Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

You really wouldn`t want that face peeking out from your crystal ball reading would you? Well there`s no need for me to put a costume on!

having a bit of fun over at

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Are you loving the Bloggers` Quilt Festival (BQF)? I am and have seen the most incredible quilts and found the most amazing blogs.  So far, there are over 350 quilts! If you haven`t been over there, you must and put in one of your quilts by linking up.  You`ll have lovely visitors come knocking at your blog door and they`ll even leave a comment.

So inspired by some gorgeous scrappy quilts I saw at the BQF, I made this month`s block for the Bloggers` BOM QAL.  This month, it`s designed by Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber. Here it is, made from incredibly good value FQ scrap packs I ordered from M is for Make.

I really like this star and am very happy with the scrappiness and the colours I used. I recently `fessed up on a flikr thread that I hadn`t always been a star girl but was in the process of being converted to them and was picked up on this by the queen of stars herself.  Just look at this star which she not only designed but made herself.  Incredible!

The Bloggers` BOM started last month when I made this block designed by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life.

So as I had decided to go scrappy, I redid last month`s block and it`s a good job I did looking at some of those points!  Here it is - again made with those scrap packs and some Parisville.  Much better points.

I much prefer the scrappy one.  So here are Blocks 1 and 2 nestled together.

Blogger turned it round.  Silly Blogger.
The blocks are quite small coming in at 8 inches finished so I`ll have to make 2 of each or I`ll end up with a very small quilt.  I`m really enjoying this QAL as it is a relaxed pace and I`m making blocks I wouldn`t normally try.

The only other sewing news is that the Red City quilt is basted and waiting to be quilted.  I`m all caught up with the Duo QAL.  Yea!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Bloggers` Quilt Festival Fall 2011

I`m so happy to be participating in the Fall Bloggers` Quilt Festival being hosted over at Amy`s Creative Side!  Hi to anyone visiting for the first time - you are very welcome so take a look round and I`d love you to leave a comment if you have time!


My entry is the Marrakech Rose Quilt, which I only finished a couple of weeks ago.  I hope my regular followers will bear with me but this quilt is special to me and I love it very much.

It`s big and it`s bold and I`ve always known that it wouldn`t be everyone`s choice but it was heavily influenced by the city which is my home, and which gave it its name - Marrakech in Morocco.  Perched on the north western tip of Africa, Morocco is a hot, noisy and colourful place and the city of Marrakech is no exception.  Like my quilt, you`ll either love it or hate it.  There`s no room for indifference here.

I`ve been quilting for a couple of years now and I started this quilt back in the spring as a quilt to cheer up our bedroom. It was the third quilt I started and the fourth quilt I finished and the first for us. I love to use colours clashing together. Because of the light here, bold and colourful quilts really work. My husband says he loves it but it`s not really a man quilt is it?

I hand pieced the sections as when I started it I had no working sewing machine. That all changed a few weeks ago when I got a lovely new Janome with a walking foot.  I straight line quilted it with a square spiral in the central block leaving a puffy space in the centre. For the other concentric squares, I echo quilted and I like the effect it gives to the backing too.

Here are its stats.

Started in March 2011
Finished in October 2011
Hand pieced
Machine quilted
Fabrics for the top are Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Jennifer Paganelli, Anthology and Alexander Henry
Backing fabric is Songbird in Lime by Diane Kappa
Binding is Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
Made for my husband and me

A huge thank you to Amy for hosting this amazing event where we can see so many beautiful quilts laid out in all their glory just like a regular quilt festival.  So go visit and see the amazing creations being exhibited.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Oops I did it Again..

...I played with your heart.
Got lost in the game.

Sorry, I`m not a closet Britney fan but I did it again. I managed to turn a planned more muted block into a block with pink and green fabric in it.  Gah!!

Perhaps it was Jane Brocket leaving a lovely comment on this post about a quilt inspired by her book  The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making but yesterday I felt like I could do anything and felt like doing something different.  So I dug out the pattern for the Camelot quilt by Trish Harper - 16 different circular blocks, which I first saw on Nicolette`s blog. Nicolette is talented beyond words and as modest about her ability and lovely to boot.  If you have never seen Nicolette`s work, pop over and say `hi`.  You won`t regret it. My quilts until now have usually been made with square or rectangular pieces.  Not very challenging piecing wise but remember that yesterday I felt like quilting superwoman. So I dug out my Terrain FQs and got cutting.

You know disaster will strike soon when it`s going really well and you start composing your blog post in your head and then cue the needle scratching the record sound.  The instructions for the pattern are brief.  They assume a prior knowledge of piecing and that`s okay because I kind of have that and they don`t explain how to cast on when you buy a knitting pattern.  I pieced the star using my machine not appreciating that this is intended to be a hand quilting project...and this is why.

