Friday, 29 June 2012

Pretty Little Things

I've got two little things to show you today.

These are my makes from the last Thursday night of Judith's term of classes.  Last week we stitched up super useful pouches like this -

Look what's hiding inside - lots of pockets for all my stitching equipment.

I love useful pouches like this - practical and pretty.

This week we moved on to stitch up little journal covers.

I enjoyed the opportunity this project allowed for playing with trims and notions.  Wee snippets of crochet lace trim and heart buttons feed the girly side of my personality that often get overlooked in this house of muddy boots and masculinity!

Fun was had and now I have these lovelies to use and enjoy!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

hipBees are here!

Most definitely NOT a blast from the past but hipBees nonetheless!

Yep, today's the day when hipBees go public and announce ourselves to the world (ish).  I have been so excited to tell you about the new Bee that Di has up had her sleeve for a few weeks now that my tongue is all swollen from having to bite it so hard!  You can read her inspiration/motivation for setting up the group here.

There's such a lovely swarm of Bees all gathered into the hive under Di's reign as Queen Bee, all buzzing and ready to go with Reene's first block in August.  (Be kind to us Reene!)

I'm sure you'll be hearing about this a lot from me in the future!  I'm so excited to finally be part of a Bee like this - woohooooooooooooo!!!!  Thank you Di!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Birdie Stitches finished

Birdie Stitches is finally finished.  I waited all through last week to be able to take a decent photo but lack of sunshine (even lack of daylight) means this was the best I could do with the pics.

As a wee reminder, and because it doesn't show up too well on the main pic , here's a mosaic of each month's block.

I enjoyed the process of stitching these blocks by hand over the period of the year that the BOM was running.  Somehow in that space of time the blocks took on a little history (the when and the where and the how of being stitched) that has been built into and will now always be part of the finished quilt.  Now all that's left is to find a (rather large) wall space to hang it!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bee Blessed on Display

As many of you who read Judith's blog will know, Saturday was her big exhibition day.  To say that it was a success is an understatement.  She has been planning and organising for months, gathering a creative and practical team around her to help showcase the work made in her taught classes over the past two years.

Generous as she always is, Judith also offered space at her exhibition for two local charities to raise their profile and to raise funds for the stitching work that they do.  Bee Blessed was one of those groups, and on behalf of the Bee membership I'd like to publicly thank Judith for allowing us to be part of the fun and creative frisson of her exhibition day.

Here's our wee Bee Blessed table -

When you are a group that spends its time giving away the quilts you make there's not a lot to draw from when trying to be creative with your stall but, I think Barbara and I did a reasonable job.  We had a few quilts that have not yet been passed on to the recipients and a few cushions too.  We also showcased the most recent block and some of the lovely cards we receive as thank yous, as well as some of the cards our blog members send to encourage our efforts.  The amazing Pippi quilt was our backdrop for the day (and was then promptly gifted to a 17 year old young lady who is coming to terms with a newly diagnosed illness).

Here I am (wo)manning the stand (hubby dropped by at lunchtime and took a wee pic):

I am not as lopsided as this pic makes me look!!

As folks popped in to view the stunning displays of quilts (I won't show pics but I'm sure JustJude will have plenty of fabulous eye candy this week), sign up for one of Judith's classes, purchase a little make or two, nab a cake for Sunday afternoon tea or have a rest and a chat over complimentary tea/coffee and yummy bites, I had the amazing privilege to tell folks all about Bee Blessed and the work that we do.

I met folks who were curious about what a Bee is, wondering why we do what we do and indeed how we do what we do.  They were amazed to learn that our blogging friends generously contribute to all our efforts and that we have incorporated fabrics and blocks from elsewhere in the UK, Morocco, Canada, Finland and other corners of the world into our donated quilts.  I was greatly humbled by meeting the wife of a gentleman who received one of our quilts and much later in the morning by meeting the gentleman himself.  And, I struggled to hold back tears as I watched the donation of a quilt to a young girl in the presence of her mum whose face betrayed immense gratitude.

Folks, those of you who were not with me at the table yesterday, those of you busy at the exhibition event in another capacity or those of you who are part of our Bee through this wonderful on-line community should really know that your participation is helping to touch people's lives - I mean it really, really is!

So thank you again to Judith for allowing Bee Blessed to be a part of her big day, and a thank you to all of you who help Bee Blessed achieve our purposes.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunshine on a Wet Weekend

It has been extremely wet around these parts this weekend but in spite of the rain a wee bit of sunshine has dropped in courtesy of Susan who nominated me during last week for a Sunshine Award.   Thank you, Susan.  Apparently it's just a wee pass it on happiness/fun thingy where you answer a few questions and link to some blogs you'd like to spread some sunshine to.

