Wednesday, 7 January 2015

a good start ~ art, biscuit tins and cleaning routine

Is anyone else experiencing that thrill of the new year and a fresh start? I'm feeling oddly motivated and so ready to make changes. This is a bit of a 'mish mash of stuff' post, I will start with the sewing so you can skip the rest if you're so inclined!

I have been working on my green tea and sweet beans quilt whenever I feel like some 'me time' so over the past few weeks I've finished these blocks:

A churn dash block, Poppie block (I deviated from the pattern and decided to English paper piece a clamshell and leaves and then appliqué it on) and two Drunkards Path blocks.
I need to finish my first appliqué block and I'm also working on the Tulip blocks. I love hand sewing so much, really relaxing and rewarding to see the blocks coming together.

Before the return to the monotonous school run we managed a family outing with my mum to the Reading Museum to see an exhibition of my great-great-grandfather's artwork and prints (that's my kids great-great-great-grandfather).

We didn't realise you weren't allowed to take photos until we were told after snapping these ones, but since we're family I'm sharing. You can see a picture of Allen W. Seaby on the official poster (bottom left) and there's our son (top right). I've grown up with Seaby prints in our house, I have a toy bear that he carved in our living room (well out of kiddies reach and so not a toy!) and my mum has a collection of his books. I even remember my grandpa reading me his stories when I was a little girl. It's really only as I get older that I realise how wonderful it is to have this connection, these memories and how very creative and artistic my family is. I felt so proud to take my children there, my son pointed out all the pictures he's seen at Granny's house and even our youngest was thrilled looking at all the beautiful bird prints. I'm also glad to have Seaby as one of my middle names (well done mum!).

The Reading Museum was a lot of fun, there's some great exhibits and 'hands on' stuff for the kids, which kept them happy. I was really taken with the Huntley and Palmers Collection, they were once the worlds largest biscuit manufacturer and, although I'm not a huge cookie monster, I was fascinated by all the amazing biscuit tins:

I totally understand why people become collectors! There were so many tins and it was cool to see how they changed through the years.

Apart from the fact I can't afford to hoard biscuit tins, there's another reason not too and that's my de-cluttering and cleaning mania. It started with me and my husband decorating the hall (just a splash of paint; Statue of Liberty, Valspar) and various DIY bits around the house. Once you start you just can't stop and I have to fix and tidy all the things I've been ignoring for too long. I want to keep going because it feels so good. I know I'll never have a show home and I wouldn't want one (and I have three kids so realistically it's impossible!) but I still want to feel happy with our stuff and get into a better routine.

I was happy that Instagram led me to Clean Mama - a great site full of advice and cool things like printables (I am totally using them) and recipes for home cleaning.
She is currently doing a #clutterfree30 challenge to kick start a declutter and provide a simple cleaning routine - check out this blog post for more info and to get a free printable routine for January. Clean Mama makes a lot of sense to me, the ideas are completely realistic and I would like this routine to become habit.

And if anyone knows a good way to hold on to this fresh new year feeling please let me know!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


  1. I'm so impressed by your hand piecing skills, the blocks are beautiful and I love your choice of vintage-y prints. It was interesting to read a bit about your great-great-grandfathers work, the small amount you were able to capture is stunning - how lucky you are to have such a creative legacy!

  2. How very cool to have a family history like that! I am a book lover and would be thrilled to have a writer/illustrator in the family!

  3. Oh, I love the declutter idea! I tend to go through the closets and house once or twice a year to make a donation to Goodwill. That always feels really good.

  4. I have to make two blocks this month asked on that quilt. I was thinking a churn dash and I do love that poppy block. Hmmm,mm
    Lovely work Lucy. Happy New Year

  5. Gorgeous blocks. I seriously need to declutter, except I keep buying more tins :)

  6. how lovely to have this family connection and an arty one at that!
    To keep that "new" feeling, I would say, tell your husband and kids every Monday "Happy new week"!

  7. Great post, I love all the sewing, cleaning and organising tips and especially seeing the books by your ancestor. All just so fascinating. x

  8. Your hans stitching is delightful Lucy! And what a treat to see your great, great grandfathers lovely drawings! You have every right to be proud of him! Decluttering is very good karma- a great way to start the new year! Here's to more happy and peaceful days into 2015!

  9. How amazing to have that artistic talent in the family and it more than shows in your abilities.

  10. I have a small tin collection too, I accidentally gave one away last year when I sorted my sewing room. What an idiot I am. How many blocks done on Sweet Beans so far?

  11. What a lovely post - now we know where your artistic talent comes from.
    The same feeling comes over me in January, it's so weird, I have already gutted one large cupboard bt heading over to Clean Mama right now!

  12. I can relate to many things in your post. I'm definitely having these feelings as well :)

  13. I feel the same way about the new year! A cleaning lady is in my future.

    Your quilt blocks look SO GOOD!!! I wish I had your hand sewing skills.

  14. first, i like your deviation on your block! it looks fantastic. handsewing is just the best, isn't it? wish i had more time for it.

    second, i'm so glad you got those photos at the museum! your gpa seaby did some lovely work. i'm glad it's being preserved and that you got to experience it.

    lastly, i hope you can keep that cleaning optimism up! i've really enjoyed fly lady (flylady dot net) over the years. i'm not good at sticking to the routines but they always help however much i do them! i agree about not having or even wanting a show house, especially with all the little around. maybe a show room would be nice but mainly i'd just like it all to be clean! but not if i have to give up my sewing time. =)

  15. Those blocks are gorgeous! And how lovely to be able to go see the exhibition and share it with your little ones.

    Good luck with the decluttering! Sadly for me I seem to be a hoarder!

  16. I usually spend the time between Christmas and New Year cleaning my flat thoroughly, but this year I did that in November, so it was a bit strange not doing it at the normal time! I tend to save the real 'New Year' stuff until my first day back at work, so that will be Monday for me :o)

    Loving the exhibition though, how cool to have impressive ancestors!

  17. I love your most recent GTSB blocks and am glad you're enjoying all that hand stitching! The exhibition looks wonderful - how marvellous! Good luck with the new cleaning routine - I'm still trying to work out how to keep on top of my housework without exhausting myself and then falling's a never-ending quest!

  18. I love your poppy block, I might make mine the same way now. Loved your quotes in the last post too, especially the create more one as that's something I intend to do this year.