Friday, 27 January 2012

The one where I go all squeaky about being in Issue 8 of Fat Quarterly …

So yes … I have a tutorial

for a lipsmackineasypeasyrawedgeappliquespoolblock sewing machine cover 

in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly … <-- it's out on Tuesday 31st if you're not already a subscriber.

I have to say, Issue 8 is truly fabtastic - the theme for the rest of the issue is foundation paper piecing. 

I mean.  Could I ask for more?  It's the one thing I really want to master or at least give a good try this year.  So many great ideas …This is a totally indispensable reference of foundation paper piecing inspiration; demystified just enough to make me feel I could attempt any of the projects.


Honestly, if you don't subscribe, do yourself a favour and just go for it!   I have made projects from every single issue I've had so far ..

... And if you do subscribe and you've already licked the screen several times since downloading, what do you think about foundation paper piecing now?  Inspired?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Resolved to Sew 2012

Have you seen the uber wonderful prizes that Ali at VeryBerryHandmade  has gathered for us this month?

Well, my fave is the £40 voucher from FancyMoonFabrics - it was the first place I ever bought fabric online and I still love it …

So, sewing resolutions, eh?  Just two really -

1. Start stuff that lets me practise 3 new (to me) skills.

 foundation piecing
I really want to master foundation paper piecing this year.  It's totally up my nerdy geeky street, but too often I find it difficult to clear my head of other things, so I just don't keep focus.

I did make a half-hearted attempt at a circle of geese template last year, but I got so confused that I just stomped off in a huff after only piecing one quarter! It pains me to see that this was nearly a year ago!

I really don't know why I have such an issue with the zips.  When I was in my teens I sewed in tons of zips.  I used to make my own clothes.  It's a skill I have absolutely replaced with fear and need to regain.

Yes, I have practised … but not enough.  I think I need to get Damiel out again for this one .. The Brother just isn't responsive enough for me.

2. Finish Stuff 

Luckily Rhonda at QuilterInTheGap is running a year-long Finish-Along to inspire and motivate us to finish stuff this year.  I don't usually have a lot of projects on the go at the same time, but somehow last year saw a few sneak into the basket.  

How to make the time?

1.  Spend less time aimlessly wandering around the interweb.
2.  Spend more time getting organised - I have a great year planner diary for blog posts and projects.
3.  Say yes to swaps that will allow me to practise new skills.
4.  Say no to swaps that tempt me just because I want to be part of the gang.
5.  Only join QALs if the finished project has a purpose/intended recipient.

I also want to make much more time for photography, painting, reading and seeing people, but small steps, small steps!

So, if you want a chance to win some amazing stuff, don't forget to zip over to VeryBerryHandmade - you don't have to have a blog to enter ... you can just leave a comment there!  Runs until 26th Jan ...

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The new mug rug? …

I'm currently giving house space to a very common cold that doesn't seem to take the hint that it's time to GO, so my head is really  not on tip top form, hence the lack of any posts, inspired sewing or searing wit lately … apologies … normal (sic) service will be resumed yada yada yada …

Anyway, with my runny nose and chapped lips I've had quite a full on relationship with loo roll this past week … What better project to celebrate this than Jane @ QuiltJane's fantastic Dress Up Your Loo Roll Competition!?

There's a wonderful $100 Gift Token from the The Fat Quarter Shop up for grabs … If you're baffled as to where to start (let's face it, who wouldn't be?) then Jane has posted a tute here to get your creative juices flowing … You've got until March 1st …

Loo roll covers.  The new mug rug?  Only time will tell.

I have been sewing a teensie bit, but it's been a labyrinthine project involving confusion, errors, despair, lack of confidence and now, finally, acceptance that what I see in my head does not necessarily come flowing naturally from my fingers.  Yes.  The Bletchley Quilt.  More another day.

Ooh … and don't forget …

Ali at VeryBerryHandmade is running a fab giveaway which starts tomorrow (Mon)  ...  There are going to be some fantabulous prizes!  ... 

Ta Ta for now … I'm taking to the sofa with an as yet unadorned loo roll and a Bette Davis movie …

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Om Nom Nom-inations …

Who is your favourite sewing blogger ??

