Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scrappy do

 Last Sunday, Mr Moog took the Minx out for the day on his motorbike. They went to a ride-in day at Beaulieu Motor Museum with hundreds of other bikers. Although I don't want to be an old worrypants, I must admit I never relax or feel at all able to settle to anything until they're home safe and sound again.

To distract me from myself, I decided to ignore housework and spent the day playing with my box of scrap fabrics. There was no plan and I had no idea when I set out what I was going to make. By the end of the day, I had a floor full of skinny trimmings and 48 little 4.5inch scrappy squares and it totally took my mind off things.


 I'm still not sure what they'll become, as I need to make more if I even want to make a lap quilt, but they do make me very happy.
There's been plenty more sewing over the past couple of weeks. I managed to finish my  English Paper Pieced apple cores and got them stitched together - through gritted teeth, I might add, thanks to me being a bit too generous with the basting glue. They were somewhat tough to stitch together but have ended up becoming a very sweet little scrappy cushion cover.

Another cushion received a makeover when I dug out some of the scrappy squares I made back in April, and combined them with some scraps of grey linen, from the Scrapstore. I'm so pleased with this one, which now sits on my favourite armchair.
Earlier this week, on my way home from work, I called into a local patchwork shop that I recently discovered, Jolly Stitcher, tucked away on an industrial park in Fareham. It's a lovely shop with a great selection of fabrics and yarn too.
I needed some thread and hadn't realised how hard it is to find a decent sized spool of 100% cotton thread on the high street these days. Hobbycraft had nothing bigger than 100m, and the same went for my little local sewing shop but Jolly Stitcher had a great selection. However, it must have had special magic magnetic properties as it attracted all manner of other things into the basket with it.
One of those things was a new rotary cutter. My old one was very old and I'd been unable to find a new blade for it and had started to struggle with accurate cutting. Well, the new one - an Olfa rotary cutter - is a complete revelation to me! I had no idea just how good a sharp rotary cutter could be and what a difference it makes to your cutting.
I spent Wednesday evening, once again playing with my scrap fabrics, cutting little 2.5" squares and then carefully piecing them together with my new 1/4" sewing foot. I'm surprised and delighted at what a difference these two new toys have made to my piecing.

By the end of Wednesday evening I had nine pretty little nine patch squares. By the end of Thursday evening they'd been joined together with some skinny charcoal grey sashing, with little strawberry print highlight squares and thus became...another new cushion cover!


This one is my absolute favourite and I still can't believe I did such neat and tidy piecing!
In other exciting patchworky news, I got my copy of Issue 1 of Quilt Now magazine this week - edited, of course, by the very brilliant Katy Monkey . Not only is it a beautiful magazine, with bucket loads of inspiring projects but it's also so exciting to see someone who I've known in blogland for several years, taking on such an incredible venture. It's been great to share her excitement on Instagram, where I've been lurking rather a lot lately.  
So, now we're onto today. After a busy day yesterday, hosting a little family bbq, and a bad night's sleep last night thanks to the heat, I opted to stay home and potter today, while Mr Moog took children and dogs to the beach.
I waded through a mountain of ironing, whilst listening to sewing podcasts, and once done I rewarded myself with a very quick bit of sewing, attaching flags to some tape to make 10m of bunting for my friend's upcoming 50th birthday bash. Of course, being bunting, it's a pain to photograph but here's a snippet.
To those of you who left lovely comments, and emailed me, after my last post about Minx's 'friend' problems, thank you so much! I'm very pleased to say things did settle down, almost as quickly as they erupted. Her friend, completely uncharacteristically, apologised and suggested they put the whole thing behind them.
Although Minx wanted to tell her to shove her stinky 'friendship' I talked her down off that little ledge and she went into school happily enough on the Monday, with a view that she may as well say yes and have a more peaceful last couple of weeks of term!
Here's her latest loom band creation - no signs of this little craft obsession abating just yet :)
Only three more days of work and school and then the summer holidays begin - bring it on!!
Moogs xx
p.s. Recipes!
linky link for my favourite falafel recipe - falafels (I added a pinch of cayenne pepper too).
Easy peasy tasty houmous:
1 400g can chick peas
3 tbsp tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 crushed garlic clove
chuck it all in the food processor and whizz until smooth - add more lemon juice if you want to. Yum!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Random Saturday

It's been a glorious sunny and warm week and I've been dying to get out in the garden and potter but our garden is still a weed-ridden tip, leftover from last year's building work, so I've been consoling myself with little views, like this one of my Narnia lamppost against a blue blue sky under which is my bird table, full of sparrows and baby starlings.

