Wednesday, 30 May 2012

So Much to Do, So Little Time...

In a week when I should be getting to know everyone attending the FQ Retreat and visiting my bloggy friends who aren`t, I`m feeling completely out of touch.

I have hardly visited anyone in the past week.  I`ve been battling a really bad chesty cough, spending time with my mum and Zaki, (who has become very clingy which makes me nervous for goodbyes on Friday), and trying to get everything done before I leave.

I have however used my time away from the computer constructively.

I have finished the pink and orange Siblings Together quilt and will share photos tomorrow as it is still a bit damp.

I also made my items for the FQ Sampler Swap - I have been having sleepless nights about these as I really had no idea what I was going to make.  Clearly inspired by the Zakka pencil cases I had seen in blogland, I made some sunglass cases using linen and Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric.

I basically winged it but they weren`t difficult and with a layer of batting they cushion the glasses nicely. All we need now is the sun back!

The name tag I made for my partner has been received by her.  I received special dispensation from trash to post from the UK, knowing how unpredictable the mail in Morocco is. I can now reveal that my partner was the only and only Katy of I`m a Ginger Monkey!  When I heard from trash that Katy was my partner, I gulped and replied, `no pressure then!`.

Uncharacteristically, I posted Katy`s name tag without taking a photo of it so I shall try and snap Katy wearing it at the weekend.

It was no problem coming up with ideas for Katy and in the end I embroidered one of her tatoos on the front next to her name.  It took some slightly scary stalking of her flickr photos to achieve this!

Many thanks to Hadley who sent me a lanyard fitting to attach to Katy`s name tag...only it never arrived.  So sorry Hadley but I really appreciate you doing that.

So tomorrow I have a few last minute things to buy and a name tag to make for a lovely person who didn`t enter the swap and doesn`t want to remain nameless! Fortunately, she has a short name. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sew Mama Sew Winner!

Oops, I`m a little late in announcing the winner of the Sew Mama Sew giveaway winner!

I asked you to tell me what your favourite summer dish was. Wow - if you all sent me your recipes, we would have ourselves one amazing cook book!

Hadley said her favourite dish would be Harrison Ford in trunks, so this one`s just for you!

Anyway, I digress.  The winner of the giveaway is No.134 Heather who sensibly suggested Cous Cous with roasted veggies and shrimp. Yum (search on Epicurious) .

Congratulations Heather - I have just emailed you!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fat Quarterly London 2012

Fat Quarterly

Back in the depths of winter and suffering from a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), I booked my ticket to the FQ London Retreat - a mad weekend of sewing with some of my favourite friends.  Just one thing was different.  I haven`t yet met any of them!

This is me. I`m 44 years old. I talk quite as lot and am more than capable of putting my big fat foot in it. For the last 10 years, I have lived in the crazy, mad and hot city of Marrakech, Morocco with my husband Youssef and our 4 year old son Zaki. I`m a SAHM but in previous lives I have been a teacher and a lawyer.

I learnt to sew while at high school and as you can see, I hardly excelled!

Despite `Warty Wardell`s` less than encouraging words, I went on to do a lot of dressmaking as a teenager and while not finished perfectly, I would whip a skirt up in an evening and wear it to college the next day.

I rediscovered sewing a couple of years ago in the form of quilting and have been seriously quilting for just under a year.  At first, quilting frightened the bejeepers out of me as I had no ideas what I was doing, and as a self-taught quilter I still don`t half the time but I can make a passable quilt so long as the quilt police aren`t in town !

I shall be wearing this amazing name tag made for me by Elisabeth (lemon shark on flickr) - thank you Elizabeth! And...

...I have 2 amazing roomies - my very first bloggie friend lovely Susan and lovely Laura Jane, both of whom are hilarious and talented in equal measures. We`re staying at the Grange Strathmore.

What am I up to?

Portholes and Embroidery on Saturday and the Designer Challenge and Frame Purses on Sunday! I`m also in the Iron (Wo)man Challenge - Group 3 (I think).
Free Photo: Rosie The Riveter Flexing Her Arm Muscles, We Can Do It!
I`m completely disorganised and can be a bit of a ditz.  I still have to source my fabric for the classes and make my sample swap items but always work better with a bit of time pressure!