The winner will receive a £50 certificate to spend at Backstitch!  Now, that's a nice nice prize …

Pop over here to the Sewing Directory, or here to Backstitch to nominate your fave for the year …

I found it pretty easy to get my top 10, but hard to cut it down to one!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

HOW many candles?

Beach Hut - Hove - 010112
Yes.  It's my birthday … And I'm 49.  And I'm okay with it.   I've seen friends hit 50 and shrink up to 4" overnight and sprout bunions.  And I already have bunions from my wild stiletto wearing teens and 20s … eep! …

But … this 49 thing feels lighter than I thought it would.  I like it ... I was impatient with 39 but I'm going to relish this year ...  Really I'm fine about ageing, other than for the fact that there comes a point when there's more sand in the bottom of the timer than in the top ... But that is the same for all of us, whether we know it or not.

I'd love to have seen this video when I was 22 (LOL - the very idea of a youtube back in 1985 ??!!) … It's based on a 1997 article, posing as a graduation speech, by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune,  which was made into this video by Baz Luhrmann  …

I go into my 50th year in the hope that it's not too late to act on some of this … or to pass it on to anyone else.  If you haven't seen this please watch through to the end ... forget all the schmaltzy stuff, the message is real and kind and something we should bear in mind more often ...

... every word is true ...

what advice would you give your 22 year old self?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

Resolved to Sew 2012 – Very Berry Handmade

Oooh ... if you're as cash poor, stash dwindled as I am following the whole Christmas palaver, then you might just be interested in this ...

Ali at VeryBerryHandmade is running a fab giveaway which starts next Monday 16th  ...  There are going to be some fantabulous prizes!  ... connected to your sewing resolutions for 2012 ... 

hmm ... thinking cap on ...

oooh ... must make thinking cap ...

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The new shopping …

I wanted to share this fantastic time lapse/tilt shift video made by a 13yr old boy in Brighton - It is a piece of beauty and soul. He's had to disable comments on his vimeo page!  Go yoof! 

Go full screen! and enjoy the 45,000 still shots that created this amazing 'day in Brighton'.

Sometimes I feel like I'm falling out of love with Brighton and then I actually go and wander around or see something like this and realise how very much I still love it ...

My 365 meme today was 'favourite' so I thought I'd feature the fleamarket I love. which is tucked away in a Upper Gardner Street in Brighton.

Favourite - Photo-A-Day - 7:365

I also decided to flesh out the post here at Pings, as it's got gratuitous pictures of thread and fabric in it, and only a few brave people are looking at my 365 project ... not a whinge .. just sayin ... 


I love this place … It is absolutely choccabloc with dusty, touchable stuff.
It smells wonderful!


I buy my bags of 'vintage' {= old} cottons there … On a Saturday, Upper Gardner Street also has a fantastic bric-a-brac, local produce, bits and bobs market …


This is where my wonderful linen man sometimes hangs out … not today though …


His pitch 'neighbour' … is it his brother? I don't know, really not sure, I always mistake one for the other they are so alike but that might just be my fabric association neurons gone wild! … has wonderful vintage French linens, trimmings, ribbons, bolt ends of savile row pinstripes, bakelite stag and boar buttons … oh bsmbh …

… such fun to look (but not buy - photos are the new shopping this year … )


Look at that yummy bishop's-purple grosgrain ribbon … he had wide blanket binding satin in the same colour too … *sigh

What is your favourite thing to do on a Saturday? 

… keep it clean now …

… or not …

Thursday, 5 January 2012

BeanBag Reader/iPad/Tablet rest - Tutorial

I needed a super quick project for something to make my 8" tablet a little more upright on

(a) my work table for reading blogs/tutorials/Fat Quarterly and 
(b) my knees when reading in bed.

I have always had a problem reading in bed - I fall asleep pretty quickly.  Even when I've just woken up and try to have a little quiet time before getting up for work!
So, I made myself a little pyramid bean bag and filled it with some out-of-date couscous I had knocking about at the back of the cupboard.

I added a few drops of lavender and rosemary essential oils to the (dry!) couscous - they are both relaxing smells for me, but the rosemary is to aid concentration, in the hope that I can stay awake that little bit longer!

