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Friday, 23 September 2011

Better Pics of New Sewing Room

These do it far more justice, of course I left it especially messy to give the best impression of the revamp!

And looking the other way:

 And in the cupboards - bought to sort out my stuff
only 5 years ago

Too scared to mess it up right now but I need to get some stuff together to take to Gwent Quilters tomorrow so it won't be long

I'd love to put 2 photos side by side but haven't worked out how to do that yet, any tips?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New Sewing Room

Having got to the stage where my sewing room was hindering my productivity, I called in expert help in the form of Kay Julian help me declutter and 24 hours later I'm still delighted

My fabrics are in lovely wicker ex bread baskets. These were bought years ago and sat totally forgotten on top of the wardrobe, where the teddies are proudly surveying the scene with as much amazement as me. Kay even found space at ground level for my sewing machine to leave the table clear for the first time ever.

Inspired and energised by this wonderful new space, I will be getting going on new projects and finishing the free motion bag as soon as the rest of my life lets me. If I hadn't left my camera behind when I was out earlier this evening, I could have added a progress so far photo.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Days for girls

I've lifted the following wholesale from the Free Motion Quilting Project's blog as it seems such a good cause, I'm sure they won't mind. Please circulate and help if you can

Empowering Women - Days for Girls

Have you ever felt, after finding something, that you were looking for it all along?

I feel this way about Days for Girls, a program a fellow quilter introduced me to a few months ago. Only after finding out about this wonderful organization did I realize that I'd been searching for a way to help and empower other women.

Basically this is an organization set up to help girls in impoverished countries stay in school. What is stopping these girls from attending? Simple - their cycle.

While it may seem difficult to wrap our Walmart warped minds around it, in other countries they don't have grocery store isles full of hygiene products. When girls come of age, you can imagine what happens: every woman's nightmare, a public display of their cycle all over their pants, in front of their classmates.

Here's a first hand account from the director of Days for Girls, :

"What we see at DFG is tremendous need. There is the email from a young girl whose family could not spare the money to purchase feminine hygiene products.

She tried using newspaper, which gave her a rash, and toilet paper, which promptly soaked through her school uniform. After being taunted by the boys at school when she got blood on her skirt, she complained of headaches during her periods to stay home from school.

These girls are often skipped over for Secondary education because of their "handicap" of menstruation absenteeism. The desire to stay in school is so strong that many (not a few) are sexually exploited in exchange for feminine hygiene. Several women hearing our presentations said they had not thought of menstruation being a good thing until our presentations. Our presentations are also a unique time to discuss hygiene, health and the value of women."
So that's what this program does - it gives girls back their days. Instead of hiding at home, too embarrassed to attend school, too afraid of another accident, girls are able to stay in school confident of their ability to stay clean.

What I love the most is there are many ways to help! If you'd like to contribute to Days for Girls you can:
  • Donate money - 100% of everything donated to this organization actually reaches the people it's intended to help. You can see the many ways you can help right here.
  • Sew pads, shields, or drawstring bags - Sewing these items is essential for the program. Each girl is given a drawstring bag of sewn hygiene items that can be washed and reused year after year. Excellent videos on creating pads and shields can be found right here.

  • Donate supplies - Washcloths, soap, and sturdy ziplock bags help to create kits to be given to each girl Days for Girls reaches.

  • Buy a necklace - this beautiful necklace symbolizes all that Days for Girls does for the young women it reaches and the sale of 1 necklace funds 1 kit to be created.
What I love about this organization is that 100% of the money and supplies donated actually gets to the people in need.

I'm pretty tired of my charity donations just padding the pockets or paying the "administration fees" of the people in charge. With Days for Girls, everything donated is actually used by the women who need our help.

I can think of nothing more empowering - giving girls back the days they would normally spend alone, embarrassed, hating the very thing that makes them a woman. It's time we gave these girls their days back to study, learn, grow, and prosper.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Beach Huts A' Plenty

It seems Beach Huts is a popular quilt theme. Having come across one on Kate's Arty Quilts Blog she kindly sent me another curious, I started hunting, here's the haul so far: with instructions:
   see May

Amazing how different they all are. That's enough, time to get on with the rest of my life

Free Motion Bag Progress

Yesterday I had all sorts of plans to go out but nothing came of them after I slipped over on some mud, got slightly bashed and felt like nursing myself so I sewed instead. 

The raggy free motion bag is no longer raggy, It took a while, but I trimmed and folded in the seam allowances and hand stitched them down as per the quilt as you go projects that I've read about. 
The result is very tidy as they say round here.

