Category: mel

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on 25 Days Down

Where did those 25 days go? I have be messing about with fabric pens, dimensional paint, scraps of material and embroidery floss and created a quarter of the squares. I’ve been sharing a photo everyday over here on Instagram along with a few words. I am smiling all over my face as I write because I absolutely adore this project.

The first 16.

Since I’m plod, plodding along I wanted to get a few of my thoughts and feelings about the project so far down ‘on paper’ because I know I’ll hit a wall at some point so let’s celebrate these first 25 days with a little honesty.

Here’s quick list of things that have come into my head so far –

  1. I don’t love every square and have made some mistakes
  2. I’m not doing it over if I don’t like it (yet anyway!)
  3. I’m a little panicky about them all looking the same
  4. I’m getting too conscious about the designs/colours matching other days nearby in the layout
  5. I dislike dimensional paint!
  6. I love applique
  7. Play is good

Here’s a bit more of a ramble about point 4.

Seeing my ‘grid’ of squares grow over on Instagram makes me want them all to be cohesive. I will hold my hand up and admit that I’ve made a pile of squares all in order of how I want to use them for the next 15 days. Is that cheating?

First of all Mel, it’s your project so you can do what you like and second of all if it is then so what! Maybe I’ll loosen up on this as time goes on or maybe I won’t and I’ll keep planning the fabric choices based on the other growing rows of squares. It’s just one of those quirks in my personality that I’m very matchy matchy.

Play is good. Below is a great example of how I played with card and supplies and made a template so I could use it as a mask.

I went for the ‘negative’ look so used the cut out hearts as the mask.

I loved making that template. But unfortunately the stamp I picked to create the design over the masked hearts didn’t allow those ‘negative’ hearts show up enough. (Plus I seem to have some old blue paint on the stamp….)

So I grabbed a Mister Huey’s spray mist and covered the square in pink ink!

This is one of the ones I don’t like. The combination of slightly patterned background fabric with the swirls and then the pink is too much. But it’s staying in the mix of squares if only to make me remember that play is good but test things out first is also a necessary part of play.

The dimensional paint issue. So on day 2 and 10 I used Tulip dimensional fabric paint. I loved day 2 but when I came to use it on day 10 my test runs with the white matt paint just looked awful. I’d committed to using paint on that day so I just did it. You can see the result in the last photo below. It’s the grey square with three white hearts and that zig zag border. It turned out ok and I like the addition of a border, something I’d yet to try. My thought about the paint overall should have been a good thing as it was pushing me to different things. But really I just didn’t want to work with the paint again.

Then I looked at the three tubes of paint and knew there was no way I wasn’t going to use them on this project again so I googled dimensional paint and came up with the technique I used here.

I drew the hearts onto a sheet of card and smushed the fabric square onto the paint. It’s so messy and imperfect but I love it. I really like the ‘negative cream heart on the inside of the paint and think I’ll try this again but paint the hearts closer so I get hardly any space between smushed hearts on the finished square. We will see.

I found that I was panicking around day 15 when all I seem to have made were squares with a big heart in the middle or squares with random little hearts. I know that really that wasn’t the case because when you look at them all laid out they do vary but that’s how I felt. I tried to just ignore those feelings and make the next square.

Just pushing on is really all you can do in a project like this because if you don’t you end up not making anything and that day is suddenly gone.

Day 24 is perhaps my most fav square of all. You know how I love a spotty fabric…… And my new love of the applique technique.

Below are all 25 laid out as they will be when I put them together as a quilt. Day 1 is top left.

I think you can tell by the length of my ramblings that I’m loving this so much and that is the most important part. Bring on the next 75!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

Currently – Spring 2018

Yesterday we had the hottest day of the year. When the weather turns I always feel the same. I may have felt lethargic and festered all winter but then one day when the breeze is warm and the light is right I am ready. This is one of the reasons I love living in a country with definite seasons. I’m sure I’ve said it many times before but I love the seasons.

So with my new found energy what am I up to in this year of 2018?

