Saturday 27 November 2010

Catch ups

As all the Flickr swaps and bees peak before the Decemeber break I have received and sent so many parcels so time to catch up. In the Scrappy Mug Rug group I sent a mug rug to Jan (isisjem)- she won my last giveaway, I know her blog and have seen her on flickr so it was fun that she was my partner.  She had lots of easy likes to follow
She's a tea drinker, loves Heather Ross Mendocino fabrics and wanted a rectangular mat.  The teapot came from Kumiko Fujita's 318 Patchwork, great fun to piece.  The design came from a series of doodlings- the ric rac I only added at the last minute, the line between the linen and the grey background seemed too harsh.  I am not always a pun type person, there are sew many sewing related ones ( see Florence's funny post on these but I couldn't resist this.  
The back was free cut- I am a recent convert to.  No rulers, just the rotary cutter, flat fabric and the non-cutting hand out of the way!  There is a great tutorial to break yourself into this gently here.  I also bought Gwen Marstons Liberated Quilt Making 2 for more free cutting ideas and it is a highly useful book.  Jan is happy with her mug rug and so I am happy too!  In all honesty, I can normally pass my makes on graciously but I wanted it too and might have to make myself one in compensation.
I received this adventure in log cabin mug rug from Tracey. I love log cabin and this is very carefully cut and sewn- it sits on my sewing desk as I write- nice tea and food goodies too, Reese peanut butter cups are my undoing, my slow road to ruin- sorry lost in Del Amitri lyrics  Thank you Tracey! 
More Ringo Pie blocks
Penny's fresh and vintage style selection of reused jars saved from recycling- amazing piecing on the strawberry jar especially- take a look in close up
Kerry's block
and Lisa's sweet stack of mugs, cups and saucers- love the variety and that little cup at the top with its chubby handle!  They are an amazingly talented bunch of sewers in this group.
ringo pie - for kerry
Plus blocks I sent to Rick in Bee (a little Bit) Japanese.  I was a bit short on fabric, but squeezed two wonky log cabin blocks from his fabrics and he is planning to add sashing to even all our blocks out.

And presents to myself- how decadent.  A lucky find of Kumiko Fajita's measuring fabric- in my top ten of favourite fabrics- now I might have to do a top ten, I'll give it some thought- and her inspirational and unfortunately out of print ABC Patchwork Lesson pattern book, I tracked it down at last.
Wrap up warm x It is chilly here x
sib blog

Thursday 25 November 2010

Happy thanksgiving to all  American readers!
(Graphic from the wonderful Background fairy)

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Tuesday 23 November 2010

Putting Away Childish Things

I am feeling much better, my head and neck have calmed down and although part of my forehead is a little frozen- lets say it is a little one sided too- this wears off quickly!  I am still recovering from the emotional fall out of watching Toy Story 3 on Sunday, Kids Club at the cinema.  Turned out the the whole front row in a small screen were all children I knew from school so I had to keep my not inconsiderable unemotional response watching Andy play with the gang just one more time stifled.  The children respond to different elements of the film but the adults want/need to watch the end credits and have time to hide their reddened eyes.  I am teary now- move on.

 I found these letter blocks at the carboot this week ( by the way,look at Badskirt Amy's uber cool very desirable blocks here)
And this great tray, wonderful colours and images- H is for Holiday maybe?
And a lucky ebay find- a pile of poodle hankies from USA which included Tammis Keefe- dogs.  It joins my collection.
There is a fabric line from Michael Miller inspired by Tammis Keefe coming up- see True Up for more info, I cannot wait for these!
And these cuties were in there too- not sure what I'm doing with these, maybe my shop?  We'll see.
Busy with Christmas sewing x
sib blog

Thursday 18 November 2010

Gift of Loveliness

In my day job I teach music to very young children and I have been singing about the gift of loveliness (from the fairies to Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty).  It has been a hard week- I had my head injections on Monday.
Whilst I am enormously grateful for them and the relief they will bring, they hurt a lot and the pain and general down feeling takes a couple of weeks to pass.  But I have had some wonderful and thoughtful things in the post that really brighten up gloomy days of rain and sore bits.  This wonderful hoop from Sharon came yesterday as part of a Flickr Scrappy Hoop swap- I was so happy with it.
I listed kitchen themed fabrics in my likes (I cannot get enough of them) and Denyse Schmidt, and linen and Japanese fabrics- they are all there!   I am so impressed when someone I have never met takes the time out to research the swap and make such a great creation,  And obviously it must live in the kitchen- we all admired it as we had tea last night and ate the chocolate she included too.  You can see some of my kitchen fabric here, new on the left, vintage on the right.
I have taken a pic of these for a Flickr group called Fabulous Fabric Stacks- there is a discussion theme each week to pull out your fabrics for, these are for Dinner's Served.  Some of the left ha pile have come from Ayumi and I bought some more Japanese fabric recently with her help and her package arrived today. ( She has a Giveaway for Suzuko Koseki fabrics and Patchwork Style book going on now too)
This is always exciting as she puts extra bits in too. I send her vintage bits and bobs and selections from of my stash and we both see each others fabrics crop up in various projects which is fun.  Isn't this lovely?  Yuwa reprint of a vintage kitchen fabric, really heavy and wonderful quality.
and this, I would have curtains of this if I could afford it, also heavy and utterly beautiful- Kumiko Fujita for Yuwa.
 Gifts of loveliness- thank you x
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Saturday 13 November 2010

Slice of Pie

Slice of pie anyone?  Hopefully this looks like lemon tart- tart au citron if you are feeling fancy- my November block for Anna in the Ringo Pie bee.  She asked for desserts.  

The inspiration for this came from  Nigella Lawson's Feast.

