Wednesday, 24 February 2016

there are no words quilts

In October last year my friend Nat devastatingly lost her youngest son. I did as quilters do and reached out to our amazing community to ask for low volume nine patch blocks. I wanted to make her family a quilt to comfort them and wrap them up in our love. 

There were so many packages arriving I felt I had to explain to my postman and asked him to treat them with care. The generosity of everyone meant that I was able to make three quilts from the blocks, with the other two going to Nat's parents and her husband's parents. Grandparents play such an important role it feels meaningful to be able to acknowledge them and their grief in this way. On Sunday I was able to meet up with Nat and give her the quilts, along with all the cards you asked me to pass on and a card with everyone's name that contributed.

There are no words to say in the face of such sadness but the actions of you all says so much. Thank you to everyone that was able to contribute a block, for all your touching notes of support for Nat and encouragement for me in what was an emotional project.

I was able to create a double sided quilt for Nat and her family. It was quilted at my work, by long arm quilter Alison of Quilting For Bees. She kindly taught me how to use the machine and do some of the work. I chose a cloud pattern, it felt calming and peaceful and worked well with the neutral palette of the quilt.

The second quilt was quilted on my home machine, simple straight line quilting in a large cross hatch. I used a vintage flannel sheet to back this one.

The third quilt was quilted in the same way and the backing is a single duvet, which I cut up one side to avoid piecing. I also think the pattern on this one works nicely.

I am truly grateful to everyone for helping me support my friend and her family. I know Nat felt the overwhelming love you have sent her. Special thanks to Justine and Lisa of Simply Solids, Lisa of In The Boon Docks, Kelly of Jeli Quilts, Sarah of Narcoleptic in the Cupboard and Helen of Midget Gem Quilts for your generous helping hands.

It is hard to see all the blocks but each and every one is beautiful. People put so much thought into the fabrics choices and there are some lovely fussy cuts, fitting text fabric and prints. As I was hand sewing the binding on I kept noticing elements I hadn't seen before and I really felt the care and grace of the designs. 

Thank you for being part of #therearenowordsquilt.

Fresh Poppy Design     

Thursday, 18 February 2016

name cushion and corners

A friend of mine recently commissioned an embroidered name cushion to give as a gift for a baby boy. I wanted to make something modern and not babyish - a cushion that can be used as he grows!

I ended up picking a lovely fabric stack with Architextures, Doe and Gramercy. It looked very beachy and calming to me.

I really enjoy embroidery and lettering is always fun. I ended up only using some of the prints I picked in the patchwork. The cushion inner was really puffy but it will flatten with a bit of use! I used Chris' brilliant tutorial for no more empty corners, it really did make a difference. I will be using it for all my cushions now!

Simple QAYG with a neutral variegated King Tut thread.

I also embroidered his middle name on the back of the cushion.

Thankfully mum was happy and my friend sent me a lovely picture of the baby next to his cushion, so cute!

This was not my usual choice of colours but I think this mix works so nicely. I love working on commissions because it makes me think differently and pick combinations I might not otherwise.

This is a check off my FAL Q1 list :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

as she wanted ~ Cat, Joy and Grandmother

Who would have thought a quilt block would give me the confidence to blog about my anxiety?! It did, here's the spark and a couple of other blocks for the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along...

#22 Cat It's just what the future holds for me. I know I will be Glad-after-all but it was heart wrenching working on this block. I used pink for my littlest girl, the Ruffled print reminds me of eyelashes (and wiping away tears!) and the tape measures are for the sewing I hope to do once she's at school. This block was English Paper Pieced.

#47 Joy I went back to hand piecing for this one. I had no fabric with plums on so I used blueberries. I picked the small pink dots because they are joyous to me so symbolises the way seeing a friend "revives my spirit" and the brown is for the coffee drinking!

#40 Grandmother This one is also hand pieced. I like this really modern looking basket! I used the houses to represent the building done by the "sons and sons-in-law" and the fussy cut Zephyr prints are for the Grandmother's pastimes, "she can sleep late; knit or read as she likes; cook some of the old-fashioned dishes".

I'm really doing these out of order now, just picking the ones I want to do and not stressing about getting them all done. I am loving the process and hope you are enjoying seeing the blocks, I will try to take a picture of them all so far when I get a chance. It's half term here this week so the kids are all at home (causing chaos). Today is our 9th wedding anniversary so my husband and I are off out to the cinema tonight. Deadpool and popcorn sounds perfect to me!

Fresh Poppy Design     

Sunday, 14 February 2016

round ~ le challenge ~ hot water bottle cover

The theme for le challenge this month was round, I thought about making something round but I couldn't think of anything I really fancied making! What I did need was a new hot water bottle cover. After seeing Mary's versions I used Adrianne's tutorial to whip one up.

