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  1. This coming Sunday is my 30th birthday - so this week is the last of my 20s.  I feel like my age is finally catching up with my life.

    I have 3 gorgeous boys who are the stars in my universe; although prior to writing this the older 2 were at each others throats, a husband who works hard so that I can be at home with the boys and a huge home that if we had the time and money could be all that we dream of.

     Eat or ride sausage roll

    The last year has been amazing:

    L arrived very speedily - I was in labour for just over an hour - I was one of those women who had to be removed from the car.  I was holding him in as the floor in front of my seat was covered in the remains of several in-car meals.

    I had a quilt in a competition for the first time as an adult - the feedback from the judges made me realise how subjective art/craft is.

    We took the boys to Thomasland - and I got to experience the sheer joy (J) and terror (A) that fairground rides bring.

    We spent Xmas at home for the first time ever - and had our first tree; I even made decorations.

    We finally put the boat on the market - with the aim of moving back to NZ - no bites yet.

    I found the London Modern Quilt Guild and broke out of my isolation - and have filled my plate with so much.

    I have started Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' in honour of my birth father.

    I have decided to start a VERY small business.

    I have started and FINISHED projects.

    I have 40(!) Video tutorials to be filmed mid-May

    I have been motivated to follow through with a lot of my ideas.

     

    So I have decided to have my first ever giveaway - as a celebration of the website also having a birthday.  A year ago I started to design the website and write a few blog posts (although it didn't go live until May).

    If I get at least 15 (my birthday is the 15th) comments I will send something to each of those people: something that I have made. It could be a miniature quilt, a pincushion or a brooch/badge.

    If I get more than 15 comments I will aim to get something to everybody. * So tell your friends

    So to enter:

    Comment below - tell me what your favourite colour is, and your favourite moment of the last year.

    Please make sure there is an email address so I can get in touch with you to arrange delivery of your item.

     

    Danielle

     

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  2. I have a lot of projects on the go for May - a lot of tutorials to prepare for.  One of which is 'How to make a hexagon quilt', so I got out 2 of my Festival of Quilts purchases: 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone and the roll of batiks in purples, oranges and reds.  And I have so far made 4 Hexagon blocks - not entirely sure what it is going to be when finished - possible a lap quilt. 

    I have never really been a big fan of grandmother's garden - although I have one GG quilt that lives in my house, made from crimpoline from a group of 3 made by my Granny.  But in 5,500 Quilt Block Designs there are about 10 pages about 180 or so hexagon designs - I have picked 8, and will make some individual hexies as well.  I am slowly being converted - I especailly like the Wagon Wheel and some of the star designs.

    Here are the 4 that I have made so far...

     

    Block Puzzle Wonder of Egypt Wagon Wheel Hexagon Star
    Block Puzzle Wonder of Egypt Wagon Wheel

    Hexagon Star

     

     

    The first 3 have 2 inch sides and the Hexagon Star has 3 inch sides.

    Trying to draft imperial hexies on metric paper was not fun - and I had to get my protractor out (each side is 60 degrees/120 degrees - depends on which side) - I could have printed off some but our printer has no ink, and I have yet to decide whether to replace it or replace the printer (which takes different ink...).

    If EPP hexagons such as Grandmother's Garden aren't your thing - what do you think of the alternatives?

    Danielle

     

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  3. Yet again the lovely Lynne (who I am hoping to meet at the Fat Quarterly Retreat) of Lily's Quilts is having the Small Blog Meet - through the Small Blog Meet I discovered that the London Modern Quilt Guild had come into existence and I am now the LMQG Charity Co-ordinator and making some great Quilty friends.

    Lily's Quilts

    I love to hand sew - when we first moved to the UK I didn't have a sewing machine, so I made clothes by hand - a very easy technique: pin the cut pieces together and using tailors chalk draw your seam allowance on then sew back stitch along this line - it's similar to the lock stitch that a sewing machine makes.  Obviously it is not as quick as machine sewing but you can still make things without a machine or if, like me, your electricity supply gets cut.  Our electricity went out this morning - without warning - although we had been told last week that repairs would be taking place (I live on a boat and we are connected to a dodgy and expensive supply).

    But my passion for hand sewing was formed when I became obsessed with English Paper Piecing - if I can use EPP or whip-stitch for making things other than patchwork I do; I have made a Princess Leia costume, Christmas decorations and toys.

    I can use a sewing machine and am pretty proficient perhaps not technical, but I have 2 little boys who like to get involved with my machine when I am sewing - driving cars over it, turning the light on and off, and trying out the foot pedal for themselves.  But when I am hand sewing they leave me (almost) alone. 

    I have a large stash - as I have been collecting fabric for about 15 years - if I used my machine it would be pretty much gone and as we have only one income at the moment I couldn't afford to replace it.  Although recently through the wonders of the Internets I have discovered Freezer Paper Piecing which I am thinking of using for a few projects I have a tight deadline for...

    I have a selection of blocks to try EPP with in the Patchwork-a-long, EPP tutorials, and a great charity cause to get involved in with Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo'.

     

    Danielle

     

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  4.  

    I haven't been very productive this month - as we were all knocked out for over a week with a nasty lurgy, the first time that both Al and I were sick at exactly the same time.

    Even though I was unwell I still had the LMQG tutorial and challenge to prepare for.  The challenge block still looks as it did in my last post - I avoided it, mainly because I didn't like it and didn't really know what to do with it when I finish it - I will set myself the challenge of finishing and finding something to do with it - but no time frame on that as I have A LOT coming up in the next few months.