So I can`t wait to meet the Fat Quarterly team, the line-up of amazing teachers,
my wonderful bloggie friends from the UK and all over the world and make some new friends too.  Please come up and say `hi` - I can`t wait to meet you!

Friday, 25 May 2012

It`s Not a Vicious Rumour...

.. we`re back and the sun is shining!  Mr Cough. Mrs Cough and Little Cough got the plane back on Wednesday (apologies to Easyjet passengers in the vicinity of Rows 5 on the Marrakech to Gatwick flight).  The weather is absolutely stunning and clearly my lovely UK bloggy friends have been telling porkies about inclement weather ;-)

Look - we can even wear our new skull and crossbone sun glasses and pout!

Today we headed over to near Dorcheester in Dorset as I had to pick up some batting and basting pins for my pink and orange Siblings Together quilt from a quilt shop there.

We then went on to nearby Abbotsbury and to the petting farm there.  It was idyllic.

With children at school, it was strictly pre-schoolers only. With Zaki insisting on wearing his dinosaur wellies, he looked every bit the young farmer, indulging in some country pursuits.

...oh, pull the udder one...

Move over Thelwell...

Look how beautiful England is when the sun shines!

So we`re very happy to be back and can`t wait for next weekend when I`ll be in London for the FQ Retreat!

I`ll leave you with a sneaky peek of the block I made last weekend for Susan as part of the Stitch Tease Bee. Susan wanted a `mish mash of colourful happy prints surrounding white wonky stars`.

I`m ahead of the game with Stitch Tease but have so much to do over the next week including finishing up the pink and orange quilt for Siblings Together and making my items for the Sample Swap at the FQ Retreat, which will somehow include linen and Liberty fabrics. I`m hopelessly hopelessly behind with blog reading and hope you`ll forgive me being MiA...tomorrow I`ll show you a few of the goodies which were waiting for me at my mum`s!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

If you are popping over from Sew Mama Sew, you are very welcome.  If you are are a regular follower, you are of course always welcome!

Today is that extravaganza day of giveaways when sewing bloggers all over the globe give away some fabulous things organized by Sew Mama Sew.

So today I`m offering you the chance to win a copy of the new and fabulous book, Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop by Katy Jones, Brioni Greenberg,Tacha Bruecher and John Q.Adams.  I shall be doing a workshop in a couple of weeks with the lovely and very funny Katy at the Fat Quarterly London Retreat, so if you win but you`re not going, then perhaps I can get Katy to sign your copy! I can`t promise though as she will be very busy.

The giveaway is open to international readers. You have 2 chances to win.
  1. Leave a comment saying which is your favourite summer dish.
  2. If you are a follower or become a follower, just say so for a second chance!
The giveaway is open until Friday May 25 when I shall draw a winner using Mr.Random Number Generator. If you are a no-reply blogger then I shall draw again so be sure to include an email if you are in any doubt, leave an email address in your comment.  Good luck!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Calling All Sewists in the UK


Funnily enough, even though I live on another continent I know a lot of people...

  • who are resident in the UK
  • who are serious about sewing
  • whose homes are full of their own creations 
The makers of hugely successful The Great British Bake Off are looking for a new kind of talent - non professional sewing enthusiasts to take part in a new TV series,

I would just love to see someone I `know` (and after the FQ Retreat will know) take part!  What are you waiting for?  Download the application form here - just remember me when you`re famous with your own TV show and book deal!

Bloggers` Quilt Festival

Yes, it`s that time of year when Amy generously opens the doors to her virtual quilt festival. If you are a first time visitor here or an old time follower - welcome!

Last October, I entered this quilt

This time, I`m entering the 1001 Sleepless Nights baby quilt I made for baby George.

George was born last December. He`s my cousin Dan`s second child.  I first met Dan`s partner Jacqui when they visited Marrakech, our home, in October 2010.  Jacqui was taking part in a trek across the Sahara for Help for Heroes.  While it was my cousin`s first visit here, she is a long time visitor to Marrakech and absolutely loves it.

When I knew they were expecting George, I decided to make him a quilt and wanted it to reflect our connection with his parents and their visit here. Together with a little blue Terrain fabric, 1001 Peeps was the perfect line with its depiction of oriental life and the palette of blues and greens are boyish, bright and attractive. I had wanted to make a plus quilt for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity.

