Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What have you made this week?

Do you ever get asked that?  People seem to be asking me this alot lately but I have some very productive weeks and then weeks where I seem to be working on a bunch of things and getting nothing done! 

This week started last Tuesday at our quilting class.  We were helping Mary basted her twin sized Sunbonnet Sue quilt.  The other ladies gave me permission to put their pic up as long as they weren't looking at the camera (they're terribly shy!).  Mary is just amazing, everything she makes is a work of art, she's a perfectionist to the last and this quilt is testament to that.  A more humble woman you couldn't find though, she plays down every bit of praise and admiration but she's a real gem!  I'm not sure what the official name of the Sunbonnet Sue pattern is but it's a block for each month.  Mary has added some gorgeous details and lots of different types of texture in her fabrics to really enhance each block.  This is a very poor photo as we were working on the floor in a seperate room to the quilt class so the lighting wasn't great for showing off her work.  She'll be hand-quilting this and no doubt will do a fab job of it, as she always does!

My son came home a few days ago to say he needed a costume for the schools "Winter Celebration".  His class is doing Goldilocks and the Three Bears and he is on the jury!  He told me he was to be a disney character or an animal of some sort - obviously it's an adapted version!  So we raided the cupboards and borrowed a jacket with tails from the costume cupboard at the Q Club and put this together - he's going to be the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.  He's completely taken with his cardboard and paperclip pocket watch!! 

The Quilt Shop is holding a charity event this friday and saturday.  It's to help with the fundraising for a local boy, Shane Grogan, who is in need of 24hr care.  We've all been putting together a few bits to donate.  I decided to make crayon rolls.  I had made five but two seem to have been acquired by the little people in my house, that's what I get for making them in Lightening McQueen fabric!!

If anyone is passing, please pop in and check out the event, it will be full of little handmade gifts to pick up!  The full details of the "Care for Shane" event are here.

I still have about 4 WIP's on the go at the moment so hopefully I'll have something more substantial to share next week!  I think these short, grey winter days have affected my mojo so I need to get a move on!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

It's cushion time!

I'm not good at maths, I never have been.  In our first patchwork class two years, Roisin, our tutor, told us that there was actually quite alot of maths in quilting.......you should've seen our collective faces drop as we snuck a few glances around to see if we were alone in our fear!  I'm pretty sure that I was planning my hasty retreat from quilting immediately until Roisin reassured us that we'd be okay, that she'd take us through it all step-by-step...........and in fairness, she has but I still don't like maths, I like the easy option!

So I guess I was a little daunted when I was asked this week to make a cushion version of a quilt I made a few weeks ago.  How do you make something three or four times smaller when you winged it to begin with?  But nevermind that, isn't it just a huge confidence boost when someone sees something you've made and wants one too?  And when that person is a fellow crafter, it's like a double thumbs-up!  Oooh it gives me the shivers! Good shivers!

So here it is....... the finished product.  Now, I couldn't take a straight-forward picture for you when I heard the meece scurrying in the kitchen.  It seems they heard that the cushion was destined for the home of their creator, Miss Thistlepatch. Well they wouldn't hear of anything less than being involved in the photo shoot, I reckon they're trying to make her come and find them.  I'm going to have to stop them from watching Annie on repeat!

I tried to let the meece out on the grass, thought they might scurry away and I'd get a cushion pic without their noses right in the picture, but they weren't having any of it....they move super fast and manage to look terribly innocent when they make it back just as  I hit "click"!

This is them, making a final "take us home Miss Thistlepatch" plea........... but they don't realise, she has enough meece eating her chocolate, she doesn't need anymore...... in fact, I don't think she can afford to keep anymore, they eat far too much!  So they're stuck with me another while, good think I love their little faces or I couldn't be putting up with this messing!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I do love to be beside the seaside!