I had no idea how to attach these four segments to the star without the point puckering.  I machine pieced it to begin with and you`ll see that the result was unimpressive to say the least.  I looked on youtube - nothing, the flikr group The Camelot Quilters had a little advice but not much and in the end I emailed Nicolette and she was super helpful. Thanks so much Nicolette.

As it turns out, this is a practice block.  I don`t like the large floral in this piece at all - it was a total mistake which is just as well as I have learned that the pattern doesn`t include a seam allowance (?!). A lot of the blocks have this V segment in them so I shall have to get practicing if I`m going to attempt to make this quilt...perhaps next time not using one of my favourite lines of fabric.

Thanks for all the comments about the Red City quilt top.  In the end, I gave my mum the final word and she said emphatically, `Change It!`, so I did. I used Hadley`s great advice of separating the top two rows, which was genius as unbeknown to her, it was my weakest seam pointwise.  I flipped the top two rows round and it looks better I think.


and after (no outdoor shots today as it`s raining cats and dogs)

I have three reject blocks (cut a fraction too small) so I think I`m going to leave it borderless and try and come up with a back so that I can, as Rhonda says,get that baby basted. So that`s it from this corner of the world.  Not much `occurring` (written in a Ruth voice) but I have so much to do, I just have to focus. If you don`t know Ruth, here she is singing a bit of Dolly.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tuesday Penny Chews

It`s been a bit mizzy here weatherwise the last few days but today the sun came back, the sky was blue, there was a light breeze and temps in the mid 20 Cs.  My perfect weather.  If it stayed like this all year, I would be very happy.

Sewingwise, I have a couple of things to show and tell.

First off, I have finished the central part of the Red City quilt top, which I`m making in the Duo QAL.

I was hurrying this afternoon and it was only when I looked at this photo that I noticed the layout was far from perfect.  I`m not happy with that block of red in the 2nd from left vertical row.  I think I may have attached the wrong end of the third row.  Is it so bad that I should undo it?  The lazy girl in me is inclined to leave it. I`m thinking of attaching a white border and then a scrappy border and then perhaps another white border.  With careful placement of the scrappy border, can I detract the eye from that big block of red?

In other news, I have posted my scraps and goodie off to my partner in The Scrappy Swap 2011.  She seems lovely and is enthusiastic but she`s a long way away.  I hope she `s not waiting until Christmas to receive her scrappy fabric basket in Terrain and her scraps.  I`ve also attached a couple of goodies but couldn`t take photos as I bought them on the way to the post office.

These fabric baskets are great to make - quick and easy and useful for collecting those small scraps.  I have to make one for myself I think.  I used this tutorial by the lovely Ayumi.

I`m on a *ie*...I wouldn`t use that four letter word on my blog but I`m certainly trying to be more food aware.  This sewing lark involves quite a lot of sitting and when your clothes options become limited to those that are `comfortable`, you know it`s time to do something.  So I`m not denying myself anything but will eat less of it and more healthily...oh, and back to the gym after 6 months.  Ouch.  Don`t worry - no chance of me becoming a gym bunny and I promise not to bore you with my progress...unless it`s very very good.  I have my sister in law`s engagement party at the end of next month and would like to look a bit more presentable for that.

Wish me luck!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday here. Head over there and see what `s occurring in other people`s sewing spaces.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Flower Power

So with  the weather decidedly cooler yesterday and my mum feeling a lot perkier, we went to one of our favourite places in Marrakech.  Casa Botanica for lunch at its cafe, The Flower Power Cafe, which I previously blogged about here.

Ikea fabric!
Casa Botanica  is a huge covered nursery (of the plant variety) and is an oasis of calm (unlike the non plant variety).  Its cafe uses organic produce where it can source it (a relatively new idea here), eggs from its hens, fruit, veg and herbs from the garden and honey from its bees.  With the children`s garden and play area (bunnies to feed, chickens to watch, a play shop and swings and slide) right next to the cafe, the children have a great time while the parents sit and chill. Here is granny doing just that and looking much brighter.

You can see why.  Everything is upcycled and shabby chic.  Look at this flower arrangement in an old olive can.  Now if I tried this at home, it would look more shabby and decidedly unchic.

side tables of bouganvillae blooms

I love these signs for the carrot cake and freshly squeezed juice...

 ...and this sign for mint tea inspires me to try paper piecing or applique right now.

Some of us were happy to be there because of the gorgeous surroundings and food and some of us were happy...

because after lunch there was the opportunity for some bouncing on the new trampoline.

Oh, early bed times after an afternoon of bouncing (and being bounced relentlessly by some older boys there being heavier than him) - don`t you just love them?