  • Sowing lots of flower and vegetable seeds.
  • Waiting for a trip to the World Snooker Championships next week!
  • Anticipating a visit to Harrogate flower show again.
  • Watching Baseball.
  • Hoping to cross at least four things of my list this year. What will they be??
  • Practicing yoga and One Little Word®.
  • Trying to eat more healthily.
  • Walking more. I really slipped this winter with my 10k steps to getting back on that feels good.
  • Making a list of vinyl to look out for at charity shops.
  • Planning a family trip to see the Terracotta Warriors.

That should keep me busy this summer!

Adventures in Quilt Making – The Purple One

Hooray! I’ve finished it and I think this is the fastest quilt I’ve made so far. Under a year, now that progress.

Little photo bomber……..

I mentioned it over here in January.

I bought the fabric last year at Jo-ann in Florida with the intention of making a quilt for our living room and even though I say so myself I think it goes perfectly.

I also feel like I employed some of my previously learnt skills on this one too. I measured correctly this time and I trimmed all the edges as I sewed. Being precise does not come naturally to me but I have learnt that it’s vital when piecing your quilt tops. I also used a technique I saw on one of the Creative Bug tutorials about how to secure your quilting stitches. By turning the size of the stitches down to very very very small you can start the line off, trim your threads and the quilted stitches stay secure. A great tip which saved so much time for me because previously I sewed all my loose threads into the quilt.

I’m still no expert and it isn’t perfect but I’m fine with that. Do a little, learn a little.

I wanted to get this finished before spring and before the 100 day project as I know I won’t be doing much crafty stuff other than making hearts on fabric till July.

Glad it’s finished and ready for the autumn, or right now as it’s been snowing again today!

The 100 Day Project 2018 – 100 Hearts on Fabric

Can you believe it is almost a year since I began writing 100 Brush Script Quotes? I can’t.

I loved the project so much last year that I have decided to jump on board again in 2018 and have shamelessly plagiarised the project that Elise Blaha Cripe  did last year. But instead of 100 Plants on Fabric I’m going with 100 Hearts on Fabric!

And let me tell you I am about as excited as I have ever been about this! The idea came to me about two months ago during a quilty phase when I found myself wondering how I could do something similar to Elise (because I thought her take on the idea was so cool) without being exactly the same. Then it hit me. I love hearts as a motif so why not do hearts on fabric.

I began by pinning over here to see if I could come up with enough ideas……..

Then I thought where is the challenge if you know you can do it? I was hooked on the idea anyway and now can’t wait to get going.

Although I’m all fired up, which is of course exactly how you need to be at the start of something that is going to last a long time, I’m also realistic and know that I’ll get fed up and stressed along the journey. To help combat those feelings I know I can consult my board over on Pinterest when I need inspiration.

As far as supplies I’ve purchased some fabric markers, fabric inks and dimensional fabric paint.

I’ve sorted out a pile of embroidery floss, sequins and beads and have a small stack of fabric. The salmon linen on the top of the pile is the only one I have purchased so far all the others are from my stash.

I intend to make squares (when I said I’d plagiarised her idea I wasn’t kidding!) and sew them into a quilt so my colour scheme is going to be white, pink, grey and some other neutrals. If I get to the end of the 100 days and manage to sew a quilt I’ll put it our bedroom to go with my very first quilt.

A week today is all begins again!

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Here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project and here is a post summing up my thoughts at the end of the 100 days.

Adventures in Quilt Making

Back in August I shared the baby quilt my niece and I made for my great niece and I mentioned that it had re-inspired my love of patchwork and quilting. I dug out all of my previously started quilting projects…….

There were three of them back then. H thought this was dreadful and kept asking why I hadn’t finished them. My answer didn’t go down well as I admitted that I get bored and want to move on to other things. No point in sugar coating it. I can hold my head up high and admit, as I have many times before that my hobbies go in phases. Just because the buying, planning and cutting of fabric seems to come around more often that the sewing together of all the blocks shouldn’t stop me in my quilt adventures!

Here are two of them.

The denim and red has been in the works for longer than I dare admit. I love the idea of re-using denim from old jeans and thought the reds went really well with that faded blue. I added a neutral or two in as well.