I like it much better than before but the colours (not my choice but from the course)  are still so dull and dreary that they make me wonder why I'm going to all this effort. 
The bag face on the right side of this picture is the worst side. Not one to waste all the work done so far, the next challenge seems to be to liven them up  with a binding to give the rest a kick, as they say in Busy Bees.
So after ages playing with my stash I've decided on the yellow and orange batiks left over from my Calabash Quilt. Probably the yellows on the red/turquoise side and the oranges on the dull dull blue and brown

It's really nice that so far that practically everything I have done has had a fabric link to a previous project, linking back to the original recycling ethos of patchwork 
 If I can get it to work, the plan is to sew in one of the painted squares as an inside pocket for shopping lists,  keys etc

I've changed the font on this now to Verdana which is Jim's favourite , hope it looks nicer. Can't work out how to make the text black, it is set on black but still come up too light a grey to be easy to read. Bold seems to be an improvement.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Crazy cushions

Inspired by our evening class last winter, I made a Christmas crazy patchwork cushion for my friends in Bristol. It took ages to do all the embellishments and was great fun to do, almost all by hand.

It was such a success that god daughter Rose wanted to make her own. We had a tutorial at my house a couple of weeks ago, then she got on with it at home.

Today I saw the progress so far, it's looking very pretty and is a great first ever patchwork. It's nice to see some of my fabrics in it too.

Another Christmas present was a coffee cosy for my Dad which I was very pleased with as I only had the measurements to go from, designed it to fit his coffee pot and fussy cut the blue patches to match his kitchen/diner décor. The piecing was by hand, the pins had gone before I gave it to him and it's still in use every day.

Spot the fabric match with Rose's cushion

Even though this picture is disappointing dark (it was a dull day) you can see Rose's and my crazy cushions are the same design.

I hear there is another cushion in preparation too, can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My first proper paint effort

After some time dithering and a bit more practice on scraps, I decided the only thing was to go for it so I have painted the back of the folded patchwork cushion which I had already free motion quilted. I used a slightly furry roller, not the dense foam as recommended by Linda and Laura Kemshall because that seemed to give a to solid effect. It looks OK and doesn't obscure the nice purple fabric underneath. I don't quite get the point if the carefully chosen fabric gets obscured. Also I chose a fabric paint as that leaves the work softer to handle and washable unlike acrylics. A stiffer effect using acrylics has its place but not here. In my enthusiasm I didn't take a before picture, here is the after. The paint is silver though it looks gold on the photo.
Inspired by that, I had a go at the Beach Hut clouds using a white perle fabric paint and a bit of silver. This is still drying but I have hopes it will be OK, so far I like the subtle effect. None of them have been ironed to set the paint yet so there's still a way out!

Lastly I have undone the free motion bag with the raggy effect block assembly as I decided that I really didn't like that way round. It will be reassembled rights side out, raw edges on the wrong side and those edges maybe bound or just zig zagged. Back to the machine for the reconstruction

Monday, 5 September 2011

Paint Heaven

Thanks to Amanda of View From Our Hill I visited the Hand and Heart exhibition of painted quilts by Linda and Laura Kemshall at the Cynon Valley Gallery in Aberdare. If you are able to get there before it closes on Saturday Sept 10th DO GO.
It is magnificent and so inspirational. I bought the video and having studied it had my first go at painting  the clouds on beach huts. These need more work so I won't be putting them up yet.
Today, equipped with roller and fabric and acrylic paints I tried that technique on some reject, or as Amanda would say experimental, free motion samples. It's certainly not as easy as it looks to get even coverage but nothing is when you do it for the first time. Overall I'm pleased with the results. They highlight the quilting and improve the colours.It was a good course but the fabrics we bought to go with it weren't great - or maybe I'm fussy!

In my last blog I mentioned that god daughter Harriet had been making lovely little knitted dogs, the schnauzer was a hit with Sarah who has a real one.  Harriet's flying needles will be creating another soon with a red collar and black pads. She and my other god daughter sister Rose are both talented artists.

Last summer when I couldn't find a blind to match my new bathroom, Harriet spent the holidays before going up to uni painting me one. It was based on a landscape by Munsch (he of The Scream)  with fabric paints . I think it's really stunning. Even better, the bathroom is at the top the stairs so I can enjoy it ever time I go up them.
Now I have to decide whether to go back to the sewing machine or the paint pots, or maybe a cuppa?