So if you are ever this way, do pay Casa Botanica a visit - it`s very beautiful, lots of fun, child friendly, adult friendly and the food is delicious.  Hope you are having a great Sunday,


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Free Motion Friday (A Day Late) - Just Another Brick in the Wall

So the lovely Cindy set us the task of slate tiles for week 3 of Free Motion Friday.  I missed last week because of forgetfulness, and so I couldn`t miss this one.  So albeit a day late, here`s my effort.  First up is my initial go which turned into a doodlefest - you`ll see that my `slates` were a little wonky as I think I was tilting the fabric sandwich like I tilt my paper when writing.

...and here`s my best effort which although it`s more brick wall than slate floor, I`m not so unhappy with it.

So with my mum winging her way home in the big silver bird as I write, normal service resumes.  We had a lovely last afternoon together today but more of that tomorrow. For now I`m linking up with Cindy - pop over and see what the rest of the class got up to.  I`m off to watch some quality TV X Factor.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Thursday Finish, A List & A Spot of Housekeeping

My poor mum who has been here for the last couple of weeks has been horribly sick since last Friday.  She`s been up and down but really quite poorly and there have been trips to the doc, laboratories for blood tests and mild suspicion of Typhoid panics but it looks like it is just a virus.  Thanks for all the well wishes.  It looks like she is on the mend and will return home to blighty on Saturday as planned.

With my mum sick and unable to get out and about, I did a spot of sewing and have a finish. There`s one quilt I`ve been wanting to tick off my mental checklist for quite a while and it is the Marrakech Rose quilt.  It`s one I`m really pleased with, and here it is.

The fabrics for the top are from centre outward - Kaffe Fasset,  Amy Butler, Jennifer Paganelli, Anthology, Alexander Henry and back to Amy Butler and Kaffe Fasset.

For the backing, I used Songbird in Lime from Bonjour by Diane Kappa and for the binding I used two fat quarters of my new Heirloom by Joel Dewberry.

I straight line quilted it.

and I`m very happy. Have I said that before? The design is based on Jane Brocket`s Russian Shawl quilt from her lovely and eye candy ridden book, The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making. I have always found Jane Brocket hugely inspiring as her quilts are big, bold and fun and she always emphasizes that the quilt doesn`t have to be perfect and that we should enjoy our quilts. I like that philosophy.

It`s lovely that exactly 2 years after taking up quilting, I`ve finished my 4th quilt - hmm, an average of one every six months - not a great average but one I hope to improve on. So I can tick it off the mental list and the list I`ve drawn up for Sarah`s Winter Stiching, which I`m linking up to.  The idea is to write down a list of what you hope to accomplish sewing-wise between now and next spring.  The idea being that what`s written down gets done. I`m not one for lists and it frequently gets me into trouble but here goes.

Quilts, QALs and Community Blocks*
finish the Marrakech Rose quilt
quilt and bind Deborah`s Union Jack quilt
make a quilt for my mum`s 70th birthday 
make a quilt for Baby Landen arriving next month all being well
finish blocks, piece, baste, quilt and bind Red City Quilt for the Duo QAL
commit to theDrunkard`s Path QAL
keep up with the Bloggers BOM
make monthly blocks for Bee Blessed and Quilting for Kids

Swaps &BeeS
make the final cut for The Scrappy Swap 2011
make a goodie for The Scrappy Swap 2011
make a tablerunner for The Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap
make blocks for The 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee

Other Stuff
learn how to free motion quilt
finish Zaki`s rocket PJs using Susan`s `ugly` fabric
learn how to applique
learn how to piece curves
*last edited 6 November 2011

Have I forgotten anything?  Quite possibly.  I`m so excited to be starting on some new projects using some lovely stash. I`m linking up with Sarah at Fairyface Designs. Head over there and see what amazingly talented and creative people are planning for the next few months.

I`m sorry if you have tried to get hold of me by email and found I`m a no-reply blogger.  Thank you to everyone who writes and tells me that I`m one.  You see, I`m not meant to be.  I never edit my profile, my email address is listed and I`ve ticked the box but Blogger likes to randomly make me a NRB.  It`s highly frustrating as it`s completely random.  It`s a bit like a ferocious doctor`s receptionist (apologies to any doctor`s receptionists who are reading this post) - sometimes she`ll let you through, sometimes she won`t.  If anyone else has had this problem, do let me know what you did to remedy the problem.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sometimes You Just Need a Reminder...

...of home.  While Morocco is clearly my home (it should be after 9 years), I can`t help feeling homesick for the sceptered isle from time to time. I nearly booked a ticket to go back for a week when my mum leaves on Saturday but in the end I didn`t. I made a cushion cover instead and saved the air ticket for a trip back over the holidays in December.

Union flag cushion in Amy Butler fabrics
Back in February, when I had only been blogging for a couple of weeks, I made this Union flag block using some lovely Amy Butler Love fabrics. Yes, yes I know.  It`s pink and green.  Quelle surprise!