It's been a bit of a go-slow around here.  As in slowly, slowly, bit by bit getting through my hand quilting on my seaside quilt.  I started this back in January or February.  I got the top pieced relatively fast considering is all foundation paper pieced.  I loved the pattern when I came across it online.  Actually it was a similar pattern by the same lady (Lesley Brankin) that caught my eye originally.  That one was Noah's ark and having done that bible story with our kids not long before, I thought they might like it but when I researched her other patterns, I totally fell for this one.  It has tonnes of detail and different sealife to keep the small kids interested!

After I had the top pieced, the lovely tuesday night ladies that I've mentioned before, helped me baste it.  We always have great fun doing the basting when we do it together - takes the tedium out of the job and we can have a laugh and a chat at the same time.  Then I had to undertake my first ever hand-quilting job.  I was armed with the double lap quilting hoop  (I got this from Roisin in The Quilt Shop, they're about €50 but in my opinion, worth every penny), a packet of size 12 clover needles and a spool of variegated thread and told to go for it! 

I was so slow starting.  I had never hand sewn ANYTHING!  This was completely new territory to me but I soon found it very enjoyable.  It took hours (honestly, I think it was 8 hours!) to do one row of rolling 1" waves across the width but it was very satisfying to watch them appear as I slogged away.  Eventually however, I got bored and desperately needed to move onto new and exciting and FAST projects and my poor seaside quilt was folded and put down beside the couch to be worked on "in a few days"............and there it stayed until a couple of weeks ago when a friend enquired about my progress........whoops, "oh yeah, that quilt.......must do something with that"  so the very next day, I resurrected it, dusted it off and got going again.  I had enough of the handquilting done to be able to bind it and that tidied it up no end which helped spur me on to do alot more quilting on it then I had ever planned.  With every stitch though, I'm more pleased with the nearly-finished product!

I counted 103 stitches in each rolling wave along the borderand there is a total of 86 waves around the edges of the whole quilt, that makes around 8850 hand stitches around the border alone....... gosh, I'm glad I didn't work that out before I started or I think it would have been straight lines all the way!  I think I may just have to put a quilt label on the back with an approximate number of stitches throughout the quilt top.......just so my children appreciate how much I obviously love them!  ha ha, maybe not!

 I really enjoyed making this quilt though, it was fun to pick the different colours for the different pieces of sealife.
  My favourites are probably the seahorses and the puffins but I adored using the different yellows and putting together the complex sun pattern too!  It took a good 2 and a half hours to put the sun together but I love the construction of it, you can almost feel the heat coming from it!

It was hard to photograph but in the sand, there are some familiar seaside shapes...... some seashells, a bucket and space etc...... I don't know if you can make them out?


So that's it......... almost a year in the making but it would have been done much faster if I wasn't so easily distracted!  I'm still working on it, I want to add a few little personalised touches for my kids but once the binding went on, the twins quickly claimed it as their own.  It makes it worthwhile when you see how much they love something that you make for them! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Knitting, Stitching, Buying........ Indulging!

How come nobody told me about the Knitting and Stitching show before?  I mean, I've been through my fair share of hobbies........ I've made and sold jewellery for a few years, I made cards and bought everything in from abroad except for the few bits I could get locally, I dabbled in glass painting and sold a set of 8 Mickey Mouse drinking glasses to the current President of Ireland and had to make do with the most basic supplies from Easons! Nobody told me that just two hours up the road, there was a major all-under-one-roof craft fest going on once a year!!!  I've been missing out BIG TIME!  The husband has been warned, he's to save his pennies for me if he wants to save the credit card from a bashing next year and beyond!

Impossible to show just how many stands there were........ this was when things had quietened down later in the day.

