Tuesday, 30 July 2013


If you are of a certain age, like me, you will forever associate mice with that weirdy-beardy Canadian Yoffy and Fingerbobs.  (An overly-friendly balding man with special gloves and a magic finger, oh those were the days!).  If you have 3 minutes to lose, here's a bit nostalgia for you...

Anyways... when I saw Amy's tutorial over that The Village Haberdashery yesterday, I knew it wouldn't be long before I succumbed.

So having spent a disproportionate amount of time looking for the perfect scrap, Melody Mouse was born...

Super sweet pattern, easy peasy make; the hardest part was dashing out into the garden to find a pebble in the rain; the resultant rock has meant the pincushion option is probably not wise, and as the girls freaked when I said I was going to put pins in it, an ornamental mouse it is...

"Look into my eyes, please don't stick pins in me, you already shoved a rock up my ..."
I am feeling fine again today, just in case you were worrying; a cooler, quieter night did the trick; and a traditional summer's day today has suited me just fine.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The small stuff...

This morning I woke up, or rather just got up, as I think I listened to the wind and rain for most of last night, and felt all rather dizzy, like I was on a boat or something; most odd.

So I did the only sane thing I could think of, get the kids to try on ALL their clothes so we could get rid of all the small stuff.  Tiny twin has come out rather well, but bigger sister seems to have grown about 6" since last summer.  None of them have any trousers that reach the floor!

So that done, and the dizziness fading, we did the library.  No sure if it's a National or just West Sussex thing, but the kids sign up, read and review 6 books over the summer and earn stickers and puzzles and a medal at the end.  That passed a little time, and then a quick stop at Waitrose to get some Strawberries, we ended up with bargain and rude not to cream cakes too, so I had the healthy apple one and then a snooze!

Feeling a bit better, despite forgetting to drop off the tiny clothes at the re-cycling and charity shop, and falling behind with emails and blogs again already.  Looking at this now is making me go cross-eyed, so I am going to go back offline.  Oh well.

I am going to try and get a few more windows in my cathedral this evening, but don't hold your breath, I must just go back to bed. xxx

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Can't think of a title that's not rude!

In the run up to Retreat, well more specifically Quilt Market night, I knew I was going to make a bee-line for Leanne Fanny and her hand printed fabric.

Ange and I lucked out and got the last 2 scrap packs, which are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. and beautiful and all sorts of pretty.

There were many c. 1.5" x 5" strips, which I pulled with my Mum's birthday in mind, and pieced into a couple of orderly mini-panels yesterday.

This morning I turned them into a covered notebook...

I love how quick, simple and, even if I do say so myself, superbly it turned out.  I also made the covered button, because none in my tin worked well enough, and I think it is the perfect finishing touch.

I knew these would become an addiction, and I think I need to make one for myself next, especially as I have finished everything on my 'must do' list, (and made it to the end of this post without any fanny jokes!).

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Begin ag'in...

So first thing, the ironing pile looked like this...

... but now there's only has half a dozen shirts left that I really couldn't face this morning; the 'I'm going to/just got back from Retreat' excuse was wearing a little thin.  I went to the Post Office and even managed to have lunch outside before the rain started. 

I also got the chance for some more Touchdraw action for Jennie's Brit Bee blocks...

I based this on Jennie's inspiration piece, (she says it's not an art quilt, but, it is an art quilt!).  I also drew it up before actually looking in the fabric parcel she'd sent, so I couldn't work some of it in real life, but I had a bloody good try!

Excuse feet!
Considering I quadrupled my solids stash last weekend, I am still uneasy with the pure solids look; but when Lu gets her books out of quarantine, I am determined to overcome the fear!

I also spent a little time on my Cathedral Windows this afternoon, (slow), and emptying my Inbox, (huge); I just have some blog commenting to catch up on, as I have only been iPad-browsing, not commenting and I feel bad.

But life is returning to normal.  I have to make my Mum's birthday present next week, and then I guess the next round of August bee blocks will begin... ag'in.

Friday, 26 July 2013

I got skillz...

Apologies if you are tiring of my frolics, but this is the last Retreat-only post for this year!  Promise.

I can't quite believe that this time last week we were fanning ourselves in the Med Kitchen and eating waaaay too much.  It feels like a long time ago; it feel like yesterday!

So my classses...

On Friday afternoon I learnt the art of curved paper-piecing.  Joanna and Julianna's table-top session was good fun.  I don't think that was the intention, but sat between Emily and Liz meant we didn't get as much achieved as we perhaps could have!  I managed to stitch a whole 3 pieces together!  But I did master a concave and convex curve...

I basted those other pieces on the train home, and this week I have jiggled the pattern a little and come up with this...

Not looking forward to pulling out the basting though.

