Monday, 27 February 2012

I`m Late, I`m Late...

for a very important time to say `hello` `goodbye`, I`m late, I`m late, I`m late!

We`re back from my SiL`s wedding in Casablanca, which was lovely but I`m up against the clock to get my pouch finished for the Mouthy Stitches swap. We finished up 5.30 am and so we`re all totally exhausted!

So I shall leave you with some photos of the bride and her 5 dress changes so you can feel like you were there too...oh, and my beautiful boy who was as good as gold.

Just leaving our hotel - excited and shower fresh! 

 ...the bride carried high on a litter (dress 1)...

...having henna applied (dress 2)...

...the happy couple making the rounds (dress 3)...

...wearing dress 4 and an apparently and unsurprisingly heavy and uncomfortable headdress - an elaborate creation...

...and at 5.30 am, throwing bags of sugared almonds to the guests...

Bed time.

Friday, 24 February 2012

News from the hive(s)

We have my sister in law`s wedding tomorrow in Casablanca and so I`ve been a bit of a busy bee.  While all my SiLs (I have five) will be there with their glamorous up-dos, I`ve rebelled and had my hair cut quite short. Eyebrows have been tamed and broken splintered nails are now smooth  Zaki said he didn`t like them (and I kind of have to agree with him) and would have preferred blue or green. They may have to undergo a make-under colourwise before tomorrow.

Anyway, I thought I should talk to you about bees. I am now in 4 although I can only talk to you about 3 of them as the fourth launches in March and until then I have to keep schtum.

As you know, I`m in the Care circle of do.Good Stitches - an international circle of lovely ladies who make for a cause close to the queen bee.  This month was the turn of Dolores (A Labour of Love) who asked for green and white sawtooth star blocks.  They will be made up in to a quilt for a family who have lost their mum. She was only 37. You can read about it here.

...and at the beginning of the month I signed up to a new bee, We Bee Modern Too - the second hive for a bee making blocks from the book Modern Blocks set up by Megan of City Stitches. You`ll have to wait until October to see which block I choose. This month was the turn of Kersten (Frozen Knickers) who chose the Missing Your Kiss block by Sew Take a Hike.  She asked us to use our stash and use a bright border.  I chose a mostly citrus-y palette. This block was fun to make and the opal fruit colours are new for me.

I`m also in the 1st quarter of the 4x5 Modern Bee and have kept my colours of orange, purple and grey. Every quarter you change hives and so you are always with new people.  I received some lovely blocks last quarter (I must show you a group photo) and it looks like it`s going to be just as good in this one.  Look at these Union Jack blocks made by Cathy.  Aren`t they great? I`ve still to come up with the block I`ll be making but I have until April to get it done so it`s lower down on the list of must-dos at the moment!

The last bee is? More next month.  For now? ZIP.

Have a great weekend - tomorrow is going to be a late night.  Moroccan weddings start late and go on all night. I promise to tell you all about it when we`re back.  For now, play it again Sam!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Confucius Say...

..."she who drops her phone in the toilet in the morning will have bad day quilting."

And that`s exactly how it was on Monday hence my funk yesterday for which I`m sorry.

I would just like to say that the swaps I`m in are organised fabulously and the swap mamas are supportive, encouraging and super helpful.  My downer on swaps is all to do with the mysteries of the world postal `system` and my quilting inadequacies!

So on Monday, after an inauspicious start to the day, I spent the afternoon quilting my For the Love of Solids mini using a square spiral design within each wonky log cabin and some pale green thread.  I wasn`t loving it but I carried on.  That was my mistake.

As I came to the last wonky log cabin I  Hence my funk yesterday as with no LQS to run to, I had to rip out all the quilting.  It took hours! I changed tack, got the painter`s tape out and quilted it using a taupe thread in an abstract straight line design.

...personally I like the back best.

I`ve tried my best and just hope my partner likes it...

...she`s a serial swapper and knows what she likes.  I have to make a small something to go with it and then it`s ready to be posted.

My big worry now is my Mouthy Stitches` pouch.  There is linen coming to me and it should have arrived by now and it`s this kind of thing that causes swap stress.  If it doesn`t arrive today then it`s Plan B...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

News Flash

I have no hair left.

I have torn it ALL out.

I am suffering from Post Traumatic Swap Disorder.

If I ever sign up to another swap.  Shoot me.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Nosey Parker in the Neighborhood #4 Crafter`s Edition

It`s a couple of months since I linked up to Kat`s Nosey Parker in the Neighbourhood but here goes.  This month, it`s all about what crafts we get up to.

1)  What are your preferred crafts? Do you have one primary one that you do most of or do you dabble around in many different crafts? 