It was my first time driving in the "bit city", sad I know but my other half has always done the driving when we are away.  I wasn't worried though, I had my trusty side-kick (sister-in-law, Amelia)  in the passenger seat listening to the SatNav which was desperately try to speak Irish and translating for me (it took us until the journey home to figure out "odee's" was poor Mrs. SatNav trying to say ├│ dheas).  We danced in the car when we got the exits right and rang the husbands to gloat when we got to the RDS exactly on schedule!  We did a super-happy-excited-dance when we got in the front door and were greeted by a chocolate stand to the right, a wool stand in front of that and it was facing a card stand, backed by fabric, fabric and more fabric!  Hoooooooooray, we were home!  Queue hours of browsing, buying, dropping bits off to the car, more browsing, a bit of haggling (the ol' sister in law is great for bagging a bargain), short lunch break and back to it.  We stayed until 30 mins after it officially closed.

It was lovely to see in reality the shops I've only ever seen online, even better to meet the owners.  I'm totally swayed by friendly shop people and have no hesitation walking away if I don't get a nice vibe from the shop assistant, no matter how much I want something.  There were some English sellers with large stalls and a good variety of stock but it was brilliant to see how many Irish sellers there were and they were just as competitive...........nice to see that we can find what we need at home now! These were some of my favourites - we were greeted with the biggest smiles from the friendliest shop keepers and got some great goodies!! 

I of the Needle, Athy
The Quilt Shop, Tuam
(My sister won one a ticket in her FB Comp and gave it to me so I was delighted to be able to use it!
Fairly obvious who this is!
I got some great value backing fabric here, totally delighted with it!
The Crafty Fox
This little dude gave me a right fright when I was chatting to the owner, I thought it was a little old lady hovering over my shoulder!  Got some beautiful Tilda fabric here that I just can't wait to use!!

 Now, I've mentioned in the past how my sister-in-law can be unintentionally funny but I thought it was hilarious when we're going round the biggest craft fair in Ireland and spending our few quid on fabric and she was worried about being too "materialistic".   Materialistic?  That's EXACTLY what I wanted to be while I was there!  I'm giggling just thinking about it!  She wasn't even trying to pun!  Another of her gems was when she pointed out the "Owl-a Kiely Bags".  Can you see what she saw? 
Let's just say........never a dull moment!

So that was our day at the Knitting and Stitching show and we're already planning next years trip!  We took off through Dublin City traffic afterwards and treated ourselves to a lovely dinner before we hit our hotel and got to look through our purchases and make a fine mess of the room trying things out that probably should've stayed packed until we got home! 

 After a full day in Ikea the next day,  I finally got home to Galway at 11pm the following night so was pretty stiff and tired but it was totally worth it!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Shopping time.........nearly!

It's the week of the Knitting and Stitching Show and I'm ridiculously excited to get going.  I've never been and before taking up quilting, I always seemed to pick hobbies with no proper suppliers nearby and always had to purchase online which pushed up the cost because of postage and sometimes customs charges.  Now, I'm spoiled rotten with local shops, friends with similar interests and a super shopping day like the Knitting and Stitching show to look forward too.  The hotel is booked, the car is fuelled (and I'm not going for another 2 days), my bag is not quite packed but I've thought about it, that's progress for me!  I'm thinking I should probably pack a nice bottle of wine for afterwards too, I'm sure it's the least we'll deserve after a days hard shopping work!

This weeks project was to get on with the little boy blanket that I started last week.  It was a joy to make because it was such a simple little design.  I absolutely loved the colours on this quilt.  Primary colours just scream "Little Boy", don't they?  They're fun, they're inspiring and they just cheer you up!  This quilt was started with Mia's new sibling in mind (see my older posts).

 I just had a feeling that she would have a little brother and sure enough, just as I was finishing up, I got the news that Dara had been born!  I added his name using perle cotton that I got in the post from Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  I'm totally converted to perle cotton thread - it's so lovely to work with!  Now I just need to build up a supply of different colours....... :)
So this is Dara's blanket........... what do you think?
The sun has been shining all morning so it was great to be able to pop outside for a few pics to really show off the bright colours!  I did an all-over free motion stipple on the quilting to give it a lovely squishy feel!