On Saturday morning I had Touchdraw with patient Lynne.  I downloaded this app onto my iPad before I had even got out of bed on my birthday last year.  I managed a few basics back then, but wasn't hopeful I would ever get it!  In class I created these...

And trying to remember everything I was told, today I managed to create this!!!

Success or what!

Saturday afternoon was the first of my full 3 hour workshop sessions.  Portholes with Lu.  I missed out on this class last year, and was over the moon to get in this year.  I used one of the loaner Pffafs; thank goodness for Ange or I would still be trying to thread the bloody needle now!

In the 3 hours I created my pair of boobies portholes and absolutely love this technique...
I see many more portholes in my future, Liberty and Oakshott portholes perhaps!  This class was the perfect balance of learning stuff, having a laugh with friends Ange and Kerry at the back, (albeit at Kerry's expense!), and a super-smashing-great teacher.

My final workshop on Sunday morning was Cathedral Windows; another one of those techniques that having looked online, I needed to see in real life to understand.  Brioni was a great teacher too; making it look so much easier than I found it on the day to be honest.  All that pressing does my head in, but trying to rush did not make for pointy points...

Back home, without fun distractions, (Kerry and Jo mostly), and using card templates for accurate pressing, I have prep'ed the rest of my pieces and am probably going to get stuck in tomorrow when the weather breaks good and proper.

I did not produce any finished items, unlike last year; but I am fine with that because I really have learnt things I would never have been able to alone, and I guess that is what it is all about.

So there you have it.  I am linking this post up with the Fat Quarterly linky, and to make it simpler for anyone who is interested, here are links to the rest of my Retreat posts this week...

Where to begin?
Fabric, fabric and a bit more fabric...

I really hope I have paid justice to the hard work put in by the Fat Quarterly team, and haven't bored you all too much by clinging to my youth the weekend! 

To anyone who I met and spent time with, albeit too brief, over last weekend - here's to next year xxx

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Not only were there all-inclusive swaps at Retreat, but also other acts of less formal giving and taking.

Krista and I faltered in arranging a private swap last year, but the fact we were going to meet for real, meant I whipped her up a Liberty-linen frame purse...

... and she reciprocated with one of her awesome thread catchers...

... and an amazing Purple Thang!

Before you go all ga-ga at the brown, it's animal print, it is meant to be brown!  I love it and need to get back behind my sewing machine so I can use it rather than just looking lovingly at it!

I also made a trio of pincushions for my 2 smashing Brit Bee besties Terri and Susan, who sent me some treasured Heather Ross fussy cuts last month, and another for Di, who has been my States-side go-between for a couple of (spookily) Heather Ross t-shirts; so HR fishies were the only way to go; however caught up in the secrecy of making them, I forgot to take any pictures - doh!  This is my one, the ones I made for them were the same... but different!

And unexpectedly, Di made me the most superb Tula Pink/Prince Charming purse...

I think this has holiday boiled-egg-smuggling written all over it!  Perfect.  I love it!

Generously, and for no reason other than being wonderful friends, I came home with a pretty flower brooch from Catherine and some of my favourite Denyse Schmidt FMF print, zipper, thread and lolly, so far hidden from the kids, from my curve-class buddy Emily...

If you need a big quilt basting, or are in the South-West (UK) and want to use her frame or studio space, Emily is your woman; check out her web page for more information.

Thank you all for my wonderful gifts, there is nothing like handmade gifts from friends xxx

The other gifts I need to mention are the top secret wall hanging that Brit Bee made to commemorate Susan's big 5-0.  This was presented to her on Friday night, she wiggled her butt in my face as thanks; she has put it more sweetly than I could here.

Jude, I borrowed this one, as I only have the one of her arse!
And lastly, some feel-good photos, here are Delma and I and the Siblings Together quilt I made in collaboration with Amanda...

Photos c/o Robin 'have you taken it yet?' Robin!
And the Siblings Together Bee's first finish...


So many quilts were handed over, the huge pile was quite overwhelming for them and us!

I am almost at an end of my Retreat round up now; tomorrow, it'll be a week since we all got together, so I shall finally show you what I made.

Apologies I have not responded to emails, or commented on blog posts much this week, hopefully I will be able to get myself all caught up soon, the house is now tidy, I will fill the fridge tomorrow morning and then be able to start enjoying the holidays xxx

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Fabric, fabric and a bit more fabric!

I went to Retreat with 40 of these...

... and after a bit of this...

Jan caught me in action!
...I came home with this...

... and I only bought this back as I felt a bit daft walking round with just one left!  Thank you again to every single one of you who helped me out!

Which was a good job really, because I had to supplement my spending money somewhat after my first foray to Shaukat...

A couple of half meters, and a quarter meter that even has brown in!!!  Considering the sheer amount of fabric to chose from, I think I was very restrained.