I needed to make it fit the theme - usually I use the theme as a starting point but sometimes you have to just figure out how to make it work! So I raided my scraps and picked out everything that had a dot or circle, because obviously they are round. I threw that little tape measure scrap in there too because I love it!

I made up two panels (the tutorial uses one but this works) with Amanda Jean's scrap vortex tutorial. Most of my scraps were more like strips but I didn't want to bother cutting them all up smaller and I like how it worked out. I quilted the panels with my favourite cross hatching using Aurifil 12 wt thread.

All these fabrics have memories of other projects and I like seeing them all together! It's slightly mad and there was no coordinating of fabrics, other than the round shapes.

Once I had finished I decided to add a little hand quilting to the top rather than top stitching. I love the shape of the hot water bottle, it's easy to turn down the opening to fill it up. I folded the hot water bottle into thirds vertically to get it in and there was a little jiggling to get it into place. I'm not sure how easy it would be to get it back out though, mine's pretty snug! It's been cold so I'm using it every night and love it!

Wishing you all a warm, love filled Valentine's Day!

Head over to le challenge to see other round makes and link up your 'round' themed makes for a chance to win!

Le Challenge

There will be a new theme announced tomorrow and I think it's a brilliant one so make sure you check it out!

I'm also linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday because scraps!

Scraptastic Tuesday

Friday, 12 February 2016


I finished my third and final appliqué block for my green tea and sweet beans quilt. 

The flowers were English Paper Pieced using Mini Hex Den papers and then hand appliquéd.

I didn't really like the appliqué flowers in the green tea and sweet beans pattern book so I decided to make my own and used three different epp shapes:

It is just over a year since I finished the first one and nearly as long since the second one! I knew it would be a long project!

I love seeing these blocks together and it's making me excited about the quilt as a whole! I'm really happy with the background fabrics too.

I still have a few more blocks to hand piece so it might take a little while longer before I get this one done :)

There are some great deals to be had on fabric this weekend...

You can get a discount on Green Fairy Quilts new arrivals with the code LOVE, including Vintage Picnic and Aria

Fat Quarter Shop have 30% off Valentine's Day fabrics! It's not all hearts ;)

There are lots of temptations at Fluffy Sheep Quilting, the Blueberry Park charms are a great way of getting a selection of Karen's beautiful prints!

And a huge stack of fabulous prints have been added to the Pink Castle Fabrics sale section, no coupon needed just stock up before they sell out!

Hope you all have a LOVE filled weekend!

linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 11 February 2016

I don't do well with change

I've thought a little too much about writing this post, the words to say, how to explain myself properly and why I need to say it. I'm just going to do it and hope it comes out okay. 

Since the new year began I have begun feeling anxious, something I've never really experienced before. I knew it was coming because I do not like change at all. In September my youngest will start at school. I realise this is a nice thing, she will be ready for it and I'm sure she will enjoy it. I will not, well maybe I will eventually, but it's going to be hard. 

I realise this is not a disaster, I do truly know how fortunate I am and am so grateful for all the happiness and love in my life. I can't help how I feel though and part of me is crumbling. All I ever wanted since being little was to get married and have babies. Everything I did before was just the preamble to living the life I wanted. Two degrees, a couple of careers and a previous serious relationship that taught me a lot, led me to find the love of my life and we created the family we wanted. It's not all roses all the time, I had post natal depression after we had our son and three kids is a lot of work. There are times I feel like screaming, times all I do is shout and days that feel like years but it's all worth it when one of the kids says or does something cute, wonderful, caring or just perfectly them. 

I have spent most of the past 8 years being a stay at home mum (I prefer full time mum but I know that can cause offence - sorry) and that time will end later this year. I do now work part time but currently only about one day a week. I'm not having an identity crisis, I know I will be able to find something else to do and hopefully a career I will enjoy. I am just going to miss it. I'm going to miss seeing this face all day...

even with food all over her!

I cried when the other two started school - I'm a total sap - but this time I will walk home alone. That sounds dramatic but that's how it plays in my head. 

There are so many wonderful things about seeing my kids grow, watching them become more independent, seeing them find their own joy in reading, drawing, writing, learning. Doing work like this:

I did think about home schooling (for like a second, I don't have the patience!) because I love being around them. I enjoyed primary school and my kids do too so I'm happy about it. I'm just not great at letting go or change.