I have a pile of jeans legs (that sounds funny!) tucked away and I’m determined to use them one day. It is a heavier material than all the other fabrics and I’m sure I shouldn’t have put lightweight and heavyweight materials together. But the beauty of not having much of a clue about quilting is that I just go with it and sometimes out works out fine. And other times I have to unpick for days…..

The orange triangles have also been around a while. I think I bought the material from Jo-Ann’s in 2015…. Here is another example as learning as I go. While I seem to have done quite a decent job of getting my pinwheel points matched up in the red and denim blocks I’ve managed to do a terrible job with those triangle points. Definitely a steep learning curve. Even my rows are wibbly wobbly!

And then we have the Christmas Tree Quilt which had been a work in progress for a few years too but finally got finished last December.

Inspired by this pin and this blog post. It is the most adorable thing I’ve ever made. I love it and from the remarks I got about it from family I better get cutting trees again and give a few away as Christmas gifts. In a few years of course…….

And as we are doing the full disclosure bit I hold my hand up and admit that while in the US last August I did drag my family to Jo-Ann and bought more fabric.

This time purple and grey to match our living room.

I decided to go more modern with this one and got the design inspiration somewhere online but cannot remember where!

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of the post this one is coming along great and I’ve finished piecing the top.

As of this point in time I have the orange and purple ready to sandwich together and baste.  The poor old red and denim is still in blocks but you never know by the end of the year they could all be finished. Stranger things have happened.

One Little Word® 2018 – Practice

This is the fifth year I am embarking on walking with a word.

Previous words were –

  • Listen
  • Align
  • Whole
  • Light

I usually start strong and enthusiastic. And this year has been no exception. My word showed up in mid November and stuck. Pretty sure it is all linked to the yoga I have been doing. Whenever anyone refers to ‘doing’ yoga they always call it a ‘practice’.

Here in the UK we have two spellings of this word.

Practice – The application or use of an idea, belief, method. “The principles and practice of teaching.”

Practise – Perform an activity repeatedly to improve. 

I hold my hand up and admit that thinking about these two made my head hurt……. I get it. Mostly. I may slip up along the year’s journey and spell it wrong, forgive me in advance!

Anyway onwards.

There are a few areas that spring to mind when thinking about my journey with this word.

You can see from the photo above that I’ve made a note of things that initially came to mind about my word. Yoga, health, kindness, photography, playing music, making art, meditation, being present, giving.

For me this word is not about practice to make perfect. It is more practice to live good. That is the essence of how the word manifested in my mind.

We are all a work in progress right? And I’d like to find a balance between the idea of working, working, working at something till you get fed up and give up (well I do) and saying okay got that wrong lets have another go. There is a difference in the mindset. I want to nudge myself towards having another go because I know I’m the sort of personality that when pushed gives up – I’m stubborn that way. HA!

So lets see if I can acknowledge this, have some understanding and kindness towards myself and hopefully it will help me grow and become more practised in these areas of my life.

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One Little Word® is a project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over here.

Looking forward to…….

(The photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this post but I mean c’mon…….)

We are looking forward to the Winter Olympics. The winter games have a place in our hearts more than the summer games do. We love the curling! It all started in 2006 when the U.K ladies were defending their title. We were decorating our bedroom and set a little T.V up in there so we could watch all the matches. We also like the scary luge, skeleton and bobsleigh events and four years ago we really go into the snowboarding too!

We are going to read two books a month, at least. Gav’s joining me on this quest. The stacks of book to be read are crazy right now so we need to do something about them. Last year was possibly my slowest reading year since 2012. I need to work on this.

We are going to see The Last Jedi again tonight! We had a big family outing the week in between Christmas and New Year to see this long awaited movie and we both loved it so a return trip is in order.

I have a new One Little Word®. PRACTICE. More to come on this.

I am taking part in the 30 day yoga challenge over here. I have been doing a little yoga since May last year. I don’t feel like I have improved physically but I know my mind loves this practice and I like the way she teaches so thought it would be good to give a challenge a go.

