Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day at the Beach

This is Zaki.  I`ve taken over mummy`s blog.  I am a guest blogger.

This is me on the beach today.  If you look closely, you can see the bruise on my forehead from when I hit it on a wooden chest.  Long story.

It hasn`t stopped me being a cheeky monkey..mummy always says, "Monkey see monkey do!"  Is that good or bad?

Do you like my new dinosaur wellies? Note there is no security tag attached - that`s a good thing.

I would have worn my new wooly dinosaur hat but the "stupid man in the museum shop" left the security tag on and mummy says that it will look like she stole it if I wear it.

Why is he on a beach today, you`re asking yourself.  Well we went to watch some crazy people in fancy dress go for a `wallow` in the sea but because of mummy we were late and missed it. I could have worn my new dinosaur costume but the "complete idiot " (that`s what mummy said to me but she was spelling what she thought of the man to granny) in the museum shop left the security tag on it too.  That` s a problem apparently.

West Bay, Dorset
We had a great day yesterday and I received what everyone wants - model dinosaurs, Hot Wheels` cars and a bunch of other stuff (some without security tags).

Hope you received dinosaurs too and had a great day.

Zaki x

Friday, 23 December 2011

This Post is Bump Free

...unlike the Christmas ones to come.

We had a good day today. All is unnervingly relaxed.  That may have something to do with the fact that I`m not hosting Christmas. My poor mum headed off to the supermarket before Zaki and I had even surfaced at 8 o`clock.  How terrible a daughter am I? On second thoughts, don`t answer that!

Wishing to blow away some cobwebs, we headed off in the horizontal rain and mildly strong winds to the park at nearby Montacute House

We were one of a handful (and that`s exaggerating slightly) of visitors in the park with the main house closed.

Granny and Zaki strode off in the direction of the swings resembling horses and made from recycled something.  Couldn`t quite work at what.

See?  Happy and smiling. No bumps at all...until about 5 o`clock this afternoon when I was in the sitting room and heard a bit splatty thud from the next door dining room.  I called out Zaki`s name and there was that awful silence before he wailed.  He had somehow slipped and hit his forehead on a wooden chest.  A large blue egg sized bump appeared fairly rapidly. Homeopathic remedy Arnica and frozen peas in a tea towel were administered along with lots of cuddles and a rapid emotional recovery was made.  The Christmas photos should be interesting though.

Zaki and I wish you all a very merry and bump free Christmas!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Driving Home for Christmas?

More a case of planes, trains and automobiles!

Zaki and I are `home`!  We have left baba (daddy) in Marrakech to work over Christmas and New Year while we stay at my mum`s in Somerset in South West England until mid January.

We left Saturday and flew into London.  Here`s my first sight of England for 7 months.  You can just see the southern coastline under that amazing cloud which towered upward.

Gatwick airport wasn`t going to make the same mistakes as last year and seemed prepared. These were a fraction of the snowplows keeping guard.

We stayed a couple of nights with my bestie Liz and her family (including my Godson) in West London.

My mum`s Christmas tree with ornament donated by Liz
and Zaki had a blast at the Natural History museum on Sunday, where I was dragged around by him so that my arms were pulled out of their sockets - he was that excited. How many times did I hear, "Look mummy!! Come on!"?

Zaki entranced by an oviraptor`s head

Bestie Liz and Godson James next to Dippy
Despite feeling decidedly under the weather, it was the best afternoon someone had had for a long time!

On Monday morning we braved the London commuters and got tut tutted as we shuffled slowly across the concourse of Waterloo station with our suitcases to catch our early train.

Now we are home and have sat happily in front of a roaring fire, eaten mince pies, done a spot of shopping and relaxed. While missing hubby, it is lovely to be here.

Today`s claim to fame is that I look like I`m one of the last if not the last to receive my tablerunner from Susan`s Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap. Sadly, I had to leave Marrakech without it. While I have absolutely no idea where it`s coming from I have a feeling it`s going to be worth the wait.

The good news is that while I have no luck usually in giveaways (apart from winning my lovely bloggy friend Di`s giveaway back in the summer) and am no friend of Mr Random, I was chosen by him as the Free Motion winner for the Duo QAL hosted by Rhonda and Rachel. Woo hoo. Nothing.  Absolutely nothing to do with the fact I was one of 3 entrants!  Thank you Rhonda and Rachel - I am absolutely thrilled to have won.