There must be other mums that have dealt with this? 

source: image by LoVE

I'm not trying to be 'woe is me', really I know this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of everything, but I am struggling. I hope by even this time next year I will be totally okay with them all being at school because my life will be filled up with more good things. So I'm working on setting up plans for things to do once she's at school and I guess what other 'hat' I will be wearing along with being a mum. That gives me focus and I can get excited about it. But then I think about what's going to happen and I just feel a bit sick. My heart beats so fast and I am dreading her starting school. I cry thinking about it and have feelings of being overwhelmed. It's like waves of panic. If my anxiety gets any worse I think I will go and see a doctor, currently it's not all consuming and I would like to avoid that. I've joked it's like pre-anxiety anxiety but it's not really funny. I don't want to waste the next few months worrying about September when I could be having fun with Lois. 

I have tried not to think about it but it doesn't work and I'm worried if I just 'suck it up' then I'm going to get a lot worse. I'm having bad days and good days, honestly even bad hours and good hours. The back and forth is exhausting!

I decided to write this because I know a lot of you are parents and/or you might be able to relate to what I'm going through. I would so appreciate any ideas or advice you can offer. Any general advice for dealing with anxiety? Please leave a comment or send me an email if you prefer. Thank you xx

I'm being brave and hitting publish...

Monday, 8 February 2016


I have been meaning to blog all week but somehow haven't quite managed it. I have some personal stuff going on in my head and want to share but need to find the words... don't worry it's nothing terrible and hopefully I can express it properly soon. Anxiety is running rife so I will be leaning on all of you if you'll let me.

For now I'm just going to show you the goodies that have joined my stash recently.

I picked some pretty fabrics from Sunny Day Supply - I really couldn't resist these cats and matches, which are so fabulous! The daisy print feels beautifully soft and the middle print is going to prove so useful, sort of retro but also modern.

I love the extras I got with my order, along with a sweet hand written note. Such great customer service and just so thoughtful! 

I needed to stock up on zips again and my favourite place to buy them is Rickety Rose Crafts. Rose has a fabulous range of zips and crafting supplies to make your projects pretty! Look at these great colours:

I needed some cotton webbing and this Illuminated Graph in Metallic Fog, Loominous by Anna Maria Horner fabric (which is impossible to get a good picture of but is so pretty in real life) just jumped into my basket at The Village Haberdashery:

I got my first box of the BOM from Sew & Quilt. I haven't ever subscribed to a block of the month that included fabric but Jessie has such great taste, I love the fabrics in her shop! I have seen other people making the Lucy Boston 'Patchwork of the Crosses' quilts and I am so drawn to this pattern. Also Lucy, so I had to ;)
It is taking all my willpower not to start this straight away but my pile of WIPs is crazy and this will be my reward for getting some of them finished!

More fabric too pretty to pass up from Fabricworm, unfortunately I got stung with a customs charge for these.

 top row, left to right: Pepper Dots in Sorbet, Light and Shade by Lisa Tilse; Confetti in Earth, Light and Shade by Lisa Tilse and Little Honey in Gold, Folk Song by Anna Maria Horner.
middle: Stitchy Dots in Coral, Bright Heart by Amy Butler
bottom: Arrowheads in Dusk, Wildland by Miriam Bos

And because I have no willpower when it comes to fabric I got these from Patchfinders. It's hard to leave empty handed when you work in a quilt shop! The two on the left were bought by customers and I just love them (and the middle one is only £6 a metre!), the sewing themed one arrived while I was at work and called out to be fussy cut!

 left to right: Kasuri by Hoffman; Innocent Charm in White, Coquette by AGF Studio and Sewing Studio 2 by Cynthia Frenette.

Lovely Lisa offered to send me some Thimble Pads because I had never tried them. I didn't actually realise they were leather and somehow thought they were rubber or plastic and would feel horrible, like wearing a plaster. How wrong I was! I've always struggled with thimbles, the last one I bought was leather and I do prefer that to others I've tried but after having it for a while it's started to stretch a bit and since I only really use one spot it has begun to wear away. I don't even always wear it so I also have a nice dent at the top of my middle finger! ouch! 

I've been trying a Thimble Pad for the past couple of days and I'm totally hooked. It's saving my finger! They are so easy to use and totally reusable. I was put off by how many you get in a pack, thinking they would only last a little while but Lisa assures me they last a really long time and I can believe her. I can't recommend these enough, whether you like thimbles or not they are worth a go! People have been telling me how much they love them on instagram and I wish I had tried them sooner.
If you want to try them Thimble Pads are currently on sale at Green Fairy Quilts :)

Finally one of my dearest friends (of nearly 20 years) knitted me this gorgeous hat. I'm completely smitten. The colours, the style, it's so perfectly me and it's keeping me nice and cosy on these blustery days!

Wishing you all a wonderful week! And well done for making it through all that ;)

Molli Sparkles