finish one a month #1 (or unbirthday gift for August).

Early August I shared some photos with you of a whole variety of unfinished projects, some going back 10 years, that are hiding away in my drawers.  And I publicly declared that I needed to give myself a kick up the backside, in order to finish off one a month.

I took an easy option for the first project which was already quilted and cut to a 17” square, destined to become a cushion cover.

2nd cat top

It didn’t take long at all to make the back and sew together.

cat cushion finished front

cat cushion finished back

It finishes up at approx 16” which is a common size for cushion inserts.  And this has been folded up, packaged up, and posted off to a very good friend, Valérie.  Wishing her a happy un-birthday in August.  One F/O down, lots more to go!

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a sentimental ramble and a necessary kick up the backside

There’s not a day goes by that I don’t regret having started this blog.  It’s been a way to reach out, and “meet” so many wonderful, like-minded crafters over the years.  Each day begins, for me, with a fresh mug of coffee, and a blog hop, as I scroll down in my WP reader, to see what blogging friends have been up to.  Or checking my email, for the notifications I receive when a non-WP blogger has posted.  My coffee usually goes cold, unforgotten, as I start leaving comments or replying to those left here.  Even my husband, peers over my shoulder as I blog hop and admires what you’ve all been up to!  Although he’s always more interested in the photos of gardens, flowers, animals and interesting walks.

I started out as a cross stitcher, more than 20 years ago, but over the years, I have branched out into other crafts, discovering more and more brilliant blogs as I go . . . finding friendship, inspiration, motivation and encouragement every step of the way.

I want to say “thank you” to everyone who stops by to read me and my ramblings.  When I first started blogging, I didn’t expect my blog to become such a big part of my daily life.  It really started out as an on-line journal for myself.  A “Dear Diary” in a sense.  A way of keeping track of projects I had worked on, which explains why I don’t talk or share much about my private life, except our animals and country surroundings.

Anyway . . . (because you’re already wondering if I’m going anywhere with this . . . ) that’s the sentimental ramble over lol.  Now onto the kick up the backside!

I was looking back over some of my old posts which made me realise how fast time really does fly as you get older.  Things I thought  happened only yesterday, happened much longer ago . . . and I realised, I need to get my finger out!

Because, I still have all of the following, in their unfinished state, stashed away in my drawers, and I didn’t realise (until the other day) just how many projects have been waiting for so long, for a full-flung Happy Dance!

There’s this

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Last posted about in September 2016, which got no farther than being assembled into 3 bands, before being folded and put away.

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My hand-pieced “Let it bee” hexie top, still in this unfinished stage since July 2016.

2nd cat top

A quilted cushion front, still waiting for a back, since June 2016.

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Two native American Indians, cross-stitched in 2013, then assembly begun in April 2016 to make wall hangings . . . still waiting.

And when I start looking at other cross-stitched pieces awaiting some kind of finish . . . it goes from the relatively recent, like these

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“Statement Flowers” – February 2017, to these . . . .

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Vervaco Zodiac signs – set of 12 finished in June 2016.

SAL friendship quilt finished

“Friendship Quilt” finished in October 2015 – this would make a great cushion cover to go with my recent “such fun!” F2F2 quilt, despite having purple, not blue.

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“Cirque des Triangles” finished in September 2014 and still waiting for a frame.

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“Pentacost Two” finished in December 2013.

And it gets worse . . . with these two that date back to around 2007

“Bramble & the Rose” by Ink Circles on left and the “Grand Marquoir” by Isabelle Vautier on the right.  As well as a selection of “smalls” just folded and sitting in a drawer since I can’t remember when (since I never date my work).

And those are just a few . . .

I am therefore going to try and actually properly finish off some of the above over the coming months.  Even if I only manage to tackle one a month.   It seems  silly to have spent so much time (and money) crafting when the results are hidden from view in a drawer.

“such fun!”–happy dancing

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One of my favourite quotes (for all you Miranda fans) . . . and photos of “such fun!”, made with blocks from the F2F2 swap, organised by Kate

Those who follow my blog will remember this adventure began in June last year, when I joined a block swap, and spent 9 months, making and posting blocks to other ladies in their chosen colourways.  Until it was my turn, in February.  My colour inspiration was

Claire

And I think you’ll agree that the finished quilt as just as bright and colourful as these Rainbow Lorikeets.  A big thank you to Kate, the organiser.  But also to Lynn, Sandra, Sue, Susan, Moira, Gun, Esther who were the other official members of the swap.  And a thank you to Avis, who made and sent 3 blocks for my birthday, so I would have a total of 30 blocks for this patchwork.

It’s big.  It’s the biggest I’ve ever made.  Finishing up at 87” x 73” (that’s 220cm x 185cm).

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I added 1” orange sashing to each block before quilting and did the assembly using the QAYG (quilt as you go) method.  Using a splodgy/dotty print fabric on the back and repeating the orange bands.   Each block was quilted differently, by machine, and each block has the name of the maker embroidered on it, very discreetly, in orange thread.  That way, in the years to come, I’ll remember exactly who made what.

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So there you have it!  The swap was a wonderful learning experience, helped boost my confidence and really was “such fun!”.

my little helper

Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be having a happy dance in the next few days, depending on how much help I get from my little helper.

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Yep, that’s my F2F2 quilt you can see on my lap.  All quilted, assembled and with binding machine sewn on.  More than 300 inches of binding.  And I’m now on the last stage of hand-sewing the binding to the back.