So here's a wee bit more about me:

Favourite colour - probably red (deep real red)
Animal - honestly, not a fan of anything with more legs than me or wings
Number - never, ever thought to have a favourite number
Drink - everyday: tea, special occasions: pink, alcoholic and bubbly
Passion - my family and patchwork (maybe a patchwork family?)
Giving or getting - definitely giving 'cos the good feeling and effect lasts a whole lot longer, but in a way that's a kind of getting too isn't it?  (BTW I'm no saint or martyr and I love to receive too!)
Favourite Day - the day my baby boy arrived in this world and I whispered to him "I've been waiting for you"
Favourite Flower - lilies or peonies

So now that you know a few more strange things about me, here are the four blogs I am to nominating for a little Sunshine Award in return:

Di @ Willowbeck Designs
Fiona @ Sew Fi
Tina @ Secret Ingredient: Love
Catherine @ Sew Wonderful Life

I wish you ladies a little sunshine in your lives and some fun in sharing a few random facts about yourselves with your readers.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Summer Bag ready and waiting

Back last September Karen gave me a lovely bag kit as a wee gift.

I didn't quite get around to making it up last Autumn and then I was waiting for better weather before making it up as a summer bag.

Anyway, as you can see I have now given up on waiting for the better weather and I went ahead at the weekend and stitched it up anyway.

I love the rich fabrics and now, courtesy of Karen's generosity, I have a bag all ready for when summer arrives!?!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

BQS 3 Inspiration Mosaic

1. DQS 10 Received, 2. Red, 3. Pinwheel Quilt Along Week #7 Block #2, 4. Noise, 5. Kaleidoscopic Kites Front, 6. Lone Starburst, 7. Starry Path, 8. Amber's Design Studio, 9. DQS10 rcvd, 10. April do. Good Stitches Blocks, 11. Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts At The Park Avenue Armory, 12. Robert Kaufman Solids Charm Pack Challenge, 13. BQS pillow swap - All finished, 14. Double Fat Jack, 15. FMF/KJR Quilt, 16. cosmic blue basket weave block

Inspiration mosaics for BQS 3 are popping up thick and fast in the flickr group - some truly amazing inspiration pieces out there.

Here are my choices - hope they'll give my partner something to work on.  But above all else, I'd really just like my partner to have fun in the swap, make something that they enjoy and maybe stretch their wings a little (for their sake, not mine).

Bring on the partner allocations!

Friday, 15 June 2012

BQS is back!

If you don't already know, the Brit Quilt Swap is back for Round 3 - mini-quilts between 12" square and 24"square.  Hop on over to the flickr group if you're interested in joining in the mini-quilt swap fun.  Sign ups are open until 24th June.

I'm in (but having minor anxiety attacks over the complexity of the inspiration mosaics popping up over there).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Not all plain sailing

Finished up my wonky star cushion from class this week -

The design for the cushion is to have a positive side and a negative side which works really well for the fabrics I chose for this one.  I love the splash of turquoise among the charcoal and white, and the postmark stamp fabrics is really fun without being too childishly novelty.

I used a lovely turquoise thread to outline quilt the star - works a treat against the charcoal.

The real challenge for me in this class (aside from trying to achieve wonk with a brain that likes straight!) was inserting an invisible zip.

Now I know I've had a go at zips before - in cushions and in pouches, but if I'm honest it's all a bit hit and miss with me and the zip.  My efforts for the Mouthy Stitches Swap earlier this year were reasonably successful, but something seems to happen when I try to get the needle close to the zip teeth and keep running straight along the bulk of the fabric and wadding layers.

The insertion of this zip was not fun, entirely user error, of course, but not fun!  If you could see closer up you would see two or three lines of unpicked stitches on that charcoal Kona.  Other than that it looks okay from this distance now, but it really could have and should have been better.   The pattern instructions were great and the class demonstration made it all look so straightforward but, me and my zip foot have issues - we may need some therapy to work them through!  It almost feels like I should use the quilting foot to keep it all feeding nice and evenly through the machine, rather than the zip foot itself.  Hmmm, need to figure this one out ...

In the meantime, I do have a lovely finished cushion and I don't expect the invisible zip police to be inspecting often!

PS - If you're at all interested in the pattern for this cushion it is available on the Just Jude Etsy shop (and be assured the zip issues are all mine not the fault of the pattern).

Saturday, 9 June 2012

My Saturday

Look who I met today!!!!

That's Di on the right and me on the left.

It's Di!

