater yesterday, having left the kiddies at my parents.  That meant being able to go into shops that sell 'breakables', lunch with dear husband and going to John Lewis.

John Lewis made me buy brown fabric!  I needed buttons and a magnetic snap, I bought buttons, (but not for the original project), bobbins, ribbon and fabric.  Lots of fabric!

It wasn't my fault, they were selling Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow at £5.10/m (c. $7US/yd), that's half price! 

5 meters found their way into my basket, but it was too good an offer for me to resist.

I am now re-thinking my Swoon and Stained fabrics, and a few other projects I have in mind too.

Tomorrow I promise you colours-galore, and touch-wood, a Cherry Star finish.  The top is now complete - and I am hoping to get the fleece backing on this evening. 

Monday is an Inset day, so the kids and I are planning a pyjama day!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

On Brown...

I think it is time I set the record straight on 'brown'.

Having pulled Rhonda's leg about Mouthy Stitches being an all brown swap, this colour has taken a bashing within the group, and although I will immediately say to anyone who asks, that I dislike, even HATE brown fabric, there are obviously exceptions to the rule.

So just to prove that I do not think all brown is evil, here are some of the fabulous few which I love...

Denyse Schmidt
Joel Dewberry
Lotta Jansdotter
Etsuko Furuya
Of course you need to know where I get this, perhaps irrational, phobia from.  Look at this selection I spotted on eBay this evening, with a quick search for 'brown fabric'...

Help, my eyes!  These are my idea of what I could be given if I didn't claim to hate brown, f'ugly is not adequate, these are hideous, and maybe they wouldn't be any better in any other colour, but the brown just tips me over the edge.  I cannot take the risk!

If you are not feeling queasy enough, these (in my humble opinion) are the ultimate crime against fabric...

These should be banned!

I apologise if you are not of the same nervous disposition and have a love of the brown batik, please hoard and enjoy your precious stash and never EVER share it with anyone as narrow-minded and opinionated as me! 

Which leads me nicely onto...  Marmite is the ultimate brown!

When I said my Cherry Star background fabric was going to be 'marmite', I meant that some will love it, (I hope), but I expect some people to hate/not get my choice, but I am prepared for that!

If you have never looked at the Marmite website, then do, I think it explains exactly why this is such an apt analogy!  I hate marmite too xxx

Back tomorrow with less attitude, and photos of today's purchases, damn and thank you John Lewis!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Feelgood Friday...

I have so many Thank You emails and replies to send, so I have to make this quick!  (2 Explores in a week - has the world gone crazy?).

Today's mail included these...

Do you want my twisted logic?  Goldfish - stupid money (but I love them too much), doggies - not so much; 2 FQs, add them together, a good price for a 1/2 yard (well, sort of!).  And I have used way more than a 1/2 yard of stash so far this year!  I got mine here.

This evening I turned these...

... into HSTs for my Mouthy Stitches partner; they still need to be trimmed, but that's a job for tomorrow, after a trip to Bluewater.

I started cutting the background fabric for the Cherry Star... but more on that over the weekend.

I also got my first Fat Quarterly on Subscription - thank you Mum & Dad (if you knew I had a blog!),  there are so many awesome things to make, and Kerry has made me so want a teapot!

And finally, check this out!  Be chuffed Bee ladies xxx

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Taking a break...

... but only from the sewing machine for today!!

The plan was that all the kids were heading off to their friends' house for tea after school, and I would have 3 or 4 hours uninterrupted sewing after work.  However a tummy bug is working its magic throughout school, and the tea had to be cancelled as one of said friends was incapacited!

Hey ho, the 'marmite' will wait, so to speak!

So I only got a brief few quiet minutes to concentrate on my Mouthy Stitches swap. 

I posted this 'basic' purse/pouch sketch in the group pool yesterday, and it seems to have gone down a treat; so I pulled 48 of the Cherry Star charm off-cuts, ready to be made into the mini HSTs.

I am hoping my secret partner is up for some scrappy magic!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cherry Star...

Today, having made a couple of dozen paper dragons at school for Chinese New Year, I dusted off the glitter, came home and got cracking on my Made In Cherry.

The star pieces are complete...

I am 99% pleased with how this has turned out; with 220 different fabrics, I reckon there are 2 or 3 squares that should have been moved a little or swapped out, but without a design wall, minimal natural light and only having space to make it in 'quarters', I am actually surprised it worked so well!

It is completely inspired by the fantastic Kati, thank you Kati; if you want to see colour graduation in a different league, please pop over and take a look at here, and here!

I have a bit of a 'different' idea for the background fabric of this 60"x60" quilt using some great fabric I bought last year.

I will hopefully get that sorted tomorrow; it might be a bit marmite, (love it or hate it, no in-between!), but I am determined it will look exactly how I was hoping, especially with its fleecy backing and minimal quilting, I need a bit of minimal quilting!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Not-so Bleak Mid-WInter...

Time to link back all those successes from my Winter Stitching Plans posted way back here in October.

It was a huge and hopeful list, which I have been keeping up to date as you can see via that link over on the left.  But I thought it would still be nice to round up with pictures and see everything in one place...

1.  Present for my Grandma's 90th birthday in November.

2.  Man quilt for dear husband's birthday in November.

3.  Sonic Screwdriver case for sonny boy's birthday in November.

4.  Something pretty for the girls' birthdays in November.

5.  Something for my Dad's birthday in December.

6.  7 change trays commissioned by Mum's friends for Christmas.

7.  Duo QAL runner for Christmas at home.

8.  Matching Ayumi organizer basket.

9.  Another grand crafting gesture for our Christmas home!

10. Dead Simple table cloth for Mum & Dad's Christmas present.

11. Zip pouches/pencil cases galore for Christmas, including Mum, sister and teachers.  Well the teachers missed out, but there was the Brit Bee and Work Secret Santas, Sew Mama Sew giveaway day and myself to add in, plus a Kindle case, with no zip!

12. Finish my Mystery QuiltIt's now on my Finish-along list!

13. Learn to paper-piece properly and use my Kerry pattern(s) many times.  Not 'mastered' or 'many' times yet - I want to be on Kerry's masterclass at Fat Quarterly Retreat for sure.

14. A Rainbow charm quilt.  Made in Cherry QAL current project.

15. A Denyse Schmidt quilt.  Possible Swoon, after the Made In Cherry!

16. A Little Apples confetti quilt.  Bumped down the list, but will happen.

17. Complete my Brit Bee quilt (November Queen Bee).  Oh yeah!

18. Stay up to date with the Bee blocks. 

19. Use all those hexies I have been mass producing!  Almost pieced for a cushion top, and on my Finish-along list too.

20. Make at least one item a month from my crafty book collection.  I have amended this to 'book, magazine or pattern collection', ie. anything I have paid good money with the intent to use!  Not sure on the timings, but 3 makes in 3 months so far.

Mollie Makes

Keyka Lou pattern

Modern Blocks book

21. Make at least one more 241 Tote.  I need this one done by mid-February for my sister's birthday.

22. Seat cushion cover for hubby.  He did get a cushion for Christmas though!

23. Be a New Year Swap Mama! 

24. Run a Brit Fabric swap.  No hurry, I want to do something a bit different.

25. Lose weight, a lot of weight!  Ahem, it's been Christmas!

There was a lot of 'felt' action too, and some other bits and bobs I didn't put on the list, so I reckon I've made a good start!

I am hoping to tick off the rest of the list, or at least a good proportion of them, by the end of the Winter sewing season.

How about you, how have you been getting on?  Off now to check out all my sewing compadres over with Sarah @ Fairy Face Designs.