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Don’t I look enthralled?  lol.  It’s not so much the (more than) 300 inches of hand sewing that’s the problem.  It’s my little helper.  Le Bleu seems to think this quilt is fine and finished, just as it is.  And not helping at all.  My husband’s reaction is “Just push him off!” but awwwww  he looks so peaceful.

Meanwhile . . . photo of another of our cats.

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Yup, Ducky, who still looks as if he lost a fight with a mini lawn mower.  Fur seems to be taking ages to grow back!  It’s been 3 weeks since the operation.

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Now that the scar has healed, it’s almost invisible, but you can still distinctly see the two darker marks of the nasty cat teeth that bit him.  All that will be a thing of the past, once fur grows.

“a little bird told me” – ready for quilting

I had said I wouldn’t be showing you photos of the new baby quilt in progress until it was finished . . . but I’m going back on my word ecause these fabrics are just too much fun not to show off.

a little bird 01

The quilt top is done.  I had a rethink along the way, and have toned things down a little towards the end.  Originally I was going to add purple bands all around, but I’ve added ivory sashing instead.   Ivory  rather than bright white, because it turns out the bird background isn’t a bright white.  Purple will be used again though, for the binding.  Here, just laid on top to get an idea of what it will look like.

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And will, methinks, be just perfect.

I found inspiration for this fun quilt in the book

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“Quick and easy quilts for kids” by Connie Ewbank.  It’s packed full of 12 very easy designs, mostly with novelty prints and bright colours.  They’re all very simple, but it was a useful source to give me the ideas I needed and not have to work out fabric requirements by myself.

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This is the pattern I followed from the book.  As I said above, I was going to have purple borders and ivory binding . . . but when push came to shove, opted for ivory borders and purple binding.

This top is now going to be folded away and the job of quilting and binding will wait a few weeks.  Baby isn’t due yet, so no immediate rush to get this finished.    I need to give Juki a good clean, before the next sewing session, and I’ll be threading her up with orange thread so I can have a F2F2 happy dance by the end of July!  

“a little bird told me”– baby quilt in progress

Only the other day, I showed you some fabrics I had ordered, with a baby quilt in mind.  For a baby girl, soon to be born.   The seller was incredibly efficient and sent my parcel off the same day, so I didn’t have to wait long to receive all my yummy new fabrics. 

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The main fabric for this baby quilt is a bird print.  Other fabrics were ordered accordingly.  Anyway . . . as soon as my parcel arrived, I nipped into my sewing room and delved into my stash drawers (including scrap bags and 5” charm square box).  Being true to myself, I always have trouble cutting into gorgeous new fabric, and some of the long quarters I ordered just seemed too pretty to cut into lol.

I did cut into them though . . . but also found about 20 charm squares and a few scraps that mixed well with the colour palette of birds . . . so they are being incorporated into the quilt too. 

For once, I’m actually following a pattern.  As in, a real pattern, from a book!  I’ll tell you all about that when the quilt is finished (credit where credit is due and all that).  At the moment, I do have something to show you though.

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The beginnings!  Here, you can see the piecing so far.  I’ve cut 4 bands in the bird print, 6.5” wide by 54.5”.  And so far, have assembled one band of 2.5” squares (so 54 little squares in assorted fabrics). 

It’s going to be very quick to make, this one.  And such fun, to be playing with all these bright colours.  The only colour I haven’t tried to include in my squares is that of the little the orange/red bird because I wanted to add bright pinks. 

If I had any self-discipline, I would have spent the afternoon working on my F2F2 quilt, which is almost completely joined together, but not quite . . . but new fabrics were just too tempting not to dive in straight away! 

Ducky update, crochet WIPs and an upcoming patchwork

I am ever so pleased to say that Ducky’s ordeal is now over.  After going to the vets for an op, following a cat bite, and having to wear his bandage suit.  After being shut up in the guest room for endless days and nights . . . stitches are now out and Ducky is free to come and go as he pleases.

stitches out

Okay, he looks a bit strange still, with a huge, rectangular bald patch.  But fur will grow back eventually and this incident will soon be a thing of the past.

My only worry now is that our other 3 cats are all being very hissy towards him.  They don’t seem to recognise him anymore.  We were expecting Le Bleu to get antsy, because he always does.  However, even the usually docile Merlin and Abby have been hissing and trying to whack Ducky, whenever he gets too close.  In order to try and keep the majority happy, Ducky is therefore still having to sleep on his own in the guest room at night, just until the other cats get over their amnesia.

Apart from spending lots of time giving Ducky extra cuddles in the spare room . . . I have done a little bit of crafting recently.  Not as much as I would have liked, but even so, a few photos to share with you.

WIP monkey

I’ve made a start on “Johny the monkey” – a pattern in the first Zoomigurumi book.  This one is labelled as being for “experienced” crocheters, probably because of the shaping on the face part.  It wasn’t difficult though.  I just followed the excellent stitch by stitch instructions and it hooked up with no problem.  So far I’ve made the head, body, face bit and 2 ears.  Next to tackle the other parts.

I also started a second pattern, from the same book, because working in dark brown isn’t always easy.

WIP pony

This one, “Leila the pony”.  My pony is going to be mainly baby pink, and I’m thinking of using a dark grey for the hooves.  With (possibly) a purple mane and tail, but I haven’t decided yet.  So far, one body, waiting to be stuffed.

And more pics of some new fabrics I am eagerly awaiting . . .

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baby 02

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One of our neighbours is expecting a baby girl later this year . . . any excuse eh?  I’ll be making a baby sized quilt, with the bird print as my main fabric, and other pretty colours too.  Can’t wait for fabrics to arrive and to make a start!