Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

Sewing again

My lovely niece Hannah is getting married in July.  She lives far away, and I don’t get to see her very often.  I was very touched to learn that she still uses a quilt that I made for her when she was a little girl.     H-quilt Dec 2000

Hannah asked me to make a quilt as a gift for her maid of honour.  What an honour for me to be such an important part of her Big Day!  🙂  She admired a quilt that I made for her Grandad a while back, and asked if I could use that colour scheme for her friend’s quilt.
Dad's quilt

I still had a lot of that fabric in my stash and thought how easy this would be!

2014-05-20 17.16.34

When I looked at the fabric selection again, I was less enthusiastic.  The colours were still nice, and the fabric was in excellent condition, as my stash lives in a windowless dark room under the stairs.  But I no longer have every fabric from the original, and it all looked a bit boring and dated and not very feminine.  These are young sophisticated working women in their mid-20’s, so I definitely wanted something more contemporary without being overly girly.

After a little trip to the fabric store and mixing and matching with other choices from my stash, I finally had the good mix that I saw in my “vision” of Hannah’s quilt.

The new fabrics:
2014-05-20 17.27.56

The two groups together:

2014-05-20 17.29.28

This pattern is a variation of a Victorian crazy quilt.  Here are the little components shuffled and ready to assemble into blocks.


And the first completed block:

Completed block
I love this pattern.  It’s called “Stack, Cut and Shuffle”, and it was designed by Marion Patterson.  It’s from the book, love…Quilting.    This is a great book, and I highly recommend it.  No affiliation, I just like this book a lot.  Every pattern looks like fun to make.

book cover

The finished quilt top at Stage 1:

Top Stage 1

The pattern instructions  are complete at this stage, but I’m going to make some changes.  It is 40 inches x 60 inches now, and I want it larger, so I’m going to add 5-inch borders all around.  Then the abstract blocks will look like they are “floating” on a green background.


As usual, I am behind schedule.  It’s been a topsy turvy couple of years for our family and our house.  My sewing room has been re-purposed (again), and I have become a sewing nomad, working in different areas of the house wherever there is a flat surface.  😉

I am also very slow at sewing.  I always chase perfection, but I realise now that is the first step on the road to madness for me.  I’m trying to be more relaxed now, do my best work and enjoy the process without stressing over it.  Especially as the wedding draws near, I realise that FINISHED really is “better than perfect”.  But it’s going to be as perfect as I can manage.  🙂 Happy Wedding, Hannah!  I hope you like the quilt.   XOXOXO

More later as the finishing stages are completed!

Happy Quilting!  🙂

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Our older daughter was married last weekend.  It’s been a busy time with preparations, and I was able to use my home sewing skills to make some special things for the big day.   🙂

My daughter liked this style of ring pillow, so I made this one for her:

We purchased our bride’s wedding dress from a bridal shop, but we couldn’t find just the right dress for our younger daughter to wear as a bridesmaid.  So…back to the ways of my childhood, I did as my mother would have done, and we went to the fabric store to look at patterns and fabric.  We found just the right shade of pink silk dupion as requested by the bride, and my little one chose McCalls 5795 pattern as the dress she would like to wear.

This is a lovely pattern, and the instructions are easy to follow.  I had a few problems putting in the zipper, but I think that was my own fault from inexperience, as I had never sewn anything so complicated before.  I had difficulty managing all the layers — silk outer fabric, taffeta lining and tulle overskirt — even though I had carefully hand-basted everything together.   But after the second attempt, it was fine, and next time it will be easier!  🙂  Now that I’ve made this one, I’m eager to try it again.

Here’s the dress almost finished, just needing a bit of handwork:

It turned out really well, and here are our two lovely girls on the Big Day:

I suddenly realised that my “little one” isn’t so little anymore.  And my “big girl” is all grown up.  Where does the time go?

Happy Quilting — and Sewing!  🙂

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Our oldest daughter, the one who received the Turquoise Scraps quilt for her birthday, has brought me the most beautiful Mother’s Day card!

She cut pictures out of magazines and recreated the Buttonberry (Note: Link Updated 30-8-11) block that I used for her turquoise birthday quilt and also for her queen-size black, red and white quilt.