I used to thin my oil paints with oil of spike lavender - I could work for hours with really good focus and concentration and my flat wasn't overcome by turpentine vapours. 

No wonder all those Victorian lady painters used it! I have to say that my sitting room smelled delicious all day and I managed to maintain focus long enough to re-organise my sewing space (again!) and do a lot of cleaning and tidying.  Win Win.

Anyway … if you'd like to make one it's easy peasy …

upside downside mosaic

I just used a scrap of Echino I had left over from my upside downside journal/tablet cover  … (still going strong since April - I think I'll do a tute!)

My scrap was 12" by 12" which was perfect, as my tablet is 8" x 6".

Please note - these measurements will NOT be big enough for an iPad rest … you need to have at least the width and height of what you want to prop up!

If you want to make one for your iPad I suggest you start off with a 14" or 15" square.

tablet rest

It's very easy … fold your square in half and sew up 1 long & 1 short side …   Fill  with rice or beans or sand or diamonds (about 2/3 - you can pin it and play a bit to get the right degree of squidge … fold top edge in by 1/4" and THEN squeeze the opening to bring your side seam to the middle, pin and stitch across the top.


If you have a microwave (and were to use wheat or rice not stale couscous!) I guess this would double as a heat relief pack too!  It was wonderful next to my pillow -  the lavender was oh so calming, and YES I did manage to read for a whole hour before crashing out!

IMG_1354To get the best angle of 'prop' pick the bag up by two corners and shake contents down … then place on table, lap etc. with emptyish portion closest to you and nestle tablet into place … woot!!

This project took about 20 mins start to finish (including pics) so why not have a go?...  if you make one, do post your finished attempts in the Pings Flickr tutorials group!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Filling in the Gaps - 2012 Finish-A-Long

Have you been to Rhonda's space over at Quilter in the Gap?  She's started a great,
year-long-yet-manageable-in-quarterly-sized-chunks, initiative … The Finish-A-Long.

Yes ladies (and gents) it's a great idea to motivate us to finish all those WIPs and WIPs-to-be … there'll be …  p r i z e s … *squeeeee … All you have to do is write a pre- and post-quarter post with your WIPs and progress that quarter and ching ching … in you go to the draw for some amazing stuff!

So, without further ado … These are my top finish/start items for this quarter …

1. Bletchley Park Quilt …
eek … I've got less than a month to complete this and this is as far as I've got …

Bletchley Park Quilt - WIP
I've cut, but not stitched, the applique pieces for the central window pane … I've practised, but not continued to actually make, prairie points for the flying geese border … I've agonised and faffed about and now this has got to STOP and some in the zone time has got to START!

If you haven't got a clue what all this is for, pop over here and you'll be all the wiser.

2. My second WIP is a tutorial for my twister mat cat bed … nearly there …


3.  My next WIP is not even IP yet.  Let's just call it a W.  It was inspired by my choices for the Fat Quarter Shop Blogger's choice challenge over at Quokka's Quilts.  I realised that I already had a variation of what I'd picked!  Well, the Timeless Treasures Sketch fabrics and a handful of Kate Spain Terrain.  I'm going to go back and delete my original choice and replace it if I get the time!!

It's going to involve the little stack you can see in the back of the last pic … that's all I can say … Not because it's for any secret squirrel project, just because I'm still deciding…


I'll be adding to this modest list of WIPs, no doubt!

Is anyone else playing along with Rhonda? What do you think I should do with that yummy stack?  The base fabric is a wonderful pale turquoise linen ...

Something I adore …

If you look in the 'pages' bar under the header you'll see that I've added a link to my more photo-y blog, The Daily Meniscus - I've had this blog for years but have mainly used it for teaching.  I've always loved the header I designed for it, so I decided to delete all the old stuff and give it a little frolic in the paddock for 2012.

It serves a jolly good purpose because (a) I don't want to dilute either one of my hobbies by lumping them together too much and I like things neatly in boxes (b) I'm sure that there are some of you who don't want to read my photo ramblings and just want to see my sporadic sewing attempts!