My creative outlets include blogging, bead jewelery making, photography and quilting. I always wanted to write a book but I now realize there`s little chance of that. However, I do like playing with words.  A year ago I started making jewelery using semi-precious stones and silver.  I love pearls and this is one of my favourite necklaces, which a friend commissioned me to make. It`s cultured round pearls and stick pearls and Bali silver.

I also love photography.  Living in Morocco is a photographer`s dream.  The light is beautiful and the subject matter is varied, colourful and never dull.  As the months get warmer, it becomes too hot to quilt and photography kind of takes over for a couple of months.

Wash Day in the Ourika Valley
Still life of an artichoke
 My creative focus at the moment is quilting which I love love love.

2)  What avenues inspire you most in your sewing/crafting that we might like to check out?

In anything I do, I`m completely self taught.  The internet and particularly blogs are a constant source of inspiration and I learn new things every day. There are way too many inspiring blogs to mention and flikr and pinterest can easily provide hours of inspiration. I love quilting books and this book and this book are on my wish list as improv.piecing is something I would love to learn more about.While I can`t get magazines here I have bought a few issues of Fat Quarterly and love it - it`s the best value e-zine out there.

3) Are you a one project at a time person or do you have "craft ADD" - OR are you somehow like me and have a combination of both?

I tend to be a finisher and certainly finish more quickly these days thanks to blogging, which is a great motivator as well as QALs, which I love. I seem to have found myself in 4 bees (how did that happen?) and as 4 sets of blocks a month is quite occupying as well as being in 2 swaps , I don`t have many WiPs at the moment.

Lark by Amy Butler
I recently whipped up my Lark quilt top but can`t progress this until I find the right backing fabric.  I never plan my quilts.  They kind of evolve.  So I never know what the backing or binding will be until the quilt top is finished.

4)  What is/has been your longest ever Work in Progress (WIP)?

Well that`s easy.  It`s the first quilt I ever made.

As I didn`t have a sewing machine, it was pieced, quilted and bound by hand.  My mum bought me a layer cake of Moda`s Arcadia in October 2009 and I finished the quilt in June 2011. It`s my son Zaki`s quilt.

Zaki`s quilt - finally finished!

5 ) What are some of your crafty projects that you've made recently (or not so recently is ok to) that you'd love us to see?

Well like Kat, I feel like I`m bombarding you with my makes every second so I`ve made you a mosaic of my favourites...well nearly everything I have ever made - all within the last 6 months because I`ve only been quilting seriously for that long!

 1. Lark Quilt Top, 2. Baby George`s Quilt, 3. Lucky Pieces Block, 4. Union Jack Quilt Sneeky Peek, 5. Central Park Quilt Top, 6. Duo QAL Quilt Back, 7. MCTR Front, 8. Blockade Block , 9. Ready for Binding (The front), 10. Gee`s Bend Inspired Mini Quilt, 11. Union Flag Cushion, 12. Across the Seas quilt - finished!, 13. Block for Annabel`s Quilt, 14. Quilted Amy Butler Disappearing 9 Patch Cushion Cover, 15. First Attempt at a Zippered Pouch, 16. DSCF9251

6) Do you have a piece of fabric or craft item of any sort with a story behind it that you'd like to share?

1. Union flag quilt, 2. Union flag quilt, 3. Union flag quilt, 4. Union flag quilt

This quilt is special because I was commissioned to make it by my friend Lisa for her daughter Leo...again it was made entirely by hand and took about 3 months with some fairly dense hand quilting (and I didn`t know about perle cotton then).  It wasn`t the first quilt I made (the second actually) but the first I finished! Quilting definitely got me out of a rut and has changed my day to day life - all because of 2 quilts made entirely by hand.  Now I have a machine...a new machine and things are a lot easier and a lot quicker!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Modern Mini Challenge

To say I`m excited to be participating in Jennifer`s Modern Mini Challenge is an understatement, and today`s my day! I`m sharing it with Twin Fibers, so be sure to pop over there too.

When I got Jennifer`s email inviting me to take part, ideas whizzed around in my head.  I certainly didn`t want to let her or you down. The mini quilt I`m sharing with you was made for the challenge.  It is the first mini I have made, the first quilt made completely from scraps, and the first made from solids (well almost - the red is from Moroccan Mirage by Kristian A.Howell).

I am currently participating in a solids swap and my partner loves improv.piecing. In my research to see how to approach this style of patchwork, I came across the Gee`s Bend quilts and I am head over heels in love with them.  The Gee`s Bend quilters are a group of women who live in Alabama in the isolated hamlet of Gee`s Bend and create amazing improv.pieced quilts. They are bright, unique, abstract and just a little bit crazy.

Using the blue and green (Delft, teal, olive, artichoke and peridot) Kona scraps left over from my partner`s quilt and adding in some Kona charcoal, Kona ash, white and a pop of red, I made this mini. It measures 22in.

