Friday 31 December 2010

I have always delighted in the kindness of strangers*

*with apologies to Tennessee Williams

Look at this - a wonderful surprise popped through my letterbox this morning!  Mary at Molly Flanders sent me this fabulous dresden plate cushion cover/pillow sham!  And I was far too excited to give it a quick press, as per Mary’s instructions, sorry!


Oh Mary, it’s just perfect.  Have you got a spy-cam in my sitting room or what?


Look how it nestles perfectly into this corner,
as if it had truly come home.


Thank you so so much.  It was the perfect gift and a lovely way to start my New Year … more of that later!

Thursday 30 December 2010

Looks like I’ll be dining on scraps for a while …

Angela over at Cut to Pieces has come up with a wonderful challenge for the first two months of the coming year … Total Abstention from fabric buying (with a whole load of riders from Lynne - just read the comments on this post it’s truly fab …)

I’m in.  

Not because I have too much fabric.  One can NEVER have too much fabric, right?  But because I really do need to buy things like lightbulbs and loo paper occasionally.  Or maybe go out for a meal once in a while.  It’s all about priorities.  2011 is about being a little more balanced.

I also think that I’d like to try to put a little money aside each week JUST for buying a little fabric bundle sometime in March as a reward.

If you sign up with Angela, there are incentives … each week that you’ve been abstemious you are entered into a little giveaway for some of her clearout stash… so get on over there and sign up!

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Christmas? Tick.

Well, now all those spoonfuls of Christmas pudding have been tucked away under an ever-groaning waistband, the the last scraps of hastily ripped wrapping paper recycled, and the joys of British Rail endured for the return journey … I’m back!

I can’t say that Christmas was a barrel of laughs, my brother’s absence was so very deeply felt, as was the pain in my bloomin ribs, so I’m sure I was the most perfect house guest ever - NOT!  

I peeled some spuds but that was about it as far as my contribution went.  That was the worst part for me, but in the great scheme of things not that important, really.  What was important was that we were all together, safe and warm, to enjoy each other's company and to remember with love those who weren't there.

IMG_0793echino patchwork
IMG_0902ruby star rising
DSC00836-118th birthday

But, all the quilts I made for presents went down brilliantly well, so I’m really pleased about that … all that late night agonisingly basting was so so worth it!

Better still - look what was waiting on my doorstep!  My Secret Santa Swap with Stefy from ilcastelloincantatato in Italy …

santa swap 2010

Along with a sweet little card, Stefy sent me the most fantastic hunky chunk of parmesan cheese, some cinnamon, deliciously brick-like torrone, a little crimbo tree, two chocolate santas (one was horridly injured in transit) some Christmas fabric and a lovely selection of herby fruity teas.

I’d sent Stefy some chocolate in the colours of Italy’s flag, a festive mug rug, some homemade apple, chilli & sage jelly, some fabric and a little packet of yummy gingerbread … (I love how Stefy’s already snaffled most of it!)

I had started to wonder if I hadn’t had a partner at all - but it was the Post Office in the UK to blame, as per usual - they’d delivered it to the wrong address and then the snow had delayed it further … grrr … 

Anyway Stefy - thank you :)  It was a most welcome gift.  

Now to catch up on the pile of presents awaiting me in my Reader! 

Thursday 23 December 2010

… He Sees You When You’re Sewing …

So, nearly there on the Christmas front - just putting the binding on this little lovely - a present for my nephew Oliver’s 18th birthday, which is on Christmas Day!  He has Down Syndrome so I’m hoping that this isn’t too babyish for him, as at heart he’s just a little boy of 8 really.  


This is the first year he’ll experience Christmas and a Birthday without his Daddy, so I thought he needed a little something to cuddle up to at night.  Oliver’s favourite colours are red and white, and I’ve added a couple of Christmassy bits in too, along with two embroidered panels.

It’s hand tied (no way I can spend too much time on the machine with these ribs!) with red and white embroidery thread - but there’s a little surprise … the white thread GLOWS IN THE DARK!!  So he’ll see little glowing tuftiness while he’s going to sleep.

The pieced patches take their inspiration from Elizabeth Hartman’s Crazy Lattice tutorial at Oh Fransson! The old ribs suffered a bit with all the cutting involved, and the old head suffered a bit with the seam matching, but I think it was worth it!

