Friday, 29 March 2013

Random Ramblings

Nearly another month gone by and the clocks about to 'spring forward' despite the arctic weather.
I've been on annual leave for 3 weeks this month which has been wonderful and means I've had more time to think!
First up my March makes:

I made these 2 pouches to hold my EPP bits and pieces. I made one using a pattern I had bought from Elizabeth Hartman because I thought her pouches always look fantastic in her blog and on flickr. The other I made using a modified free pattern from Flossie Teacakes.  The Elizabeth Hartman pattern has lots of ideas for handles etc but the zip insertion technique is far better in Florence's  tutorial because you insert the zip first and then topsew the zip which includes both the outer and lining fabrics.  This gives a much better finished result as the lining fabric is held down and doesn't annoyingly ever get caught in the zip, which it does with the other technique. I'm pleased with them both and I just love the fabric.
I also managed 21 EPP blocks:
I've really enjoyed fussy cutting these diamonds and seeing very different end results.

 Only another 230 to go!
I've pieced together my scrappy trips around the world for Helena:
It looks really pretty in real life . Once I'd sewn it together though, I realised that the scrappy lone star that I'd made for the back, just wasn't big enough. This was also annoying so I made another larger one:
I've now got to sort out having one half star on one side and the other half star on the other side. There will still be a large area of negative space in the middle but it's not as bad as it was.
I've also made 3 bee blocks for Mary and I've pieced together a second top for Siblings together. I'm not going to post a picture until I've also finished the original. I haven't had all the blocks back yet.
The lovely Charlotte in her post of 5th March talked about how since coming home from Quiltcon she is going to make less quilts because she already has enough quilts in her house. This got me thinking... Apart from one quilt which I need to post to Siblings together ( just got to attach the label that Laura Jane kindly sent) I don't have one finished quilt in the whole house. Now why is this? I have 14 quilts in various stages of development. Half of these  I'm making for specific people as gifts, so they will disappear when they are finished.
 Another (above) is a Kaffe Fassett quilt that is one of the first quilts I attempted. I made it before I had ever quilted anything and I was so terrified of spoiling it by cocking up the quilting, that I decided to hand quilt it. That means it has been shoved in a bag never to see the light of day. I occasionally get it out and do a little more but as it is 6 ft square it is going to take forever to finish. I have not pushed forward with it either because although I absolutely love it for itself, it does not fit my decor at all.
 And this is another reason why I don't have one finished quilt in my house. My inclination when making quilts is for colour and variety, preferably with scraps. My house isn't like that- the aesthetic would be more toward the Denyse Schmidt very plain, calm quilts in solids with only one or two colours. I am planning to make one quilt like this  eventually (when I've finished the other 14!) The children have both taken the quilts I made for them away, so they're not in the house either.
I have got one quilt I intended to make specifically for my house, to hide a hideous leather sofa that Mr Hare inherited and will not part with. But, again I made it early in my quilting journey and (on advice from one of my local quilting shops !) bought the wrong wadding- a very puffy high loft polyester and then I hand basted it which took hours. As I used the only fabrics I could find at the time ( I had not yet discovered the joys of Oakshot cottons and all the other lovelies out there) and my tastes have changed. I can't face hand-quilting it and so it just languishes in another bag. 
One of the UFO's I started in a class and I don't like it , so even if I finish it it will be given away.Another I tried to make quick and dirty and it didn't work, so it will have to be recycled into scrap. A couple of the others are experiments, so I'm not sure if I will ever finish them but they will also be given away if I do.
I have received a lovely present this month
Linda sent me this gorgeous bird that she had paper pieced. It's just beautiful.
To finish my ramblings for today some gratuitous house fire pictures:
So nearly 3 months on and I still have only a leaking tarpaulin over part of the roof and we've had the coldest Winter in decades!
I also discovered a new to me blogger The Bitchy Stitcher . Check out the ironing board cover March 12th 2013 if you want to laugh out loud!




Saturday, 2 March 2013

March Already

It seems like February has flown by, I suppose because it's such a short month. It is also my birthday in February which always used to fall in half term, but mercifully I am now free of those considerations. It's also slightly depressing to now be in the final year of my fifth decade! Cripes! how did that happen. Mr Hare (my toyboy because he is 6 months younger than me) loves to keep reminding me of his relative youth compared to mine. He did take me out for a special birthday dinner.

Still, I love the fact that the garden is just beginning to stir back to life. I love this particular hellebore

and the snowdrops

The previous owner of the garden planted lots of camelias, obviously not knowing anything about gardening. Our soil has a neutral pH and they really don't like it, plus they are all planted in full sun ( not a problem at present!) so they do suffer from sunburn.  I have to give them lots of ericaeous feed and I severely pruned this one as it looked so sick last year. This is the result- a big improvement.
I am now on holiday for the next 3 weeks (yay!) as I have to use up my annual allocation by the end of March. Unfortunately, because of the fire damage we won't be able to go away except for the odd shopping trip to London. I have lots of plans in my head as to what I'm going to do but I'll be lucky if I achieve a quarter of them. First and foremost, I'm determined to do some catching up with friends.
 One of the plans is to clear out the greenhouse and start sewing some seeds, but it is still so cold that I'm not sure I'll get any of it done. I usually plant heaps of garlic in September to harvest the following June, but last September the garden was like a bog so I haven't done it. The garlic bulbs are sitting there nagging away at me.I always buy far more seeds than I actually ever plant ( a case of my intentions always being greater than reality).
I am also hoping to do a lot of sewing. I have so many WIP's as I am much better at starting projects than finishing them! I think it's a sign of being easily distracted by the latest, more interesting project, rather than sticking to one thing before starting the next.
I did manage to do a fair bit of sewing in February ( mainly because it was too cold to do anything else!)
I made these for a new Bee I have joined- Care Circle at do.Good Stitches. I applied ages ago and had forgotten all about it, until I got an email from Rachel and  I'm delighted to be involved.
These were blocks for Sue Bone in the Simply Solids Bee (they are bright!)
These blocks were for Linda in the Star Block Quilting Bee (lovely Kate Spain fabric)
This Carpenter's star for Teresa in the Honey Bee FQR Kinky Bee ( lovely Art Gallery fabric and a new process for sewing HST's )
For my own sewing, I finished all the scrappy trip around the world blocks for Helena's quilt and made a start on the back.

And I experimented with these blocks for a quilt:
Probably somewhat foolishly, I also started sewing these EPP blocks after seeing ( and totally falling in love with ) this quilt by Rita of Red Pepper quilts MIL
Here are the first 3 blocks
The problem is , I know I'm totally insane to start this because they take forever to sew and I need to make at least 250 of them! I know I'll get distracted and they'll end up in a bag somewhere to be discovered at a later date ( this is because I have so many other projects like this haunting me but not haunting me enough to finish them).
Maybe I'll make 2013 the year of finishes( I wish!).
There seems at last to be some progress on the roof. The insurance company still haven't accepted liability but we are having a meeting next week to go through the tenders for the building work and hopefully appoint someone to get started.It has been a very cathartic experience but one that has focused us on what is important and what is not.