Now I've got to finish off Mia's own quilt.  Just a small bit more quilting and binding to do and I can hand them both over and I can head off to the Knitting and Stitching Show guilt free!!!

Monday, 21 October 2013


I'm battered and sore this morning.  It's the day after our Youth Club Variety Show in the town hall and we had a blast!  The kids shone like stars, they smiled and danced and sang their hearts out.  The excitement at side of stage was electric and the cheering from the crowd spurred them on even more!  Us leaders got our 30 seconds on stage for the last dance (for our shame) with all the kids and were nearly taken down with the hugs from 53 kids as the curtains closed.  It was a wild day but so worth it! 

In the few days coming up to the show, I was working on a few things.  I started to quilt my heart quilt for little Mia.  I'm very slow at doing the hearts and man, there are a lot of them!  I used my walking foot because I need an awful lot of practice at free motion quilting yet!  I really hope Mia loves this quilt, it's perfect for a girly-girl.  I still don't know if Mia is having a baby brother or sister so I started making a little boy quilt so I could be somewhat prepared if a little man makes an appearance!  I had a plan in mind but when I went to cut the fabric, I just couldn't cut up one of my fat quarters in the bunch, it was too cute.  It's a lovely little map fabric from Kokka.  I bought this in Pippa Blue in Galway about 2.5 years ago after my doing my first afternoon class on how to use my machine.  It's adorable and I just decided to build my quilt around it.  I was far too impatient to sit down and work out a plan so I made a few mistakes as I went and I'm still working it out.  Somebody make me write it down........ "it's far less time consuming to make a plan first"!!!  I might write it on the bathroom mirror!!  I have started making it bigger with some borders.  It's not going to be huge but just big enough to snuggle in, I think!  

Remember my little Mermaid tail that I made a few weeks ago?  Well, I tried making a rock for her to sit on.  It involved a large kitchen chair, a roll of chicken wire, some padding and fabric!  Sounded easy, was in fact, actually relatively easy but when I dyed the fabric, it came out green instead of grey first of all.  Then, it was just far too big and cumbersome to carry on stage so I needed another plan.  I got a clam shell half done as I mentioned last week and then at the final hour, the night before the show, a few cans of spray and a few flowers and a bit of ivy (thank you Gail, great idea) ........and it only took 20mins.  Why do I always put these things off, silently stressing and worrying about what to do and then, when I get down to it, it's done so fast.........finally it was complete and it looked gorgeous on stage from a distance with all the lights on it.  This is our gorgeous little mermaid before the show, trying out her clam for size!

Another busy week ahead, now that the show is out of the way, I've promised my son some sleepovers, my friends some time and I'm in desperate need of some retail therapy........ that used to mean clothes shopping, which I desperately need, but now, it means new FABRIC!!!  I'm heading to the Knitting and Stitching show in the RDS at the end of the month and I can't wait. 

If any of you are interested in going, don't forget you can get a chance at some free tickets by entering the competition with The Quilt Shop right here............ Knitting & Stitching Ticket Comp!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Finally, a finish!

October is proving to be a very busy month here and I'm counting the days until November hits.  With two weekends away, a youth club show going on stage, my mum having surgery and graduating (because she doesn't do things by halves) as well as numerous other things that I've committed to and the things I had to decline because I don't do well with stress....... let's just say all my days are full! 

Finally, finally, finally I finished my mums lap quilt.  You'll remember that I had started this months ago, promptly lost it once the top was done in a frenzied, pre-guest tidy up (some day, I'll be one of those organised people who doesn't need to hide the mess before visitors come........some day), it showed up months later - between the wooden latts and the mattress in the guest room!!  I know.........how?  Well, even after re-starting it, I always seemed to have more important things to be doing so I only added the last few stitches this afternoon so I could give it to my very patient mother before her surgery!

I wanted it to have a slightly scrappy feel, like traditional patchwork, which is why I added "Mum" and another little scrap with three x's.  I wasn't sure if it looked the way I wanted but she was delighted to see it personalised so I guess it's ok!! 