So, that about wraps it up really for this festive season.  I’ll be spending spend time with my family over the next few days, so will be otherwise occupied stuffing my face with turkey and vegging out to the Dr Who Christmas Special - yay!

Thank you all for your support and humour since this little blog started back in August. I wish you all, my new bloggy chums and your families,  a happy and heartwarming Christmas, and see you soon …


Tuesday 21 December 2010


Well, the perfect end to a shoddy year really - on Friday night I slipped down the snowy/icy steps of the Grand Hotel in Brighton (maybe a little the worse for wine, I grant you) and promptly fractured two ribs and bruised my collar bone … grrr …

If any of you have experienced this you will know just how painful it is, and how completely useless any pain meds are, really.

Ne’er mind eh?  I’ve still managed to finish the Ruby Star Rising & Andover quilt - I used my favourite Michael Miller TaDot for the sashing …  Talk about gritted teeth …


… words can’t express how painful the basting was!!


but the hand tying and binding were fun - it took my mind off stuff pain and I did it in bed!


It’s backed with a fantastically soft brushed cottony retro swimmers print - it’s for someone who swims a lot!


Apologies for out of focus pics, but my camera hand is not that steady!

gotta love how some of the hand tying looks like under-arm hair! oops …


Anyway, I’m really pleased I’ve finished it in time for tomorrow when I’ll see the lucky recipient - I love it.

I’ve started another - for my nephew - but I’m not sure if I can finish it in time … I’ll show you a peek tomorrow :)

So, all of you out there - if there’s any snow about - be careful!  Rib damage seriously curtails crafting! 

Thursday 16 December 2010

Giveaway - Winner!

Hey chaps, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get round to drawing the lucky winner, but the last couple of weeks of term are always a bit full on, and I’m still suffering from the mystery headache lurgy, so have just been concentrating on getting my marking finished and some Christmas gifts made.  

But today I took a breath.

So, first off - what do you win?  

Well … thanks for asking, good question.  This little lot!


1. This fantastic panel from the Andover collection I won from I’m a Ginger Monkey’s Technicolour Yawn giveaway - oh the applique potential! & a little bit of golfing ribbon (so fab)


2. A fat quarter from the Sarah Fielke giveaway
3. 2 tiny scraps of Melody Miller’s ruby star rising
AND … 

4. This little Brighton Boudoir mug rug that I’ve made specially (hence the long delay! LOL) using a transfer of one of my Brighton prints on calico, some luxurious satin ribbon and Sarah Fielke fabric.  It looks nicer in the flesh I think, but on reflection it is a bit frou-frou!


What’s that?   Oh, sorry, you want to know who won?

Well … the nice computer at generator chose …

Capture… which is nice and easy because that’s YOU Teresa - who had a corking worst present ever:
The worst present I've ever received was a kind of bottle filled with water with a bird inside.The bird would sing whenever you clapped your hands. Awful.

So, congratulations Teresa (I have no email address or link for you, so please get in touch - I'll leave it a week or so and then re-draw if necessary) ...

... and commiserations and thank you for taking part to everyone else - but have no fear there’ll be another giveaway to see out 2010 and see in 2011, that’s for sure.

Enjoy your weekends folks - it's our staff party tomorrow - Wahoo!!

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Echino Patchwork Quilt? Tick!

I’m so excited to finally show you my first ever machine pieced quilt - using 4 fat quarters of Echino Patchwork & some Kona solids!

echino quilt

This lap quilt is a Christmas gift for my very best friend who, in the last two months, has lost her husband, her mother and her two dogs … I reckoned she really needed something bright and jewel-like to snuggle up on the sofa with, and she is one very classy lady, so I think the Echino is the perfect choice !

echino quilt detail

--- Whoops!  I forgot to take a picture of the back this morning, so apologies for the dark inside shot … but here goes … 


Now, this would be a very picture heavy post were it not for the fact that I’ve documented the whole process on a new page at the top of this blog … Echino - Quilting As Therapy III … Please click the link if you’d like to see more …

Monday 13 December 2010

No-one puts Baby in a Corner

I knew things were finally getting back to normal in the P&N household when I found myself indulging in a spot of furniture shuffling at 2am!  

I haven’t done this in a while but I was getting really cramped in this little corner which I claimed back in July  …  Ah look, there’s Mrs Singer before she had her breakdown …

Now, I’m luxuriating here, on the other side of the room!