Not so restrained at the Saturday night quilt market though!

From top left...
A Pina Colada & Mojitos FQ bundle, selected by my lovely and dearly missed friend Sarah from Cindy's Fluffy Sheep Quilting stall...
A pair of Liberty button badges made by the blooming Ceri...
Two F8th bundles of Oakshott; Michael was even kind enough not to make me go back to my hotel to collect my £5 voucher I stooopidly left packed in my goodie bag...
A super star of Liberty Lifestyle FQs from Fabrics Galore; and why I didn't buy any of the Liberty Hello Kitty, I will never know!...
A pair of green Architextures FQs from Pin It & Stitch...
...and last but most certainly not least, my own bundle of Leanne Fanny scraps, they are so beautiful.

OK so I may also have come home with a Simply Solids pre-order too...

And also my FAL win from Justine...

Mary and I struck a deal a while back, I sent her my Retro Flowers/Drunkards path templates, and she has sorted me out with a couple of lovely vintage sheet FQs...

And that is almost all I came home with.

Tomorrow I will show you the gifts, as they deserve a post to themselves, and then on Friday I promise to show you what I actually made, because I wouldn't want you to think it was all about the shopping, socialising and having fun!

I am now on my summer break, the kids have broken up, so who knows, I may even get time to sew with some of these beauties!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


I mentioned last night that I was a member of The Team who won the Retreat Pub Quiz, (not a quiz about pubs, as thought by some of our overseas friends); we were lucky enough to win handfuls of Jen Kingwell patterns courtesy of the uber-generous Amitie.

These are what I came home with...

The Midnight At The Oasis was on my 'wants' list, so I am sooo chuffed.

Obviously all of us who were there were winners, what with amazing goodie bags stuffed with fabulous freebies from the amazing sponsors... Liberty, Aurifil, Pat Bravo, Moda, Ahkaban, Riley Blake, Makower, Eternal Maker and many more I have forgotten...

I think I did mighty fine in the winning stakes, especially when topped off with the sample swap.  I swapped my Liberty pincushions for this amazing haul...

... a fantastic cushion cover from the amazingly cute Rachael, perfect Pezzy pouch, pencil and ribbon from Amanda, a beautiful heavy-duty Retreat pin cushion from Mary and the prettiest fabric basket and extras from Sue.  I think we owe Trash big-time!  Thank you ladies for a super swap.

I still have selling, shopping and even sewing to show you, I know!  So more tomorrow.  I spent so much time and energy building up to Retreat, I am most certainly going to eek a weeks worth of posts out of it!

And so onto another winner; the winner of my big 3! giveaway.  Thank you for all your lovely comments, I am sorry I could not respond to you all individually, but please be assured that I value everyone of you who takes time from their day to pop by here.  

Right, enough; schmaltz over.

I will add in a couple of the Jen Kingwell patterns and other bits into the mix, because I am nice like that.  The winner is...

Congratulations Rachel!!!

I may well have emailed you already, if Blogger is having another 12 hour posting delay like last night, apologies.

Laters xxx

Where to begin?

How's about a brief round up of my weekend?

So it was hot.  Too bloody hot on Friday.  Having met up with Pippa at Victoria Station, we got a cab to BP House, and I was lucky to be able to book straight into my hotel at about Midday, just along the street, complete with wonderful air conditioning all before the madness began.

Knowing what to expect did not really reduce the nervous anticipation and then completely overwhelming and manic hour that ensued before the official welcome and start of classes.  Seeing good friends again, meeting online friends for the first time, blank looks turning to wide smiles and hugs, loads of those!

That's pretty much how the weekend carried on; there was a little learning, (I'll tell you more on that in another post), eating out in the hottest but most brilliantly accommodating restaurant with about 37 other Retreaters and interlopers, eating until I pretty much went pop.

Between classes I went on the most amazing shopping expedition to Shaukat with Jude, Sarah and Rachael, there was even a mad crazy stalker lurking in the basement for me, but I'm saying nothing!

I went up and down to my 3rd floor hotel room like a yo-yo, dropping off bags, picking up supplies and trying to remember where I was meant to be; unfortunately the lift did not burn any calories.

I haven't smiled so much, laughed so loud or tried to concentrate so hard in a long time.

The Fat Quarterly team did us proud again, and can't be thanked enough.  From the goodie bags and sponsors to the pub quiz and emotional handover of so many Siblings Together quilts.

I know you want photos, I took so few, but flickr, instagram and other blogs will hopefully be bursting with them, because at times it felt like you couldn't move for lenses!  Here's my favourite picture, courtesy of Krista, of The Team, triumphant, and completely ungracious in Pub Quiz victory!!

Marguerite, Mary, Kerry, Krista, Me and Susan
I will be drawing my giveaway winner tomorrow evening, so I will show you my winnings and swappings tomorrow, if that's OK.