We have big garden revamp plans but Mr Moog has been having such busy, stressy weeks at work lately that he's done in by the weekend, and I've been extra good about not 'nagging' as the garden will still be there when we're ready.

I've been getting my flowery fix by pouring over gardening magazines and playing with flowery fabric. This week, I had a day off on Thursday and once I'd got the children off to school and walked the dogs, I had a very sudden and unexpected urge to stitch up a quilt top.

I've had this fabric for years - it's Chocolate Lollipop, Anna Maria Horner's first fabric range and I'm not even sure if it's still being made. I'd been saving all those fat quarters and quarter yard pieces for something and now its time had come.

It's my first attempt at half square triangles and I've since found out I should have trimmed them before piecing the whole thing but hey ho, it scratched the itch and I had a lovely day putting it all together. I'm now shopping for a very dark chocolate brown as it needs a border to make it a more useable size.

The leftovers are being put to good use with some English paper-piecing.
In fact, I do seem to have developed a bit of a thing for EPP patchwork just lately. I got an urge to do some apple core patchwork and spent far too much time on Pinterest looking for just the right template but nothing was quite right. Minx and I went shopping last Saturday at a local patchwork shop in the vain hope they might have a template, which they didn't.

So, I came home and had a play with a compass and a protactor but nope, still didn't quite get it. Then I Googled a bit more and all of a sudden I found the PERFECT tutorial on how to make your own template and actually laughed out loud when I followed the link - to my dear friend Thimbleanna's brilliant tute on making your own apple core template in any size you like!

I dug out a whole load of scraps of leftover fabric in reds, pinks and blues and so far, so good. They might be easier to piece had I been a little less generous with the basting glue but I'm getting there and these are destined for either a cushion front or a mini-quilt. That itch is nearly scratched.

This itch is ongoing and likely to be for some time.

 I seem to have decided to only do white hexies from now on, with the odd coloured hexie thrown in as and when the feeling takes me. This could be years in the making.

I seem to be amassing a nice little pile of summer holiday projects here....two and a half weeks left before we break up...not that I'm counting or anything...

In other news, the meat-free meals thing is going surprisingly well. Last Saturday we had aubergine lasagne and I was genuinely shocked that everyone loved it! My lot love a proper minced beef lasagne and this was a risk but it was obviously one worth taking. This was the least burnt looking photo of the dish in question - it wasn't photogenic but it was very very tasty.

Tonight's dinner was even more surprising. My lot don't share my love of blue cheese at all, not even a little bit but apparently gorgonzola risotto is the best dinner ever and a repeat performance has been requested!

I do plan on sharing some of these recipes but as most of them are from books or are slightly tweeked versions of online recipes I'm going to try to put them in PDFs to make it easier to print them off. That will take a little time as Mr Moog has upgraded various things on our PC and I seem to have lost my PDF making gizmo....amongst other things, like all my six years' worth of work folders and dozens of knitting/crochet/sewing files, ahem.

To round off a pretty random post, here's what my girl is up to right now - loom bands.

They're everywhere. I hoovered up several (dozen) today. She loves them and has made at least thirty bracelets so far. They're also helping her get through a pretty crappity and emotional weekend, all caused by one rather noxious little b**ch who claims to be her friend but has been anything but for the past couple of days, especially when cloaked behind the forcefield of Facebook personal messaging.

This child lives her life like it's an episode of Jeremy Kyle. Nuff said. She obviously doesn't realise that our girl can and does talk to her parents about things that worry her so we're onto her.

Teenage girls are horrible. I know because I once was one and I wasn't even keen on them then!

Moogs xxx