The back turned out pretty okay too - actually makes my stitching look straight!!

I can't for the life of me make this picture turn the right way up - how very frustrating!!! It's the correct way on my laptop.......but comes through sideways!

I also have a cute little quilt on the go for a soon-to-be big sister.  I'm really enjoying this one.  I saw the idea on Pinterest and I kept going back to look at it, it was obviously just too cute not to make a version of it!

I love when something lends itself to loads of different fabrics - it's very hard not to find one that you just love in it.  For me, I particularly love the little boy and girl heart right there in the centre!

I used the stem stitch that I learned from a tutorial by Fairyface Designs a few weeks ago to do the embroidery on this little lady with her hot cup of ....... hot chocolate (she's far to young to be drinking coffee yet)!

Can't wait to finish this one.........watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Busy Bee but forgot the honey!

It's been a busy, busy week here.  We've had the dress rehearsal for the Q Club show and at the last minute, my mermaids rock was scrapped.  I just wasn't happy with it so I roped my poor, tool-handy husband in and grabbed my twins shell shaped paddling pool, a few bits of wood and some castors, a massive king-size duvet for padding, a dye sheet and hey, presto! We had a clam for the mermaid to sit in instead of a rock to sit on - and we could roll her on stage instead of carrying her (it's difficult to walk with a fish-tail)!  I still have a bit of work to do on it to make it a bit sparkly for our gorgeous little mermaid and I'll share a picture then!

I've started lots of sewing projects this week but have little or nothing to share........

I started a real cutesy little girl quilt that I'm very excited by but forgot to buy some more steam-a-seam to move on!
I started learning to Quilt-As-You-Go but forgot to buy brown thread to continue on!
I wanted to finish my seaside quilt but forgot to buy the fabric for the binding! 
I've started making hexies, at long last, but don't really have a plan for them yet!

So yes, loads going on and nothing to show for it! 

I did however start a Facebook page at last.  Very unique name of Naptime Stitching - didn't see that one coming, did you?  I didn't realise it would be quite as exciting as it is to watch those "likes" creep up.  Granted I've a long, long way to go and have a lot of work ahead but it's great fun.  Check it out if you get a minute.  I appreciate the support! 

I wouldn't leave you without something pretty to look at though...... have a gander at these gorgeous aprons that Thistlepatch has to offer.  I'm pretty sure that they're only available to those with a degree in home-making and those whose souffl├ęs are super light and fluffy.......... although, I have it on good authority that she doesn't check references, so if you just want to look like someone with those qualifications, you NEED one of these.   Have a sneaky peek at her album, there are other beautiful colours to choose from and they're all so pretty!

One lady, who I'm sure has a pretty apron because she's just that type of girl, is another Naomi (she must be special to share my name, right?).  She has an amazing blog over at Ramekins and Pretty Things.  I reckon her brain works on a completely different level (in a good way) because the combinations she comes up with to bring us the most flavorsome and truly awesome recipes are just out of this world!  I can't wait each week to get my notification of her new blog posts, each one is more interesting than the last! 

Don't be afraid to say Hello to myself, Thistlepatch or Naomi of Ramekins and Pretty Things........ we all love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Happy Post Day...!

Postman Gerry arrives at my house at 8 o'clock every morning and our alarm goes off about 5 minutes before.  You know those minutes where the bed has never been so inviting, it's so hard to get up, it's so warm under the covers...... but then the doorbell goes and you fly out of the bed, rubbing sleep from your eyes and making sure you're not flashing too much skin before you reach the front door in 2 seconds flat because there is no better reason to get up than to answer the door to a lovely package. 