PS. It's a boy!!!
PPS. I posted this at 9pm on Monday and Blogger has decided not to show you in the Dashboard - sorry xxx

Sunday, 21 July 2013


If the brief look at my Blogger Dashboard is anything to go by, you should expect no more than a few a quick posts about FQR today, letting you know that the blogger is still alive, had an amazing time and will tell you all about it tomorrow!

I am no different, I am exhausted.

It was a fantastic weekend, old friends, new friends, a little stitchery and a tonne of laughs.  Oh, and shopping, swapping and winning.

So until tomorrow...

 PS. Don't forget about the giveaway, and I have gathered a couple more bits and pieces to add into the parcel over the weekend as promised xxx

Friday, 19 July 2013

Gone Stitching...

I'm off to that there London...

Behave yourselves, I'll be back on Sunday!

I will try to remember to snaps some pics via Instagram, I am @MrsFlyingBlind.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

...and relax ...

Eyelash tint - check
Haircut - check
Provisions to stop husband and children starving - check
Supplies packed - check
Final decision on clothing - check
Paint toenails - check
Dangle legs in the pool whilst the girls have their swim lesson and relax for a minute - check

Look at the time and know you will be on the train to Fat Quarterly Retreat in 12 hours time - check

Good nights sleep - hope so xxx

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Crazy busy...

Trying to get ready for Retreat is making me cranky and anxious and all sorts of sweaty, so I am going to write my Thursday List in a moment and then try to relax for a little while.  I know, unlikely, but it's going to be non-stop from 6.30 tomorrow morning until I get on train just before 10am on Friday.

Hubby and son have just got in from the 3rd and final KS2 performance of Scheherazade.  The Y3s and 4s were singing, the Y5s were doing all the solos and acting.  They all did brilliantly in the heat; polyester Arabian knight costumes did not look any sort of comfortable, it was bad enough sitting still in the audience; I saw it yesterday afternoon...

Apart from making the Giveaway fob and notebook cover last night, I also made a fob for the girls' swimming teacher in the end...

Heather Ross fishes, what could be more perfect!?

So I am now all done with the making; although in a mad moment I thought about making another Staple tunic as an answer to my wardrobe dilemmas, but I think I am just going with t-shirts; life is too short!

I'll pop back tomorrow and let you know how I got on xxx

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


*** The Giveaway is now closed***

Three years ago I began imposing my daily ramblings on the unsuspecting public.

I never imagined I would stick at it, and I certainly wouldn't have believed that so many people from all over the world would choose to stop by and take a took, and then come back time and again!

I definitely did not foresee the effect it would have on my life.  Fellow bloggers are the people I now call my best friends; I have met, virtually and in reality the most wonderful, inspirational and completely daft bunch of ladies and I want to thank every one of you who have made my sewing and fabric obsession seem completely normal.

So as is traditional, it's got to be giveaway time!!!

I have taken advantage of the slightly cooler evening and made these Liberty pretties already...

... and I will add some other bit and pieces from the weekend coming.

So let's go for one comment, one chance, no hoops.  It's too hot for hard work.

Just say something nice!  Simple as.

Make sure you add your email address is you are No Reply Blogger, or it could be your loss!

I will use Random.org to pick a winner in a week's time, Tuesday 23rd July 9pm BST, because I am going to be a little bit busy between now and then.

Open to all, but please do not expect a reply ;)

Good luck my friends xxx

Monday, 15 July 2013

Sew hot dammit!

I bit the bullet and got out my sewing machine - the conservatory may have hovered above 30 degrees until about 7pm, but having received great school reports today from the kiddie-winks' teachers, it only seemed fair to get their presents made.

I used all the best bits from various online covered notebook tutorials; I had selected some spiral bound books, so had to measure them closed, and they fit perfectly.

This one was finished whilst there was still a little natural light, for the girls' teacher...

Then I finished up another one for dear son's teacher...

So simple, and I have tried a couple of similar sized notebooks in them, and because the height remains pretty much the same for A5 books, they are going to be suitable for replacing with thicker pukka pads and the like too.

So that's my last intended 'to do' done for pre-Retreat, but I might have to whip up another for the girls' swimming teacher, because she is nice, and I think I may have a little addiction to these covers brewing already!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Yeah Yeah...

I know, it's not exactly craft-central round here right now!

There was a little of this though...

... prepping a couple of teacher gifts, because end of term will be here before we know it, and I really want need them done before Retreat.

But mostly today was about this...

Before Friday I have 3 mornings of work, a Key Stage 2 performance (or 3), Cubs, swimming, a hair cut, packing and writing a big list for dear husband for all the weekend's eventualities. 

Apart from literally having a meltdown about what clothes to take if the weather stays like this, it'll be fine, I hope.  xxx