Wednesday 30 April 2008


all it takes is a little sun, and out pop the daisies

with the help of some fat quarters I won in a raffle there are even more daisies everywhere

not all of our neighbours grow daisies in their lawns, but we like them....

Sunday 27 April 2008

The tent makers of Cairo

I went to a talk this week, by Barbara Chainey on "The tent makers of Cairo". Barbara told a tale of the tent makers of Cairo, how she had discovered the street of the tent makers which is off the main tourist routes, but is one of Egypts real treasures, continuing a tradition of applique that has been going for 4000 years. For an hour and a half she held up pieces of work that were once designed to make a suradeq - a huge tented pavillion for ceremonial use, but now are sold for the tourist trade. Each time she held something up she joked "you won't like it" and lovingly smelt and stroked each piece, and every so often she smiled and said "they're mine" or "I've counted them!", it was fascinating to see someone show off with such pride the work of others, that she has lovingly collected over the last 16 years. She told of how each piece is sewn by hand, how there are no templates, only a paper pattern that is pricked with a needle and then charcoal or chalk are used to create a guide on the backing fabric, and then the colour fabrics are appliqued on, free hand, each piece is needle turned, and the stitches are TINY! As the children (only the boys) gain experience the patterns get more complex, until the master stitches create patterns as complex as anything you can possibly imagine.

(photo from

you can see some more pictures here and here

I never really wanted to go to Egypt, I might have changed my mind....

Friday 25 April 2008

rainbow quilt tutorial

This tutorial will hopefully show you how to make a fibonacci inspired rainbow quilt, with a finished size of 28x28 inches.

Fabric requirements

background (white)

2 strips - 3 1/2 x 28 inches

6 strips - 2 1/2 x 28 inches

42 squares - 2 x 2 inches

for each colour (there are 7) cut

a - 7 x 2 inches

b - 4 1/2 x 2

c - 3 x 2

d - 2 x 2

e - 1 1/2 x 2

f - 1 x 2

g - 1 x 2

you will also need a 30 x 30 peice of wadding, a 30 x 30 piece of backing fabric, and fabric for the binding.

take each coloured strip, and to it sew one of the 42 white squares, using a 1/4 inch seam.

then lay out the pattern, this is the fun bit.

each line across has one of every size(letter) in that colour.

each line down has one of every size (letter), one of each colour.

think of a sudoko grid, there's only one of each in a line, and they run in sequence.

abcdefg - red

bcdefga - orange

cdefgab - yellow

defgabc - green

efgabcd - blue

fgabcde - indigo

gabcdef - violet

sew together all of the peices in each vertical strip

press the seams away from the white squares.

in between each strip insert one of the 2 1/2 x 28 white strips, and on the outer edges sew the wider 3 1/2 x 28 strips

presss seams away from the white strips, and then layer a square of wadding and a backing fabric (make both slightly larger 30x30), baste and quilt however you like. It would look very effective in vertical lines, or I'm going to stipple all the white areas, and leave the colours unquilted. Add a binding, I'm going to make a white binding. I'll show the finished quilt asap, in the meantime if you have any questions, ask me in the comments, or email me and I'll to help. I hope this makes sense to everyone, it's the first time I've written a tutorial.... If you make it I'd love to know!

Thursday 24 April 2008

and the winner is

sorry for the delay, computer problems..

and the winner is Fioleta, who wrote

Congratulations on your 100th post. I like your felt flower brooches and pear coasters.

Email me your address and I'll post you your prize.

Monday 21 April 2008


As this is my 100th post I thought I'd have little giveaway to celebrate.

For a chance to win this daisy teacosy - (couldn't really design a driftwood one...) I have a favour to ask. please visit my etsy shop, and then come back and leave a comment tellling me which thing you like best, and why.

I'll collect comments until 10pm UK time on Wednesday. Good luck!

Wednesday 16 April 2008

chapter 2

brave captain underpants dared to enter the mess of Miss K's room in search of pink fairy, I'm sure she's in here somewhere he thought.

here she is, hiding in the bed in a case monster comes out from that pile of toys/laundry/......
don't worry pink fairy I'll save you

yippeee she's saved.

tra la laa.

Miss K and E had lots of fun making captain underpants and pink fairy at sewing club, but maybe not as much fun as I've had playing with them. It's amazing what you can find to do when you have a "to do" list that would reach the moon, and you just don't want to do any of it.....

Tuesday 15 April 2008

to the rescue

oh no pink fairy is missing, somewhere in the mess of Miss K's bedroom.
whatever will we do?
This might be a crisis for Captain Underpants,
look he can even fly sideways and upside down!

will he rescue poor lost pink fairy, find out tomorrow in "Chapter 2 pink fairy is in there somewhere."