To give a pop of colour, I bound it in a zingy orange...

  and did a little hand stitching in orange perle.

I backed it in a simple green candy stripe...and lightly quilted it so that it was nice and smooshy for George.

...and it was well received.  Perfect for an afternoon lie down.

Now I`m off to the festival to have a look at the amazing quilts, which have been submitted. If you haven`t already, go see the amazing talent out there. Thanks Amy for hosting this fabulous bi-annual event!

Amy's Creative Side

Friday, 18 May 2012

I`m Not Going to Go...

...on about..

the heat but after peeking at 42C yesterday it`s noticeably cooler today

my mosquito bites

waking up on Tuesday morning with a red heat rash all over my face

the layer of sandy dust everywhere in our house after a sandstorm yesterday

the death of our lap top from heat exhaustion

the lack of internet connection

a dead phone after a cable was cut

a To Do list a mile high
only 4 days `til we leave for England and little idea as to where I put our winter clothes
my Herringbone block for do.Good Stitches which was half an inch narrower on one side
my gorgeous son`s behaviour which is no doubt due to my foulest of moods
but I`ll show you a sneak peek of my friend Di`s strip for her quilt, which is all about words and blocks depicting those words.  These images are completely meaningless as they give you no clue - you`ll just have to wait a year for the tah dah moment!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Out of Hiding

The lagoon at Oualidia
We are out of hiding (from the intense heat) and back in Marrakech. We went to Oualidia on the Atlantic coast, which I have blogged about before here and here. It`s one of my favourite places in Morocco. It has a beautiful lagoon, where the waters are warm and sheltered. It was very hot but at least we got a couple of cool breezy evenings.

We are back in Marrakech, which continues to swelter along with the rest of the country because of the hot and dry Saharan wind called the Chergui.

We swam and ate fresh fish and paella and now we are back.

While things are due to cool down at the weekend, our laptop is melting in the heat poor thing and so I don`t know how often I`ll be able to blog over the next few days. I have a new tablet but haven`t yet worked out how to get photos from my laptop on to it.  So I hope you`ll bear with me while I am slow to catch up on blog reading and emails.  This is the Moroccan equivalent of `snow on the lines`.  My UK readers will know what I mean!

Back soon.  I can`t wait to see what you`ve all been up to!

Thursday, 10 May 2012


*Warning* For readers in rainy and/or cold climes, this post mentions both sunshine and beaches.

I was so afraid my name tag would arrive after I had left for England but I need not have feared.  It arrived today.  So this Cinderella will be kicking her heels up at the FQ Retreat in just over 3 weeks time! A huge thank you to Elisabeth (lemon s
hark on flickr) who made my name tag. I`m sure she must have been hoping for a Kat or a Mel but instead got an 8 letter name of someone living in N.Africa.  I love the embroidery and the fussy cut bus, flag and taxi!  I love Britain and I really love London.

She also popped in a very cute pouch and a couple of model airplanes for Zaki. What she doesn`t know is that every time we`re waiting in a bank queue, Zaki hands me the leaflets they have lying around so that I can make an paper plane for him.  Thank you Elisabeth - I shall wear my name tag with pride!

There was more happy mail in the shape of bee blocks being made by the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches for the Siblings Together quilt. These beauties came all the way from Kylie (Three Honeybees on flickr) in Australia...

...and these lovelies from Karen at Listen to the Birds Sing in N.Ireland...

 ...who also sent me this adorable pouch made from the HST scraps of the corner units of the x and + blocks. What a fab reminder I shall have of the quilt we`re making for Siblings Together! Thank you Kylie and Karen!

Here`s the obligatory group photo.  I`m still to receive from 5 members of the Care Circle, so we should have enough for a decent sized quilt!

It`s still silly hot here and so hubby suggested this morning that we head to the coast for the weekend, so with all the talk of London buses and holidays (well teensy mini ones), I shall leave you with this.

Take it away Cliff!

It`s Friday tomorrow.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Never Mind Spring...

...summer has been declared. Yes, the socks have been put away and the shorts are out.  Well at least for some of us. It`been 38 C (102 F) here today and even though it`s ten years this month that we moved out here, the return of the intense heat is always a shock.