Gee`s Bend Inspired Mini
The Gee`s Bend quilts were a big source of inspiration for some of the block designs...

...particularly the house top quilts - examples of which you can see here and here.

I didn`t use a ruler to measure or cut, and simply pieced different sized scraps of fabric together, making it up as I went along.  There are 12 blocks of varying sizes in total. It was liberating and huge fun but to get the design looking `right` was a lot harder than I thought!

There`s a certain wonk to this quilt as is typical of the Gee`s Bend quilts.  Whether or not that was deliberate, I`ll leave you to decide!

Jennifer`s challenge certainly inspired me to try something new.  I really hope you have been left inspired by the bloggers participating in this blog hop.  As Jennifer says, "Think big make small". Why not make your own mini and enter it in Jennifer`s challenge. The linkie opens on March 5 and remember, you don`t have to have a blog to enter.

The Modern Mini Challenge is generously sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop.

Your mini could be one of 5 winners! 

James’ choice (Jennifer`s husband chooses his favorite) 
Viewer’s choice Mug Rugs
Viewer’s choice Mini Quilts 
(mug rugs and mini quilts- the viewers choose from a selection chosen by myself and three other bloggers) 
Luck of the Draw (Random Number Generator chooses 2 winners)

Both Viewer’s Choice Winners will receive a fat quarter bundle of the FULL LINE of Flea Market Fancy reprint by Denyse Schmidt. 

James’ Choice Winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop

Both Luck of the Draw Winners will receive a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

There are still a couple more days of the blog hop to go.

 2/18: Cut to Pieces & Sew Sweetness

I can`t wait to see what you come up with.  Good luck!

Modern Mini Challenge

Thursday, 16 February 2012

It`s Beginning to Feel a Bit Like...


More fun post has arrived chez nous.  You`ll remember the terrible saga that was my Christmas tablerunner from the swap going missing. Well it hasn`t turned up sadly but I did find out who made it for me and that was the lovely Susan all the way away in Oz.  Susan made this amazing tablerunner for me.  Isn`t it stunning? Thank you so much Susan and being the eternal optimist I have a feeling it may one day turn up!

Well a few weeks ago, I was contacted via flikr by swap buddy, sweet Maggie in Salt Lake City enquiring as to whether my `runner had ever appeared.  When I said no, she said she was popping something in the post to me and it arrived!

A very cute tree mug rug, which Zaki has already claimed as his own.  Thank you Maggie - it means so much that someone who I have never met could think to do that. This won`t be put away for Christmas but will join my growing pile of mug rugs!

I`m still waiting on my linen so that I can get on with my pouch for the Mouthy Stitches` swap.  I`m not panicking yet as I know I can make it fairly quickly once it arrives. It is giving me time to get on with the mini quilt for the For the Love of Solids swap.  The top is finished. It will be 20 inches finished.

For the back, there will be one biggish wonky block against a white background. It should be completed over the weekend.

I shall leave you with a funny story.  I have to pick Zaki up from pre-school at 11.30 and the two and a half hours while he`s away are a whirlwind.  I`m not late to pick him up but I cut it fine.  This morning I collected him from the gate and I thought the gardian was looking at me strangely.  Zaki was his usual smiley self and it was only in the car that he asked why I had material hanging in my hair. I pulled from the top of my head a long strand of half inch thick Kona teal. Oh where have my groomed days disappeared to?

Don`t forget to check in tomorrow.  It`s my turn in Jennifer`s Modern Mini Challenge and I need your loving support!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The F.U.N.C is in town!

Oh yes, he`s come a knocking on my door.

The F.U.N.C in Marrakech
Handstitched Treasures indeed. The lovely Leanne was thoughtful enough to send it to me all the way from Alberta, Canada.  It is the brainf***child of the inimitable Rhonda.  I admit to having to have asked what F.U.N.C stood for.  If you are in any way unsure as to its meaning you can read all about it on Rhonda`s blog here.  Rhonda chucked it to Hadley who flung it to Susan who lobbed it over the Irish Sea to Judith who hurled it at Leanne.  And now he`s here.  There is something inexplicably odd about holding something that has passed through the hands of people who you `know` and somehow you don`t.  Ghostly almost.

Where will he end up next I wonder? I have to ponder that one but he`s off to the post office tomorrow for sure.  Trusting they take good care of him.

The Fugly Giveaway Winner is...

...Emily of Strawberry Patch!  Congratulations Emily - I`m emailing you now for your details.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Wiggle It Just a Little Bit...

This is a substance light post.  This is the diet crispbread of blog posts.  You should be able to tell that straight away from the title. 

Despite a lot of sewing in the last few days, I really have nothing I can show you.

There`s been a lot of wiggling going on here recently.

First up, I did some curvy wiggling with the orange strings that sweet Jennifer sent me.