This is the most unique and personalised card I have ever received, and I was so pleased that I just wanted to share it!  🙂

Happy Quilting!

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My daughter’s school celebrated Book Week this week in conjunction with World Book Day on March 4, and one day, the students were allowed to dress as characters from their favourite books instead of wearing their usual school uniforms.

My young daughter recently had an opportunity to meet the author John Malam, and she received an autographed copy of his book, 100 Things You Should Know About Mummies. She is fascinated with Ancient Egyptians and archaeology, so she was inspired by this book to dress up as a mummy.

I made her costume by sewing strips (and strips and strips!) of muslin onto a set of pyjamas.  Her hat/mask was supposed to look like a pyramid, but it came out looking like a ghost instead!  But she was happy, and that’s what counts.  🙂

Next week I will be seriously sewing on my “Too Good to Cut” challenge quilt.  I’m starting to feel left behind by the other Challenge participants, some of whom are practically finished with their quilt tops now!  Well done, everyone, and thank you for the inspiration!  To check on their progress, please visit them by following the links under “Challenge Participants” in my blog roll.

Happy Quilting!

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I finished quilting the Turquoise Scraps birthday quilt today, just in time to deliver it to our oldest daughter when she came over for dinner and cake to celebrate her birthday this evening.

Here’s the front…

and the back…

and our beautiful Birthday Girl.   She likes her quilt.  🙂   Happy 19th Birthday, Sweetheart!

Happy Quilting!

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I just got the most wonderful Christmas present from my best friend in Austin, Texas.   She writes the blog, Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets.

It’s a Texas care package!  It has lots of things that I cannot buy here in England and really miss from “home” — Luzianne tea bags (for “real” iced tea!), Kraft macaroni and cheese, and a big bag of Fritos.  YUM!  She also sent American magazines — American Girl for my daughter, Backpacker for my husband, and Texas Highways and two quilting mags for me — Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks collector’s edition and the Quick Quilts Christmas issue.   And a T-shirt from the University of Texas!  (but I forgot to put it in the picture)  🙂

Thank you very much, Sweetie!  You are so thoughtful and kind.  I’ve been feeling really homesick lately, and you made me feel so much better!

Merry Christmas to you, Merry Christmas to all!

Happy Quilting, too!

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My husband and daughter had a good time carving their Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns last night.   I just wanted the pumpkin seeds for toasting, and they did all the hard work for me!  😉

Carving pumpkins

Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks has a wonderful recipe for Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and I used her basic method for making my own little snacks.  Using spices from my own cupboard, I made four savoury varieties:

  • Garlic with Herbes de Provence,
  • Curry,
  • Chili, and
  • Black Pepper,

each with a light sprinkling of salt.

I also made a sweet version for my little one — after toasting some plain seeds, I tossed them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Toasted seeds


Happy Sewing — and Happy Halloween!  🙂

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We have lovely neighbours.  Here they are, enjoying an evening snack.

Next-door neighbours

The day before yesterday, we noticed one of these lovely ladies poking her head over the dry stone wall that borders our property, trying to eat the mint plants from last year’s vegetable garden.

Then, when I was making dinner yesterday evening,  I happened to glance out the kitchen window, and I did a double take!  Part of the wall had collapsed, with a great heap of stones crushing all the plants in the flower bed.

Wall collapsed

My husband called our “real” neighbour, the farmer who owns the cows, and he came right over.  He and my husband rebuilt the wall in less than half an hour, and now it looks as good as new.   I think these dry stone walls are so attractive.  There must surely be a quilt pattern (more…)

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…for washing quilts and drying them on the clothesline.  It’s so nice to finally see the sun in our corner of Yorkshire.   🙂

quilts on clothesline

Happy Sewing!

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Quilting people can do anything.  We really can.  Measure, measure, measure….cut, cut, cut…change the shape and put it all together again.

Today we had new flooring installed in our kitchen, following a plumbing disaster which ruined the old floor.   We have a closet in our kitchen which I call the “pantry” and my husband calls the “larder.”   We forgot to order enough flooring to include the pantry, so the fitter said he would try if he had a large enough piece left over.  Well, he didn’t.

After he left, I went to tidy up the scraps and rubbish, and I found a large (more…)

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