To say that it was lovely to meet Di today would not be telling you the truth.  If I'm being truly honest with you folks, I have to say that it was a PRIVILEGE to meet Di.  'Nice' and 'lovely' don't cut it as the adjectives in this scenario.  As Di was in Belfast for the weekend, she and Judith arranged for the three of us to meet for coffee this afternoon and it was the fastest 3 hour cup of coffee ever!  We met, we hugged, we chatted, shared and laughed and it was great!

And here's the three of us in the men's suit dept of House of Fraser (?!)

L-R: Me, Di and Judith

where Judith (politely) accosted a handsome young sales assistant and asked him to take this piccy, after the kind older gentleman we asked to take our photo at the coffee table actually managed to turn off our two cameras and one mobile phone instead of taking the pics!  (Bless him.) We thought we needed to find someone who might actually be a little more familiar with the technology for the second attempt!  

Don't we just look so pleased with ourselves?  (My hubby thinks it looks like we're kidnapping Di!  Hmm, maybe next time ...)

And you will not believe the loveliness that Di had as a wee gift for me.  Isn't this little coin pouch just so bright and happy? 

But wait 'til you see the back ...

I'm so thrilled!  It's my blog header on fabric.  Did you hear that?   MY BLOG HEADER ON FABRIC!!!  With a little help from Trudi, Di made this wee pouch so personal.  Isn't it great?  It's going to be shown off now to everybody I can possibly pin down.  I love it, love it, LOVE IT!  Thank you Di!  And thanks to Trudi for helping you out, too.

What a smashing Saturday afternoon!!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Bee Blessed - Responses

I realised recently that while we have been showing you Bee Blessed blocks and quilts on this blog and Judith's and also via the flickr group, it has been harder to share with you the response that our quilts evoke.

Sometimes our quilts are gifted through an organisation and we have no direct contact with the recipient.  While we don't get to hand over these quilts in person to their recipient, our contacts within the organisation have been delighted to receive and pass them on on our behalf.

Occasionally, we have the privilege of handing a quilt over to the intended recipient, and what a privilege it truly is.  Recently, one of the quilts was delivered to a lady who is struggling with chemo treatment.  She was thrilled with the quilt and so touched that we had thought of her and considered her during this difficult and frankly, pretty miserable time in her life.

Another of the quilts was gifted to a teenage young man recently diagnosed with ME.  His quilt was delivered via his mum and she was so affected by our gift and thoughtfulness that she cried.  The young man himself also sent us a lovely Thank You card to recognise our kindness.

There are other similar stories too and in most cases they involve tears (of recipients and their family members).  Yep, Bee Blessed makes people cry - doesn't sound quite right, does it?  But it feels right, folks.  When we see the reaction, and the thankfulness and the hearts that are touched and the tears that are brought to their eyes we know we are doing something right - we are sending little touches of blessing when it's needed, just as we had hoped to.

Thank you all for being a part of that - whether you are a Bee Blessed member through our blogging community, or with us in reality at our meetings, we could not do this without you.  Please know that what you do makes a big difference!

Monday, 4 June 2012

My new sign

The observant among you will have noticed that a few weeks ago I changed the design and colours on my blog.  It was high time for a freshen up and I'm enjoying the cool blue theme going on as a wee change.

My son has been playing with the Keep Calm logo app (don't know what it's really called) and we've been trying to think up a new slogan for the sidebar of the blog.  So between us here's what we've decided on -

Oh how true!  Thanks for your help, my beautiful boy!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Weekend Stitching Snippets

Been sneaking some moments to stitch over the weekend.

A block for Bee Blessed (instructions here) -

Trying to quilt and bind a Bee Blessed quilt which was beautifully pieced by Heather (almost finished but not quite) -

And, a UFO becomes a WIP - I finally picked up those Birdie Stitches blocks and gave them the sashing and borders they've been waiting for.

Terrible pic from my mobile phone 'cos the camera disappeared on a father/son camping trip.

To those of you who made it to the FQR (and survived) - I hope you had a great weekend and look forward to the many posts and stories that this week's blogs will no doubt bring.  It's been awfully quiet around here without you!  My reader's been practically empty all weekend!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ju - Bee - lee

While our numbers were a little depleted at Bee Blessed today, our spirits were not.

I should have had lots of pics of us at work but instead when I got home I realised I'd only managed to take pics of our lovely Jubilee Tea which Ros and Barbara prepared for us.  Thank you, ladies, it was delicious!

I promise we did do some work today - lots of bunting was cut, a fabulous Amy Butler quilt is in progress, another quilt is being quilted and a couple of the new blocks are on the go as well.  Not bad for 7 of us!

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