    The LMQG meeting yesterday was great, I was even early for once - it's only taken 3 meetings - and left the house at 9.10 and walked back in the door after 5pm so it was a great day.

    We were very lucky to have a surprise visit from Aneela Hoey - who has a great photo of us all on her blog - and she is now planning on joining us as often as she can.

    For a very young group we have a lot going on - a mini exhibition at John Lewis Oxford Street in June, a workshop with Lucie Summers end of this month and 2nd week of May, a visit from Thomas Knauer and the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June as well.  It's so great to be a part of it all.

    Anyway - here is the written version of the tutorial I started after the main meeting - unfortunately not everybody could stay for the full tutorial and it was only the beginning of the project I designed.

    ...

  5. The London Modern Quilt Guild challenge for March is to use scraps (from the scrap swap, your stash) to make a wonky log cabin or crazy block. 

    As usual I haven't used my machine - mainly because when I do I have 2 little boys getting in my way (sewing machine = machinery = endless source of fascination for little boys, EPP = hand-sewing = no interest to little boys), and also in an effort to prove that EPP can be used for all forms of patchwork including quite improvisational piecing.

    My block has turned out more an amalgam of a log cabin and a crazy block as the scraps that I gained in the swap were not long enough - my scraps were also added to by Michael at Tricolette giving me the off-cuts from his fat quarter cutting.  I have kept it very scrappy and a lot of the fabrics are not ones I would normally use - but that is the point of a challenge - but I don't really like the result.  I need about 2 more inches on each side to get it to be the smallest required for the challenge - but I haven't touched it for about a week.  I WILL finish it - out of principle - but it is going to be an orphan block.

    LMQG March Challenge in progress

    LMQG March Challenge Askew Log Cabin 2

    Also out of my comfort zone is planning to start a very small business - for English Paper Piecing supplies; the majority of which I will be designing and developing myself.  For someone who has always dreamed of working for myself it is still a very daunting prospect.

     

    Danielle

     

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  6. Sunday was the 3rd monthly meeting of the London Modern Quilt Guild; and the Show and Tell was the items made for the February Valentine's inspired Challenge.

    I was the second to Show and Tell and got an amazing response with requests for a tutorial - so here it is:

    I suggest reading through and making decisions about design before you cut any fabric – which I didn't do. If you find any problems or any questions – feel free to get in touch.

     

    Lay Flat Sewing Bag with English Paper Pieced Pockets

    Sewing Bag Tutorial 1 Sewing Bag Tutorial 4

    Unfortunately I don't have any step by step photos of construction so you will have to use your imagination...

    The outside pocket and small inside pocket are both EPP; the blocks are both my own design - the outside pocket is a twist on a heart log cabin and the inside pocket design I think looks flower-like especially with the small green triangles.       

    I used centimetre grid paper to draft my blocks and all fabric measurements were made with very loose centimetre measurements - but can be easily adjusted for whatever size you want to make.

    The grid on centimetre graph paper is 5 millimetres per square and 5 of these squares measures just under an inch.

    The large heart design is based on a square of 7x7 of 5x5 squares (hope that makes sense).  And the 3 smaller hearts are based on a square of 4x4.

    ...

  7. As it is the beginning of the month (although day 3) it is Small Blog Meet again - with thanks again to Lynne at Lily's Quilts for this wonderful way of being introduced to other members of the Quilty world.

    Lily's Quilts

    I have been busy sewing this week - getting my piece for the London Modern Quilt Guild's February challenge finished.  And it is pretty much there - no major sewing jobs left - maybe a few more accessories to make. 

    My inspiration seems to have subconsciously come from my mother's sewing room - for years she has taught classes to make a patchwork bag - patchwork in 2 ways the outside pockets and for taking your patchwork in.  I have started 2 of these bags but have yet to finish them properly.  The other craft bag of hers that has made an appearance is a bag she used for her knitting which has an embroidered outside pocket.

    It is very gray here today so not the best time to take finished photos - so here are the work in progress photos.

    I will try to take some better photos tomorrow.

    Danielle

    Please also take a look at my previous post - and get in touch if you'd like to participate.

     

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  8. This time last week I posted about my crafty going outs, but I didn't mention what happened as I was on my way home from the Modern Quilting Magazine launch.

    As I was walking from the train station to the bus stop to make the last leg of my trip home - I received word that my birth father had lost his battle with Prostate cancer.  His funeral was today - but I am on the opposite side of the world and feel very detached from it all.

    We never had the conventional father/daughter relationship as we never lived together.  When I was 22 we spent a month together in Turkey which was the start of a better understanding of who he was.  He was also present for the few weeks before A was born less than 2 and a half years ago - and luckily A arrived the day before he flew back to NZ.  Not long after he returned home, he was diagnosed with the cancer - but it hadn't been diagnosed early enough and had spread to his bones.  Being the son of a GP he was pretty good at going to see his Dr but a vital test was not made PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen); which is an indicator as to whether there is cancerous cells present in the prostate.

    I was talking to my mum - who had reconnected with my birth father and re-established their friendship after 20 odd years - and she said that she was angry at his Dr for not picking up on the cancer sooner.  My dad's family has a history of female reproductive cancers - which we had been discussing when he was over before A was born - but there had been no occurrences of male cancers, little did we know that his body was already riddled with cancer that started in the prostate.

    From this anger and a need to do something constructive about it I suggested that we do some fundraising for both the Hospice (which is fully privately funded) where he spent his last few weeks and for Movember charities.

    ...

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