Category: mel

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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100 Brushscript Quotes – Thoughts on the Completed Project

100 days. Seems like an age ago. Time has flown by since it was completed, almost another 100 days in fact!

Here is my original post at the start of the project. And here is the link to the official pages from the host Elle Luna.

I’m mentioning the ticking away of time quite a bit here recently mainly because I seem to be finding it hard to sit and blog, so ideas I had planned to write about have passed me by or, as in this case, what I’m writing about was ages ago. However, I still want to document and share my feeling about the 100 days project so here we go…..

First of all I surprised myself. I was amazed that I completed it and that I posted a photo of my handwritten quote everyday on Instagram. I was also pretty impressed that not only did I post the quote but that I interspersed those posts with other photos that gave my feed a chequerboard effect! Loved that, thanks Gav for pointing it out.

Secondly, I liked that I was quite picky about the quotes I chose to write. Although many of the comments I made attached to the image on Instagram didn’t mention the quote itself, I did find that I wouldn’t write just any old quote. I had to love it, it had to speak to me. More on that below. I also think that deciding to change it up part way through and adding in the movie quotes and then the Friends quotes shows something of my personality. Glad I mixed it up and added those into the process.

Thirdly, I found right after the end I didn’t want to stop! I missed it so very much at first and I still want to work on my style and practice more. As the time has gone by though I’m happy that I did it for the 100 days and now am finished. I can pick up the brush at any time and keep up the practice and I intend to do just that.

I also need to remember that I carved out 15-30 minutes a day to do this. What other creative thing could I do in that time?

I hope to go back and read and digest the words/quotes I wrote. Why did I pick them? How do I want them to impact my life. I chose them because they ‘spoke’ to me so I want ti think about why? Not just to leave it there I’d like to it think about the words more.

Overall then, it was a great success, I have a book of words documenting a project and also a period in my life. Love that tangible stuff! And I’m looking forward to doing it again next year maybe something a little more of a challenge??

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The 100 Day Project – 100 Brushscript Quotes

Phew…… I am just over a third of the way through this project! 100 days is a long time! I’ve been sharing my quote each day on Instagram and you can find me here over there.

I may have rambled before about my attraction to this art form before but thought I’d go over it again as I try to cement ideas in my head.

It all started with Kal. She doesn’t really post there anymore but that is where I found her many years ago. She is over here on Instagram.

I have tried her way of writing before.

I also found Amy through scrapbooking and a few years ago she started writing in watercolour brush script. Her style is completely different to Kal and they are both different to what I imagine that kind of writing to be. Mostly you find, if you look on You Tube, a perfect ‘copperplate’ style that is written to a formula. Neither of these artists write that way and I don’t want to either.

I want to try to develop a style. My style. And I think by writing for 100 days I may get there.

So far I am loving it. Up until day six I didn’t practice before I put brush to paper I just wrote the quote. Of those first few some were just a mess that looking back I don’t like very much.

Lesson number one then? I do need to ‘warm’ up before I write each one simply to get the movement flowing and to keep up the practicing. Lesson number two? Keep varying the size and style. I have tried to write differently but am drawn to the loopy writing more as you can see.

Lesson number three? Slowly does it. Now here in lies a problem. I have no patience. I want to take up the brush load it with colour and write. But I have found that if I slow down I can better judge the letters and where exactly I want the brush to go. I have also found that the way I hold the brush makes a difference. Straight up or like a pen and you end up with a different look.

 

I hope I’m getting better. Well I think I am. I have developed certain letters that were a problem to start with like ‘b’ and ‘y’ I like my ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘l’. Some are still tricky like ‘s’ and ‘m’ but I keep trying.

A few days ago I started with movie quotes and I’m loving that twist.

Generally I am writing them all in a book. I thought the idea of having all of them together would be kind of cool. I have done three ‘loose’ and may do more perhaps on different paper like the one in the first photo.

The paper in this pad I’m using is not watercolour paper but is slightly thicker and more textured than printer paper. I’m using a set of proper watercolour paints and a cheaper, chalkier set that I got from Hobbycraft in the UK. I use a fine water-brush for convenience and the bristles are very controllable.

I’m not sure I like the way my style is developing but I’ll keep going and see where this adventures leads me!

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Go here to find out more about the 100 Day Project.