For those who really are driving home for Christmas, this one is for you... (my mum has just said, "You`re not putting that awaful song on your blog are you?"

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Hive &The Bees

After Turbo November, December is proceeding at a snail`s pace. I don`t know whether it`s having been away, having been ill or the prospect of going away at the weekend but production is on a go slow.

Today I managed to make 2 blocks for the Modern Quilt 4 x 5 Bee.  A few weeks ago, I chose to make the Blockade block for my fellow hive members as I had fallen in love with all things half square triangle (HST).

I love the Blockade block but you do have to concentrate while making it.  My eye sees the pattern but my brain sees something else. It must be a left brain right brain thing but the seam ripper came out of retirement a couple of times! It may also have something to do with the fact that Zaki is under the weather at the moment and needs snuggles A LOT so I now know I can sew and give snuggles if needs be!

Here`s Debbie`s block - her colours are orange, white and mid grey. *Edited to add -  Thanks Susan for pointing out the glaring error in Debbie`s block!  Looks like the seam ripper will be making a reappearance tomorrow.

and this is Wendy`s block.  Her colours are red, black and white and grey.

Another 3 to get done and posted before the mid January deadline.  I would like to get these ticked off before I leave for England on Saturday although they will come with me and get posted from there after Christmas.

While we are on the subject of bees, here is the winner of cute conversation of the day.

Zaki - Mummy, do bees like honey?

Me - Well it`s not so much that they like it but that they make honey.

Zaki - What?  With toast?

I am sending out big positive thoughts to the universe that my tablerunner from The Modern Christmas Tablerunner swap arrives in the next couple of days.  Please please arrive!

Monday, 12 December 2011

1001 Sleepless Nights

Baby George has arrived and he is totally gorgeous....and big, weighing in at 9 lbs!  He`s my cousin`s baby and I`m hoping to catch up with him and his mum and dad when Zaki and I are back in England over the holidays - just 5 more sleeps before we`re off and I have so much to do!

So today I finished the top of what will be known as the 1001 Sleepless Nights quilt (it`s not that bad is it?) and while I like it, I don`t love it.  I feel like it needs a contrast colour to shake it into life - perhaps an orange binding.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Like baby George, the quilt is going to be a healthy size and will really only be used in the coming few months for a bit of rolling on (I love it when babies roll) as it is far too big to put near a newborn but I like to give and receive something a child can grew in to.

In my ramshackle way of making quilts, I haven`t given much thought to the back yet but this baby needs to be on the plane on Saturday so a decision needs to be made soon.

You are of course a very clever bunch and guessed straight away that the fabric I had received was of course Echo in the warm colourway.  To say I love it is a slight understatement.  I ordered it from Julie during a manic sale over Black Friday when she had a crazy 20% off everything in her shop.  It was a bit of a tussle and very hit and miss as to whether I would get some but in the end, all was well.

I have no idea what I`m going to do with it but it`s mine all mine!

Off to check out all the amazing crazy giveaways - so wanted to join in but didn`t get to make anything in time.  Stupid flu.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Engagement

We went to a party yesterday.  My youngest sister in law but one is all grown up.  When I met her, she was a young teenager, an earnest student always to be found with her head in a text book.  She is smart and beautiful and yesterday she got engaged.

We arrived way too early - not because we were incredibly organized because that.just.does.not.happen.(ask my mum) but because her fiance and his family were late.  Isn`t that meant to happen on a different date?  So there was lots of waiting around...

Why is it that girls wait patiently grasping lacy adornments to their dress...

Zaki`s cousin Salma
while boys my boy investigates snails and no doubt puppy dog`s tails (to be found later in pockets while doing the laundry)...

My sister in law`s fiance forgot his suit and so had to drive back home from the hotel in which they were staying to retrieve it - a round journey of a couple of hours, and couldn`t find the engagement ring (isn`t it the bestman`s job to lose it on a different day?)  But all was well in the end.  There was laughter and lots of happiness for Rokia and her beau.