I think Postman Gerry often feels sorry for my husband (well, my husbands wallet, to be more precise) and has hinted on more than one occasion that I might have an online shopping addiction.  I might have had a little bit of a fondness for it in the past but I am getting much better, especially since The Quilt Shop opened less than 10 minutes away... I just don't need to shop online as much when I can do it in person!!! (but for all the other fabric lovers who don't live on the doorstep, she is working on getting an online shop up and running - even I can't wait, I'll be able to do some late night browsing online but then save on postage by collecting instore....... oh yessssss!).

Anyway......... I knew what was coming on this particular day but it wasn't something I bought.  It was my package from the Pincushion Swap from the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland.  I had been watching all the gorgeous creations appearing on Flickr but didn't know which one would be for me!  Look at this for a bundle of prettiness......
The pincushion has the daintiest floral fabric and is a super size.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture but it's about 6inches in diameter.  Perfect for me because I do seem to constantly loose small things when I'm sewing - my thread, my pins, my seam ripper, but this won't be as easy to mislay!  The card is a wonderful handmade creation with the most adorable quilled ants!  They're super cute!  My wonderful swap partner also included a gorgeous selection of scraps - all a decent size too so I'll be able to put them to good use!   I really enjoyed this swap, despite my own procrastination and long-winded deliberations over what to make....... can't wait for the next swap now!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Off the beaten sewing track

I Quilt. 

That's what I said, right?  Not this past few days though, I've had all sorts of distractions....all good fun however.  First some sewing for the Youth Club I help out at.  Who could say no to this kind of thing........ you know we've all wanted to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid or wear a Pink Ladies/T-Bird Jacket from Grease...... don't deny it!!  So one of the little dudes was swimming in his extra-large jacket so I had to take the T-Bird Logo from the back and re-attach it to a smaller size.

I'm much more comfortable with straight line stitching and would rather throw an item out than have to mend a hole.  My brain still tells me that I'm not able to do things like that - then my husband reminds me that I have learnt to sew and do own a sewing machine and really shouldn't be dumping skirts that have one inch of hem hanging down!! I did use the hoop for this little job though and did it by hand, it was just easier!

Next I moved on to the Mermaids Tail.  I wasn't sure at all how I was going to do it.  Then, last Tuesday morning, I had 4 workmen sitting in my kitchen - my husband, 2 of his work colleagues and some rep from Dublin.  They were taking up space in my kitchen when the notion grabbed me to make the mermaid right then so I popped out the newspaper, grabbed a sharpie and made myself a template - with the audience looking on, asking what I was doing.........but I really didn't know, I just hoped I would have something relatively mermaid shaped at the end of it!!

As it happened, it was much easier than I expected.  I did have a sprinkle of half broken sequins all over the kitchen floor after sewing the sparkly material but I had two little helpers collecting that "treasure" so that wasn't too bad! 

Less than half an hour later........!

In the meantime, I did get some of my own work done.  I managed to get the name attached to little Donnchadh's blanket and it was gifted to him last Wednesday to a very happy mum, so I'm told :)   With the unusual spelling of her little boys name, she wasn't expecting to receive anything personalised!

I still have not perfected using Minky or Plush fabric but I'll get there!
Every attempt is a learning curve right now and each time, it sits a bit nicer!

It's a sure sign however that you've been burning the candle at both ends though when you wake up one morning and find items in your bed that definitely don't belong there.  And worse still, you slept like a log all night and didn't even feel them, despite them being under the covers with you! I don't remember sewing in bed, because it's one bad habit I don't yet have so I must have brought these to bed with me when I collected my phone and glass of water to head to bed!  Whoops!

I do sometimes enjoy a nice glass of red wine after an evening hard work though so maybe that was to blame!  Speaking of which, what do you think of my gorgeous wine stopper?  Made by the wonderful Thistlepatch.  I got one of these from her last year and I still get a kick out of it when it's in use!  Great excuse to keep a bottle open!

I can't get the daft picture to turn the right way up for me.....it's turned the right way up when I select it to put it on the page but then comes in sideways.........anyone know how to change that?  All input or suggestions gratefully received!

Till next time........!