At the time I wasn`t sure what I was going to do with it...I wasn`t sure whether to frame it and stick it on the wall or make it in to a cushion cover.  Today, a mere eight months later (did I ever mention I was indecisive?) it became the front of a cushion cover.

I straight line quilted it...

...and backed it in this zingy green fabric.  It is the twin of this Disappearing 9 Patch cushion.

A couple of Fridays ago, Julie at The Intrepid Thread was having a very silly 20 per cent off everything sale for 24 hours. To feed my fabric addiction, I ordered 11 fat quarters of Heirloom by Joel Dewberry in the sapphire colourway.   Today, the lovelies arrived.

Linking up with Sew Modern Monday - go on, hop on over and have a look at what creative people there are out there. Tsk. As if you didn`t know.
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday Selfie

So this evening, just as I was getting ready to go out for a bit with the fam, I picked up my camera for the first time in weeks and took a selfie.  It was dark  and so the image is grainy and looks like a photo from years ago but it felt good.

Linking up with tinniegirl after I saw Lucy`s mugshot.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Red City Duo QAL Quilt Top

Thanks very much for all the well wishes for the small Dino who is much improved.  Unfortunately, my mum has now succumbed badly to the lurgy and has flu and is generally unwell. While she has been out of action today and in between making soup and visiting the pharmacy, I have been able to make a start on my Duo QAL quilt top using my Moroccan Mirage fabrics.

The Duo QAL is being hosted by Rhonda and Rachel and the block they have chosen is based on concentric squares.  Clearly, they are not control freaks as they have left size and design to us, which is all very grown up.  I am hoping to make a lap size quilt and should hopefully have all the blocks cut in a couple of days. It`s decided to get a little gloomy here today so the photo was taken under electric lighting and so I`ll have a look again tomorrow to see whether the colours in the image are realistic.

I should really have practiced my free motion quilting so that I could link up with Cindy but completely forgot and as I was a major nudger for Cindy to host the link-up, I`m hoping she hasn`t gotten me down for a flaky goodfornothing wotsit! Tomorrow, I shall put something up and grovel unreservedly.

It`s not all flu and bed baths here.  There is good news.  I have had my hair cut and eyebrows waxed so I`m looking quite groomed (if you ignore my feet, which badly need a pedi) and I`m booked for a short visit to Paris at the beginning of December to visit my dear and real life friend Deborah. HURRAH!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Sewing Malaise in Marrakech

So it`s been a little quiet here at Marrakech Towers the last couple of days - the thermostat on that sun is still turned up way too high and has zapped me of my creative mojo and good humour.  What with that and a sick little dinosaur to care for and visitors to entertain and provide for, not much sewing has been done in these parts.

Yesterday, I tried to come up with my `goodie` for my partner in The Scrappy Swap 2011 and made this little puffy pouch from scraps. I used this tutorial by the super talented Ayumi.

It`s lined with the fabric which you can see in the middle pleat.  I would like to say I whipped this up in a jiffy but what with the heat, evaporating mojo, fevers, lunches to prepare, plate spinning and magic tricks (okay I made the last two up), I struggled with the top part and so it didn`t meet the exacting standards of quality control and will remain on my dressing table looking little, puffy and pouchy.

I had some fun this morning trying to come up with a cohesive design for my partner in The Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap being hosted by super good bloggy pal Susan.  I am not such a newbie at swaps now. I have learned that it is all about what your partner wants and it`s not for me to inflict my taste and wants on them.  So my partner likes traditional colours, trees, wonky stars and very fancy things, which I`m not yet up to doing.  So I came up with this design, minus the very fancy things obvs.

If I was making this for me, the colour palette would be more muted and Scandinavian but as I`m learning to be less me, me, me this is what I`ve come up with.

I`m sorry if I haven`t been to visit you recently or am late in answering your email but I am super behind and will catch up once the dinosaur is less hot and back at pre-school.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bag Lady

Yesterday, I felt like doing a small achievable project, and so I made this tote bag...

...using the bottom two of these fabrics, which my lovely mum bought me as a gift and managed to squeeze into her suitcase...

and this pattern...

The fabric was a furnishing  fabric and together with the interfacing, it was a little tough going when seams crossed but we got there.  I made Tote A, as I liked the way the straps came down to the base of the bag.  It has an outer pocket on the front and an inside pocket. With a cardboard base under the lining, it is freestanding and very roomy.  Now that I have used the pattern once, it should be much quicker next time but it`s nice to do a small project, which is quick and produces something practical.

Today I`m linking up with Stitched in Color`s Celebrate Color event and Fabric Tuesday - hop over there and see what clever creative people have been up to.

Celebrate Color