I popped up the other leaf of my wonderful junk shop £20 table … and now … I’m vay vay happy!


Hmmm … that Tesco carrier bag lining the wastepaper basket is especially fetching, dontcha think?

So, time to play along with Sophie @ Her Library Adventures today and zoom in on the tree a bit …


This is my little (black) Christmas tree.  Usually adorned with miniature birds and tiny glass baubles, but this year … HEXIES! 

Oh yes … and attached with the humble safety pin … Ta-Da!

Do join in the fun and have a look here at the other trees …

Sunday 12 December 2010

Sunday Stash - RUN DMC

This hand quilting lark means my original embroidery thread stash, from since I was a teenager, has dwindled to practically nuffink.

It’s actually pretty much a 50-50 split between DMC and Anchor.  I don’t have a preference unless it’s concerning richness of colour.  To generalise massively, I think DMC does wonderful warm tones and Anchor is the king of cools.  

I really wanted to buy Perle thread - with a twist in it - but it is so hard to get here in Brighton and I was too impatient to wait for an e-bay mission. Next year.

I also splashed out the princely sum of £1 on some cardboard bobbins- I know I could have printed out a template and cut them all out and so on, but 

A. I don’t have a printer at home*
*part of my green kick - I use about 80% less paper than when I did have one - and I really don’t notice the difference much.  My classes are paperless too.  Bit rum considering I have such a rampant stationery fetish!  

B. This is not the time to be doing that kind of stuff


I tried using a plastic winder but it was unbelievably useless, like a cheap Christmas cracker novelty … prob on account of the fact that it was incredibly cheap. 

So I spent about a year and a half bloody hours winding it all onto the spools.

It was worth it


love these fab new satin threads which are way shiny

… probably best for single strand work perhaps?!


shininess best seen with flash

… a little colour goes a long way to cheering up a dull winter’s morning.  Oh yes. 

Just imagine what life would be like without it?

… Imagine too, if you will, what life would have been like without  Run DMC. Aerosmith and Walk This Way - I dare you not to smile and maybe even rock out a bit. 

Enjoy your Sunday :)

Thursday 9 December 2010

Icy Mornings in Brighton

… from the tops of my poor flowerpots 


beautiful, eh?


this morning there was another to join it:


so, we may not have a scrap of snow, but we jolly well ain’t above freezing yet! brrr … 

As I left for work this morning I found three black woolly gloves in my coat pocket.  Had me worried for a split second that I'd lost a hand overnight ... hmmm ... think I need a nap ....

Wednesday 8 December 2010

My Creative Space - Take Me Home

take me home

Here’s something that floats my pay-it-forward boat muchly … The Toy Society.

A movement that started as a little street art project in Australia (and is now international) The Toy Society operates on a beautifully simple premise: make a toy, put it in a bag with a note saying “Take Me Home, I’m Yours” and then leave it somewhere out in the big wide world for someone to pick up and, well, take home. 

I love it for its randomness and for the fact that it’s not through a blog (although you know I love a giveaway!) it’s out there … where random acts of kindness are oh so welcome.  It’s a way to rejoice in our humanity, rather than feeling ashamed of it, as we so often do.

Dropped: Newport Restaurant, Broomfield, CO USA
Number of toys:1
Made by: decapod
Dropped by: decapod
When: Nov 28 2010
And decapod says: corduroy double-headed tiger inspired by Chinese toys,
left in a stone lion outside of the restaurant

What I really really love it for, is that it is NOT seasonal.  It operates all the year round.  Even so, I've just signed up and I'm going to do some now.  What the heck! I thought I'd make one to cheer up my fellow teachers at work perhaps? ...  just nonchalantly leave something in the staffroom?

Which leads me to my real "creative space" for this week ... it's in my bonce, not my viewfinder I'm afraid ... 

I know we are all focusing on Christmas and our loved ones right now, but I want to plan for something fun to do early in our shiny new year of 2011. Start how I mean to go on. 

Once all this 'ere festive stuff is done and dusted, I’d love to run a Toy Society inspired swap in early January -  If we all made something, swapped it and then left our partner’s gift somewhere near where we lived, it could be kinda cool?   