It`s way too hot to sew.  I have to plan some summer hand sewing and would like to have another go at Trish Harper`s Camelot pattern.  With all those Y seams it should keep me busy. I think it could look very pretty in some of Jenean Morrison`s Silent Cinema.

Tomorrow is registration for Rachel`s Handstitched class - registration opens at 9 EST.  Now if we are on GMT +1 here in Morocco, will 9 EST be 1.00 PM here?

After the success of her Curves class, which I didn`t actually do but heard it was great, this looks like huge fun.  Rachel has spaced the classes out more and is even selling a kit to go with the class so that you have everything you need. The course includes hand quilting, embroidery, applique, reverse applique and English Paper Piecing.

But there`s lots to do before that. I am working on Di`s block for the Stitch Tease bee and trying something new for the first time.  Yes Di, you are my guinea pig! But I can`t show you anything yet, and then it will only be sneaky peeks.

So I really have nothing to show you.  Just popped in to say `hi`.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Winter Stitching - It`s a Wrap!

6 months ago back in October 2011, I committed to writing a list of sewing that I wanted to do over the winter by linking up with Sarah`s Winter Stitching.

Back in January, I gave you my mid-term report here.

Back in January I had failed in making a quilt for my mum.  I`m ashamed to say that I haven`t yet made it.  I have plenty of ideas but I can`t commit.  It has to be done by her next birthday in July.  So far, it`s a big fat fail.

Another unfinished project back in January was my Drunkard`s Path quilt.  While I really love it, it remains a top.  No further progress on that one either.

I also committed to continuing with the Blogger`s BOM.  I have done 2 blocks.  Another fail.

Let`s see what I did do.  I must have made something.  I must have finished something.

  • Make a mini quilt for the For the Love of Solids swap - DONE.
Mini back

  •  make a zippered pouch for Mouthy Stitches.

  • I have joined a new bee. I was writing about Stitch Tease - an international mystery bee. I have made my starter blocks - the theme of my quilt is all things curved.

Stitch Tease Block 1

Stitch Tease Block 2
  • Another secret project - details to be revealed soon. This was Jennifer`s Mini Quilt Challenge.  I participated in the blog hop and made this mini using all solids and improv.piecing, inspired by the Gee`s Bend quilters.

  • I pledged to finish my Lark quilt, which sadly remains a top - FAIL.

  • I really want to swoon in the Swoonalong and I really want to do the Made in Cherry QAL but I need to get on as they are both well under way! - FAIL!
  • I did run my first series - the My Modern Muse series in March and interviewed some wonderful and inspiring bloggers about what inspires them!
  • I participated in Sunni`s Farmer`s Wife in my Life series and made this notebook cover based on Cindy`s tutorial. 

learn how to applique.  Another big fat fail, but I did do some embroidery.

 What else did I do that wasn`t on the list?

  • I made a quilt top for my hubby using Curious Nature by Parson Grey as part of Sarah`s Stained QAL.

I made a quilt top for Siblings Together, which I shall finish when I`m in England.

Last month, I hosted my first month as quilter in the Care Circle for do.Good Stitches and asked my lovely ladies to make super sized x and plus blocks. These blocks will be made in to a quilt for Siblings Together as well. Here are the blocks so far.

As I`m against the clock to link up my Winter Stitching, here are a few other things that I managed to get done.

1. Curious Nature Pouch (Front), 2. April Block We Bee Modern too, 3. Group Shot of Blocks for Hive 4, 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee, 4. Parisville Pouch, 5. Scrappy Grannies, 6. Kaffe Fasset Selvedge Pouch, 7. March Block for Kat, 8. FTLOS2 Mini and front of Matching Pouch, 9. We Bee Modern Too - February Block, 10. do.Good Stitches (Care Circle) February Blocks, 11. January Blocks for Care Circle, do.Good Stitches, 12. Lark Selvage Pouch, 13. First Attempt at a Zippered Pouch, 14. Blocks Received So Far in the 4th Quarter, 15. For the Love of Solids Mini Front, 16. March Block for Heather

With 7 minutes to go, I`m linking up with Sarah`s Winter Stitching.