We dressed in our traditional Moroccan finery and some of us closed our eyes (tsk)

ate pigeon pie known as b`stilla  - chicken often substitutes for the pigeon, which is mixed with almonds, egg and icing sugar and is covered in a filo-like pastry. I have a feeling that the one we ate was authentic.  Poor `pidg`. Zaki was hugely disappointed as he thought this was dessert - in his dreams a concoction of chocolate and cream.

followed by....meat complete with odd little cheese and olives on sticks! 

Over the meat, that`s my brother in law and his very pretty wife
The wedding will probably be in the spring when there will be music and dancing, food and 7 dress changes for the bride.  Yes, 7!

Congratulations Rokia and Youssef!

I haven`t anything to show you sewingwise. I`ve slightly fallen off the hamster wheel what with going away for a couple of days and then being sick with this horrible flu virus which came and went and came back with migraine headache vengeance.  I feel fine now and will post something beautiful very soon.  There`s been a fabric delivery.  Would you like a clue?

Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me? 

Any guesses?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Big Fat Ticket - Admit One

Move over Willy Wonker, I`ve got me my own golden ticket! When are you getting yours??  Don`t let me be a billy no-mates. Available for purchase here.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Flying the Flag in Paris

Thank you for all your well wishes - I'm feeling a lot more my normal self (who shouted grumpy?) today.  Eyeballs aren't so sore and my back and chest don't ache when I breathe in.  Always a good thing.

So I'm back from a flying visit to Paris where it snowed!

Okay - so it didn't actually snow at all but I can dream can't I? Thanks to the magic of picnik effects I can add snow to the Eiffel Tower!  The weather was in fact very precipitated down most of the weekend...look, even the postcard stands near Sacre Coeur are holding umbrellas!

No special rain effects needed here, but it's December after all and I like the rain.  I was in Paris visiting my very good friend Deborah and hand delivering the Union Jack quilt I made for her daughetr Elicia...only I forgot to take any more photos and only have sneeky peek photos.  Duh.  I can show you the top before it was basted and quilted - taken back in May (yes, that long ago) at my mum's.

and here is a peek at it quilted...

 This quilt has been way too long in the making but Deborah's daughter loved it.  The central flag part was made using Liberty lawn cottons, which are so so beautifully soft and the border is pink silk.  I straight line quilted it after taking hours to unpick the stipple quilting, which I just didn't like.  I didn't over quilt it as I wanted it to remain beautifully soft and fluid.

I also sold this quilt to Deborah's friend Margot for her daughter - yea!

On Saturday morning we headed to St.Piere area near Sacre Coeur  where all the fabric shops are based and spent a couple of hours rummaging.  These are not designer fabric shops but if you like rummaging (I don't particularly) there are fabrics to be found.  Here's a selfie of me.  At this point, my feet ached and I was starting to go down with the lurgy!

We bought lots of fabric (I mean lots) at 10 euros for 3 metres and will be turning sow's ears into silk purses....fingers crossed.

I hardly took any photos as it was dark and gloomy...

and I was feeling awful and the weather was like this as I left...

but I caught up with a great friend, belly laughed until I ached and got re-acquainted with a city I hadn't visited for probably 15 years.  All the anxiety of leaving the little guy (and the big one) behind was worth it and as Arnie would say, "I'll be back!"

It's Achoura today - the 10th day of the New Year when bonfires are lit in the evening, children play drums and people eat dried fruit and nuts - a special day of celebration for children. 

I'll leave you with a photo of Zaki pulling a silly camera face, complete with scratches on his nose, on his way to school this morning - in traditional dress (over his normal clothes) with his 'tam tam' (drum).

Monday, 5 December 2011

I'm back!

I'm back from a lovely weekend in Paris but sick with some achey lurgy, which came on Saturday afternoon with wonderful timing. This will be a quick post as I need to go snuggle under a blanket but I wanted to link up my Drunkard's Path QAL quilt top, which I finished before I went away and the link up closes in a couple of hours. 

I used a charm pack of Kate Spain's Central Park and quickly learned that it didn't go far.

So after some Kona white solid I had ordered ages ago finally showed up last week, I added a white border and an outer scrappy border to make it a decent sized baby quilt.  The scrappy blocks are not Central Park but I tried to match up the colours in Central Park and patting myself on my back, I think I did okay. The scrappy blocks are Parisville, Loulouthi and Kumari Garden.