I'm taking part in Chantelle @ Fat Mum Slim's fab Photo-A-Day meme/prompty thing
Today's prompt is "Something You Adore" … The wind and rain are so vicious outside that I was tempted to take a picture of my sofa, frankly.  But you'll have to go and see what I decided on … and why, indeed it's called The Daily Meniscus ...

Anyway, if you think you would like to read me rambling about stuff other than sewing, and want to see my photo for today or my writey-piccy 365 project they'll be there not here.  No doubt I'll still bang on about it over here a bit too!

Please bookmark or subscribe in your readers if you like what you see … it would be lovely to have you visit me … Or when you read something here, just click on the link at the top of the page to go see what's going on over there

Meanwhile, I've got lots going on here too .. stay tuned! …

Sunday, 1 January 2012

on the bus in the rain on the first day of a new year

Another attempt at a 365 project.

This year I'm simplifying things and putting them into a 365 collection on flickr 

on the bus in the rain on the first day of a new year by Sarah @ pingsandneedles
on the bus in the rain on the first day of a new year, a photo by Sarah @ pingsandneedles on Flickr.


The bus smelled like a damp slightly musty teatowel, the way the old slam door trains used to smell in winter ... wrong but nice.

2011? Tick! .... Fresh Sewing for 2012

Fresh Sewing Day

I'm linking up with Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts today ...

I wasn't going to do a review of my sewing stitchy piccy year, but I'm really posting this to remind myself that even when I look back at 2011 and all I see is a totally ghastly year, there were some good things that came from it!  Not least the community and support from all of you lovely people :)

This year really was full of sewing and learning for me.  Well, the first half and then the last month, to be more accurate.  Work got the better of me, as well as ill health, so creative productivity crawled to a halt some time in September.  But, that said, I think I made some good stuff this year, amongst some not so good stuff, and all the unstarted stuff in my head. 

Clicking on any of the pics will take you to the flickr set and links to tutes etc.

I wrote some tutorials: One for Lily's Quilts Hexalong, three for Accuquilt Go! Baby, and one for the Fat Quarterly Designer's Challenge!  Woot!

tutorials 2011

I took part in some great swaps - Make Mine Modern, For the Love of Solids, DQS10 and Brit Quilt Swap.

I love swaps … they allow me to practise new techniques. 

Recently Updated2

BritQuilt Swap - Regina Phalange Received!! Yay!

I received such delightful wonderful things in my swaps - thank you to all you lovely people who make things for other people (you can see them in the bottom of the booth shots for each swap). 

My favourite quilt this year? … Lynne @ Lily's Quilts wonderful Angel Quilt for the Brit Quilt Swap!

Charley Harper

I discovered that
I really enjoy embroidery and applique! 

Who knew?

I hosted some great giveaways & the Japanese Scrap Bag Challenge, with help from Melody Miller, Backstitch, The Eternal Maker and Accuquilt - thank you so much!

Ooh, and you all got to interview Melody Miller! 
How cool was that?!!

I only made three full size quilts this year !! One of them was for ME!  I love my Ruby Star Spring quilt more than anything I've ever made … I also made Pingwheels of My Mind for my niece and a giant Lynne Bob Square Pants for my auntie … I practised HSTs like there was no tomorrow … I'm almost ready to make some more … almost!
I played with photography a bit too … there were some great opportunities, like the Zombie Walk in Brighton, and White Night, as well as just everyday moments to capture.  I also re-homed a new cat, Kitsune/Manny - a wild tearabout of a Maine Coon.  I bear the scars.
Zombies, White Night, Summer, Kitsune

And, as ever, I start 2012 with a trio of WIPs!  The orange tree is nearly finished, the Gentleman's Relish quilt is shelved until I can get some more grey linen (I busted it on lapkins!) and my beloved Bletchley Quilt - only 4 weeks until the deadline!  Eeek!
orange tree, gentleman's relish, bletchley
So, that's an end to the self-indulgence!
Today is the first of a new year, so there are creative and living and loving and photographic opportunities to grasp with both hands … 

Wishing you all 366 (!!!!) days of happy crafting ahead …

Don't forget to check out Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts


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