 Then, having thankfully got a thumbs up from my For the Love of Solids swap partner, I wiggled up the mini quilt top.  Now I have a little breathing space to work out how I`m going to quilt it.

Only sneek peeks are allowed.

I also wiggled up a Union Jack mini quilt using Echo fabrics but it`s pretty lame. Sadly, Echo fabrics were harmed in the making of this improv.pieced mini quilt top.  Sorry.

...and I`ve also been wiggling for Jennifer`s Modern Mini Quilt Challenge but you`ll just have to wait until Friday to see what I`ve come up with.  I hope you`ve been following along with the blog hop as there`s loads of inspiration and if you come up with your own mini quilt or mug rug, you can join in the challenge and perhaps win some seriously amazing prizes.  Of course it`s the taking part that counts.  But there are some amazing prizes.  Just saying.  You can read all about it here.

Anyway, I hope I haven`t let that song settle in your brain so that you`re humming it all night! Hope you have all had a great weekend!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Hey Good Lookin`...

...what you got cookin`?

I`m guesting over at Karen`s today as part of her {friendship} february series.  Well I say `guesting` but actually she`s got me hard at work in the kitchen.  Still it`s warm and I have beautiful views over the Causeway Coast.  There`s some delicious smells coming from the stove as I`ve got a winter warmer for you.  So pop over here and draw up a chair.  I`m sure there is room for a little one.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Like the No.33 Bus... wait forever and then 3 come along at the same time!

The lovely, super creative, kind beyond words and charmingly verbose Susan is celebrating her 1st blogiversary today and she has a great giveaway (the third in as many days)!

Susan`s blocks for the Brit Bee
Click here to be taken to her corner of the blogosphere.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday - The Quilting Equivalent of Burning Your Bra

I feel liberated.  I feel free.  I`ve thrown my ruler away and am free of all shackles.

For the Love of Solids Mini Quilt Work in Progress

I`m in the zone.  I`m going with the flow. 5 blocks down and another 4 to go. 

Linking up for the first time in ages with Lee at Freshly Pieced .  Thanks as ever to Lee for hosting this link up. Head on over there to see what other people are making.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Fugly Giveaway

Lucy over at Charm About You is having a Fugly Party.  The aim is to de-stash your unwanted fabric and either give it away or swap it.  The fabric doesn`t necessarily need to be ugly just unwanted.  Hop over to Lucy`s and see what`s on offer. If you fancy joining in and linking up at the Fugly Party, you have a chance to win a gorgeous Pezzy charm pack! Thanks Lucy.

My stash is hardly huge but in the past I have bought lines of fabric and I`m not sure why but designers always include a couple of fuglies.  So first up is this FQ from Amy Butler`s Lark. Sorry Amy but I just don`t like it, which goes against the grain as I love Amy Butler`s designs!

Lark FQ by Amy Butler
Second up are these 7 FQs of Pernilla`s Journey by Tina Givens.  I don`t exactly dislike them but there is too much grey for my liking and the designs are large scale in all of the prints.  I`m not a huge grey lover, you see (takes cover behind sofa).

7 FQs of Pernilla`s Journey by Tina Givens
Third up are these 2 scraps of Pernilla`s Journey from which I made a fabric envelope, so with these you would have the whole line.

So to enter the giveaway, leave a comment saying what line of fabric doesn`t get your vote. Please be constructive in your comment as we all have different tastes! You don`t need to be a follower to join in but if you like what you see then I would love you to follow.  I will ship internationally. Do leave an email address if you are a no-reply blogger.  I shall draw a `winner` on February 14.

Charm About You

Getting My Head Straight

...or should that be wonky?

I have struggled today. I had a newsletter I had to write this morning for an American Women`s Association I`m a member of here and it took forever.  But job done.

I then pieced the blocks for the back of my pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap.  I`m waiting for my linen to arrive before I can go any further but I`ll be ready to go once it arrives.

My partner`s mosaic showed pouches fairly simple in design.  There will be a star on the front and I`m going to do a little hand-stitching in perle but this is not a complicated design.

So I then moved on to playing with my solids for the For the Love of Solids swap.  My partner, while not chatty, is a serial swapper and loves improv. designs.  My improvisational designs so far? Um. Zilch.  While I`m playing, I`m not getting very happy with anything I`m producing and meanwhile my stack of solids is slowly evaporating and I`m left with this.

So I`m going wonky I think and I know my partner loves wonky log cabins...the wonkier and crazier the better. I`m still finding it hard to let go...

Thank you for all your anniversary wishes...we had a very low key day.  We had lunch a deux a trois at a place a few kilometers outside Marrakech.  The setting was beautiful and it was a great way to celebrate.

...and to cure me of my snow envy, we could eat lunch while gazing at these...