I have loved making the Drunkard's Path block - it looks difficult but it really isn't and is so versatile...

...if you don't believe here, click here to see all the amazing designs made from this simple block.  Thanks to Kate and Kristie for a great QAL and for introducing me to the drunkard's path! Thank you also to my PIFers, Dolores, Kate and Jenelle. More on Paris tomorrow.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Pay It forward

A few weeks ago I signed up for Toni's Pay It Forward.

Toni was looking for 3 people to agree to have something made for them in the coming year.  A little surprise something that would pop through their letterbox at any given time.  A little something made by Toni.  I'd been reading her blog for a while and always loved her makes, so I signed up and kind of forgot about it.  Well yesterday while the little guy was having a rare and welcome siesta...

there was a ring at the door.  A parcel from Toni!

A gorgeous 241 bag made out of Joel Dewberry's Heirloom (which I love in the citrine palette and I adore paisley) and some gorgeous natural linen, a couple of FQs and some chocs!  How lucky am I?  Thank you so so much Toni - the bag is so beautifully made, totally my colors and so at home here in sunny Marrakech!

So now it's over to me.  I am shamefully red faced to be putting this up when I've received my PIF but better late than never I guess.

I'm looking for 3 people to make something lovely for during the next 365 days.  I shall email the first 3 people to comment saying that they would like to play asking them for their details.  The deal is that they in turn agree to make something for 3 other people in the coming year.  Sorry but you have to have a blog to play.

If you simply want to leave a comment saying how lovely a) my son is b) the bag is or c)both are, then that's fine too.  I know this has been doing the rounds in the blogosphere but I hope 3 people will step up as it's a fun thing to do and you have a year!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Fresh Sewing Day - December

1. Blockade Block , 2. Ready for Binding (The front), 3. Fabric Envelope Front, 4. MCTR Front, 5. MCTS Ornament, 6. Scrappy HST Star, 7. 1001 Peeps Plus Quilt Top, 8. Block Detail, 9. Back of Fabric Envelope, 10. MCTR Back, 11. Duo QAL Quilt Back, 12. Union Jack Quilt Sneeky Peek, 13. An Appliqued Fatima`s Hand, 14. Central Park Quilt Top, 15. Mosaic Block, 16. All Ready to be Packed Up and Sent Off, 17. Lucky Pieces Block, 18. Detail, 19. Proposed Layout for DP QAL, 20. Duo QAL Quilt Front

I've been a bit absent from the blogging scene the last few days as I've got technical problems with the laptop and it's too darn chilly at the moment to sit at the big computer unless swamped in a blanket.  I've also been busy finishing up the Union Jack quilt for Elicia, my friend Deborah's daughter.  There it is in the mosaic at No.12. I'll show you some full frontal photos of the quilt once I've hand delivered it this weekend!  In Paris!  Brrrrrr!

This is my third month sewing almost daily and I'm totally loving it.  I feel like I'm improving month by month and becoming quicker and more productive.

Here are this month's stats:

Most fun make -  Christmas Tablerunner (No.4) for Susan's  Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap
Most Satisfying Finish - finally the Union Jack quilt (No.12), which has taken way too long and been over thought
Favourite New Block - the Drunkard's Path! (No.11) I love this block - it's so versatile and fun to make
Favourite Fabric Purchased - Lark in Glamor by Amy Butler (can²t wait to make some Swoon blocks using it)
Prettiest Block - the Blockade block (No.1)
Fun Quick Makes - the fabric envelope (No.3) and the tree ornament (No.5)
New Skills - piecing HSTs and piecing curved DP blocks and stipple quilting my first quilt - the Red City Quilt (No.12)(so called because I used Moroccan Mirage in the Marrakech colourway by Kristian A. Howell)
Quilts finished - Red City Quilt and Union Jack quilt
Quilts started- Drunkard's Path and Plus (No.7) baby quilts

I received a wonderful surprise in the post today but that will keep until tomorrow.

Linking up with Lynne for Fresh Sewing Day.  Why don't you nip over there and see what other sewists have been up to last month.  I'll be away for a couple of days but will tell you all about it next week!  Off to pack warm clothes...if I can find any...