The photography in her books is always stunning- I return to her Christmas book each year to get myself  in the festive mood.  This block looks all clean and tidy and nicely together now but its construction had some challenges.

I like to paper piece with freezer paper and Damian often trims my pieces for me adding the 1/4" on the edges as too much rotary action makes my arms ache.  I only had a little yellow fabric ( from out of print Katie Jumps Rope, Denyse Schmidt) and had squeezed the pieces on.  For unknown reasons he trimmed all the pieces perfectly, except the three yellow triangles which either had one side 1/8 inch or in the worst case, both sides. (This makes me think of Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell)

I had enough fabric to recut the smallest but the other pieces had to be rescued to make the edges resilient enough o be pieced with less than 1/4" seams.  Fray check to the rescue.

I ran this along the sides of all the affected pieces, left to dry and it saved the day.  I double stitched the seams for extra strength but the Fray check is what really helped.  I think I will use it again for tricky paper piecing, especially little shapes cut out of fraying fabrics, it really helped.  Don't plan for 1/8 edges again though- Damian said he was encouraging my powers of ingenuity.  Didn't feel like that at the time but as always to err is useful and I am so grateful that he understands 1/4" edges all the rest of the time

Elise from Elusive Reveries has picked me in her 15 blogs list for A Lovely Blog Award.  A big thank you to her, take a look at her blog, she finds the most lovely links and ideas to put on there.   I am always really touched when people take the time and effort to choose and list my blog in any way- following, blog rolls, award.  I know some don't always like to feature awards so I am treading lightly.  I always look at profiles of new followers or those of you who comment to see if you have a blog and I find some really interesting things so these are from the last 6 followers  where I found an active and recently posted blog link- you are an interesting and diverse bunch xxx

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Wednesday 10 November 2010


I think I struck very lucky.  Yesterday I got my first Etsy shop sale!  A beautiful linen forest print tea towels is now flying over to the USA.  
This is a little sneak peek of a project I am making for a pre Christmas blog idea from Mia of Handmade by Mia.  She is going to host a series of makes for Christmas and this is mine.  It is a back view- the back always starts to look better than the front at some stage- and the fabric is from Windham fabric- Elsie's Kitchen.  On etsy, I think I came across the inspiration for this fabric- take a look
There is no such thing as a new idea, just constant reinvention!
I'll let you know when the Mia's set of makes for Christmas starts by take a look at the beautiful felted birds, bags purses she makes- I have already ordered something foxy from her for Christmas, I couldn't resist!
sib blog

Sunday 7 November 2010

Shop and shopping

This picture can only mean one thing...
I have finally got my etsy shop running, click here to take a look, or find the button on the right.  It has taken me ages to set up but all sorted now.  I will only be selling a few things at a time,vintage tea towels at the moment, some vintage fabric to be added and then when my I have a bit more time and Lula takes herself to school I will put some makes on.  It is just a tiny shop, I'll see how it goes, don't exepct to making those millions just yet.
Some good finds at the carboot today, horsey horsey tin full of buttons and bits 

Super cute writing set from 1970s

 Furniture that I wish was life sized...
but is instead adorning the mantel above the fire

Couldn't resist this, even Lula and my husband (even more so) did not 'get it'.  I got it and I love it.

More sewing bits from a bust up old sewing basket, the singer scissors are particularly nice, still sharp.  Old wooden reels of thread with names like Eau de Nil and Napoleon.

Still some of the weekend left, make the most of it whatever you are doing x

sib blog

Saturday 6 November 2010

Making a photo pop! For non photographer types

I have to prefix this post with a warning for anyone who really does know anything about photography, what follows are a few tips that I have found useful to make my photos pop using iphoto.  I am slightly embarrassed and almost reluctant to share this,  I am an arty type but I know very little about photography so no technical stuff here.  My iphoto is a few years old but I'm hoping this still applies to the newer version.  My brother is a graphic designer and passed on a few ways to pimp my pics in iphoto and also why some pics pop and some don't.  Please don't laugh at my feeble explanations and layperson terms!  My iphoto is a few years old but I'm hoping this still applies to the newer version.
It is all about using the adjust tools, one of the options that run along the bottom of the window that comes up when you open iphoto. (Click and of the pics in this post to see everything a bit bigger!)
Pic 1:  A bit dark and you can see this when you click the adjust icon (bottom centre of the iphoto window)
See the graph?  All the zigs and zags are over to the left and it flat lines on the right.  Now you can adjust this pic by moving the slider arrow that points to 100% on the right and drag it until it reaches the zigs and zags
Your photo will now be much lighter and have a bit of zing.  I 'm happy with that, click done, good pic.
Sometimes there is a flatline at the beginning of the adjust graph as well as the end- see below
Do the same as we did before, drag the slider until they meet the coloured zigs and zags- adds light and a bit of contrast.
Happy so far- we can take this further, there are lots of options in the adjust window.  This pic was for a fabric stack theme of warmth and I wanted to make my pic glow a bit.  An easy way to do that is to adjust the Tint, see it in the adjust window below?  Drag it leftwards to the red circle and it makes everything warmer and glowy
rightwards, towards the green gives a cooler feel
Don't like what you have done?  click Reset Sliders.
This reminds me of when you are watching a TV drama or a film and the director has gone for a certain colour palette and you notice lots of green and brown or whatever they have opted for.   Some photographers have a particular style they go for- lots of contrast, green tint or whatever.  Some of us are just happy to make a pic taken on a dull day look good for posting on a blog or Flickr.  Have a play with the adjust tools, they are a bit more subtle than clicking the enhance button.  Effects has some good options too if you haven't had a go with it before.  

When you have taken a good pic, the adjust graph has no flat lines; the light and colours are balanced,  you wouldn't want or need to change it- this is a nice pic from me this week.
I dedicate this post to Lynne, she knows who she is...x
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