We are going to start learning a new song in our mini band soon. H, Gav and I have been learning ‘No Surprises’ by Radiohead for a few months. We haven’t perfected it but it is time to try something new.

We are looking through all the seed catalogues and getting excited for another growing season. I need to have a search through all my flower photos to see what was a success last year. So adore growing things!

Just a few things to think about as we get into this year of 2018!

Let’s Start the Year Right! With Snow

Technically this delightful day was last year but I’m using poetic licence here.

If you’ve been here a while you’ll know I adore snow. We don’t get much in Leeds s when it comes it is a treat.

This flurry arrived four days after Christmas Day which was bad timing on the weather front but I loved it all the same and the beauty was that I had no idea snow was forecast so when I peeked out of the curtains it was a total surprise!

I donned the wellies and Buddy and I set off for the best morning walk and when we’d been home a while and I had ventured out into the garden for some photos and to clear a spot for the bird feeding area it started to snow again and carried on for a couple of hours.

The flakes at one point were giant. It was a perfect hour or so as I watched it get a little deeper.

I went back out after it stopped and built a teeny snowman.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything to make his face.

My niece let me know that they were going to the park sledging so I tagged along to try to get a few photos.

Snow is very tricky to photograph especially if the day is overcast and misty! It throws the exposure out because it tricks the sensors into thinking the image is going to be overexposed. I thought I’d got my setting right but when I looked at them back home I needed to up the exposure quite a bit more.

They had fun though while I tried to get a shot. My sister and brother-in-law in the picture above. Then H joined in and they raced….

You can see that we don’t need much of a snowfall to get us out sledging round these parts!

And for the final run down the hill they persuaded me to have a go……

She was very happy about that…… me clearly not so much!

All in all though a fun few hours surrounded by that fabulous snow and a bit more practice with the big camera in those conditions. If only it snowed a bit more I might perfect it!

2017 – A Review in Pictures (and Some Words!)

An amazing trip to NYC to celebrate my 5oth birthday. it snowed on the big day and I got to walk in central park in the snow on my birthday!

Went on an adventure for sixteen days with these lot.

Witnessed a total eclipse which was truly amazing.

Welcomed a new life to the family.

Saw four generations together.

Played family rounders.

Grew things.

Arranged flowers.

Took part in the 100 day project.

Walked with my word Light.

Left a job I loved.

Found two more jobs and picked the wrong one…… lasted a week! Spent December unemployed but LOVED having all the time in the world for festive things.

I’m sat here today and on the one hand I feel panicky because I need to find a job and that is tainting my fabulous year but on the other hand I know this is just a blip. I will be okay, we will be okay and I must celebrate this wonderful year of 2017.

In that positive note I will say bring on three more months of my big birthday year and let’s get to making things happen in 2018……..

The Post Box Quest – London 2017

It went a little bit like this when Gav, H and I were in London this summer…..

Me – ‘Oooo, there’s a post box over there.’ (Makes to cross road.)

Them – ‘Ugh.’ (Eye rolling and general ‘not another one’ faces!)

Followed by….

Me – ‘But look…..oh, that looks like one I haven’t seen before.’ (Crosses road abandoning them.)

Them – ‘Ugh.’ (Dragging feet and following on behind me.)

Poor things! My enthusiasm for looking at letter boxes hasn’t diminished and I did indeed find ones new to me. The one above is a double slot box with the cypher of VR for Queen Victoria on the side of the box not the front as it usually is.

This one has that directional sign fitted to the top.

And this one is a double Edward VII

The one below was covered in stickers as you can see. I have ‘edited’ the picture to remove some of them! But I had to take a photo because it had a strange ring on the top and it shows how some boxes had Royal Mail on them as well as the cypher.

And finally an anonymous box near the V and A Museum. These boxes had no Royal cypher and the aperture of this one was higher than most right up against the rim of the cap.

It is also smaller and apparently caused problems with letters getting stuck.

Whether my companions enjoyed my post box adventures or not I had fun spotting new post boxes to add to my collection. Oh yes I know I’m a geek!

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You can see my other blog posts about some of the post boxes I’ve found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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