I'd like to open it up to include gifts for grown-ups too ... so you could just leave a pincushion, or a teatowel, or a toy ...

What do you think?  Fancy a flickr swap in January? We could spread the lurrrrve? Please take a few seconds to leave your thoughts … there's a poll right at the top of the page, on the right - I'd love to know ... 

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Another quilt? Have you ANY idea what you’re doing?

Eeeeek!! I don’t know … It just kind of happened …

Imagine!  It’s just like the old buses adage - you wait for ages and then three come along at the same time!  

So, while I’m procrastinating wildly over the binding on the echino quilt, I’ve cut, and am now putting together, the blocks for this one.  

I wanted to prove to myself that I could make something fab out of the few remaining ruby star rising scraps Melody Miller sent me … I thought it would be cool to mix them with some of the Andover fabrics that I won from I’m A Ginger Monkey … 

The colours are bolder and more blocky to give the whole thing (with any luck) a strict graphic theme and tie those wildly different fabrics together.
Even back in October I never ever really thought that I would make a quilt using yer actual sewing machine; I’m just so delighted that I have learnt enough to even consider giving it a go, and then trying another one to learn more!  

I’m not up to learning the whole machine quilting at this stage, no time - am making presents after all! -  so this one will also be tied, and then big basic long stitch sashiko style quilted, with embroidery thread.  I like it.  I like the way the rigid machine sewing perfection is broken up by my sometimes wonky hand-stitching on the echino:


One day soon I’ll give the machine quilting a go, i.e. when it doesn't have to get wrapped up and given to someone else, but for the moment I’m really excited to be doing something using plains, prints, measuring, cutting and sewing!  All my crafting phobias in one! Muhwahhah ...

Phew!  And to think you lot out there in the Blogolopolis can all just whip up a quilt in a weekend ?  Ha ha ha … Sorry, let’s be more festive … Ho Ho Ho! I've got lots to look up to :)

… don’t forget -  click on the pic to enter my giveaway - I’ll post pictures of watchageddin tomorrow …

Sunday 5 December 2010

Sunday Evening Bliss

Following a weekend of mega marking and a lovely lunch out today with old friends I haven’t seen in a long, long while, this is where you will find me this evening: 


… snug in my sitting room, finishing off the hand quilting on the Echino Patchwork quilt, listening to a play on the radio, cup of coffee by my side.



What was your bliss this weekend?

source unknown   

… p.s. click on the pic to enter my giveaway

100th Post/Pay it Forward/Christmas Giveaway -

source unknown

--edit-- Something went wrong with this post, so I'm reposting - apologies if you've already seen it!! - I've also simplified the entry ... heh heh heh ... 

Okay - Now, much as I’d love to, I can’t give you all Christmas presents.  But what I can do is give everyone an equal chance to win one!

For this giveaway I’m going to include a little something of each fabric that has come to me since I started blogging: 

- a FQ from Sarah Fielke’s giveaway 

- a FQ of the Andover fabric and a piece of ribbon I won from I’m a Ginger Monkey ’s Technicolour Yawn giveaway

- some scraps of Melody Miller ’s ruby star rising 

-  I’m also going to make a little secret something too  (I’ll try to make sure it’s not too bin-worthy!)

- and a couple of other bits and bobs

I'll post some pics tomorrow ...

Read on to see how to win!


Now, I loved the weather report comments from my snow post -  

This is what Janet @ Caribou Crossing wrote - I think it reads like a poem: 

Here in Yukon it's about -25 C and supposed to get colder. We've had snow storms for the last two days so we have a great blanket on the ground. Days are short, there is lots of cloud and little sun. Three more weeks until the Solstice, then we have the return of the light.

… it’s amazing how much you can express in a few sentences …  
So, in order to qualify for my last giveaway of 2010 please spread the word by blogging about it ( - and telling me here - ONE entry) 

Then, for another THREE possible entries you could leave ONE comment for each of the following:

1. The best gift you have ever given

2. The best gift you have ever received

3.  The worst gift you have ever received and secretly re-gifted or binned - (names can be changed to protect identity!)

- one sentence, three paragraphs, a whole post of your own - it doesn’t matter.  I know you’re all busy, but kick back for a couple of minutes and reflect a while! 

All followers (I really dislike that word) by the closing date of December 10th, who have entered above, will also receive an additional entry.

Good Luck!


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