Monday 14 April 2008

more WIP's and hints of things to come

no more progress on the last works in progress, so instead here are some new ones, a rainbow quilt following on the theme of the blue baby quilt, this one is going to get a wide white border added to it, as I think it's too small, and then I'm taking them both on Wednesday to show J's colleague who wants 2 baby quilts.

I've had such fun with this one, that I spent 2 hours on Saturday night "designing" or as J described it "colouring in" so there will be another one of these soon, and hopefully a tutorial -- eek , if I can work how to write one.
and because it's nearly my 100th post I've started something for a little giveaway, so here is a sneak peak at a prize in the making.
hope everyone had a lovely weekend.
back tomorrow with photos of captain underpants who is feeling neglected as he hasn't been photographed yet....

Friday 11 April 2008


after an awful lot of procrastinating I'm finally getting somewhere with the wall hanging order I got months ago. It was fun going fabric shopping, but as I couldn't convince myself that I'll actually get paid I tried very hard not to go mad and spend LOADS of money, that I might never recover. And the one fabric I wanted I couldn't find anywhere (I used some in E's pirate quilt but can't find anymore..) But I'm quite happy with it so far, and I've sent it for the lady to have a look at before I start the quilting stage. I couldn't quite face sitting face to face and asking if she liked it, my confidence in my work has definitely not reached that level! So she can have a look at it in her own home, in the space it's going to hang, and then hopefully she'll want me to continue, other wise E might be getting a nice new wall hanging in his room...........

and this is a baby quilt, the size to tuck into a car seat or a buggy, it's the size I was asked to make but I think it's a bit small, and could do with another white border all the way round, I shall check before I continue.

something I learnt this week - when designing quilts (or anything) don't design in cm if your quilting mat, and ruler are in inches!!!

my head was spinning as I tried to convert cm plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance into inches. and then getting figures like 1.6inches isn't helpful when you need to cut in 1/8 measurements.

that will teach me to pay attention to what I'm doing, although I have to say I'm pleased with the design, each strip length ways and each colour consists of a piece that is 13, 8, 5, 3 or 2, a Fibonacci series, on a sudoku grid......... this is what happens when you can't sleep and sit up in bed with a notebook instead.. next time remind me to dream in inches, - or buy a cm ruler.....

Wednesday 9 April 2008


we have a tradition that every year we take a photo of the children at Easter with the daffodils.
This year because Easter was so early, and because of the snow we were a bit delayed.
but finally we managed it.

and because there have been so many lovely photos of the snow on everyones blogs, I thought it would be nice to show some sunshine and blue sky, in the hope to encourage some more.

Sunday 6 April 2008

afternoon tea

when entertaining visitors from other countries it is imperative to allow them to experience true Englishness. so we've had howling winds, driving rain, hail, sleet, threats of snow - typical English spring, and to make up for the weather some nice afternoon tea.

a nice selection of sandwiches, (you can choose 4 types, white or granary bread, with crusts or without), scones with clotted cream and jam, and fruit cake with a nice slab of wensleydale cheese. and endless tea.

and for me a gluten free version, pre-ordered, there was a nervous moment while the waitress who didn't know about it went to check with the kitchen, but it was ok, there was gluten free bread, obviously home made, - you can tell from the door stop sandwiches, (gf bread is not known for it's lightness) which was yummy, and a bought in scone and fruit cake, both gf so I was very happy bunny.

and did I mention the tea...

Wednesday 2 April 2008

making gifts

we've got a visitor from the States coming on Thursday. can you feel me bouncing up and down with excitement!
I've been making gifts for her to take back to the rest of the family that couldn't come.
Dino t-shirts, decorated with some scraps left over from a dino wallhanging made for E's bedroom.

and for a new baby due in June something to send to the baby shower. I wanted to use this fabric that my friend whose coming bought me last year, as the baby will be a new grandson for her.
but it was really hard, as the fabric was already striped, and like a quilt, so what to do with it?
In the end I went with the stripes, cut it up along them, inserted new stripes and sewed it all back together.

It's backed with fleece, rather than wadding and a fabric back, so I guess it's more of a playmat than a quilt, and I learnt a valuable lesson, instead of trying to save time and sew both the sides of the binding with machine I should just do it properly, which is what I did, AFTER I'd done 3/4 of it the other way, decided it looked truly terrible, and then spent over an hour unpicking it.... great time saving that was...

Miss K was at sewing club this morning, so there should be some of her sewing to show tomorrow. E got there, saw they were making dolls and announced he wanted to go home....
so we went home, and when we went back to get Miss K later
"can I make one of those dolls that K is making, I want to make Captain Underpants"
so tonight we have to get E to the same stage as Miss K so we can ALL got tomorrow.....

who says girls are fickle.