Monday, December 17, 2007

Two small finishes

I have a couple of small finishes to share this time that I haven't been able to show until now. They were made as little gifts and are now with their new owners.
First is A Rosey Year scissor fob by Shepherds's Bush. I thought this was perfect for Francoise who adores all things pink :)
It's very small so you'll probably see it better if you click on the picture for a better view.
Next is a small pincushion from the Blackbird Designs book A Needle and Thread.
Heidi has a love of the countryside and somehow this little bird seemed just right for her.
I tea dyed the trim on the pincushion because I couldn't find any that was not garish in colour and I used fabric from the Blackbird Designs Sweet Romance line to back it.
This will probably be my last post this year as we leave for UK on Thursday 20th and will not return to Spain until 1st January.
Before I go I want to thank each and every one of you for your wonderful friendship and for all the nice comments you've left on my blog. Blogging wouldn't be any fun at all without YOU so thanks for stopping by.
I wish everyone all the very best for the holiday season. Good health and happiness in 2008 and above all a productive year whatever your chosen crafts.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My first quilt top finished!

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything. It's not that I'm not busy making things - just that they can't be shown here. Hopefully after Christmas I'll be able to share lots of pictures.
One thing I can show is my very first quilt top.
The block design is the Goshen Star from Quilters Cache and the fabrics are by Thimbleberries. The background is from the Sedona Skies range and the red is from Circle of Love.
I still need to add borders and then the fun of sandwiching the quilt together etc. I'm going to need a lot of help! It's all new to me so it'll be a while before you see the finished product. It's already taken me a year to get this far!
Another thing I finished recently is a crochet afghan in pineapple stitch. This took about a year as well but only because I was stuck on the pattern instructions for the last two border rows. I finally got it figured out and now the afghan is ready for chilly winter nights in front of the TV.
The last thing I have to show you is the contents of a little package I received from Domy in France.
I never cease to be amazed at the kindness of other bloggers.
Domy had seen my last post where I mentioned making the finished Home Sweet Home design into a pillow. She thought she had the perfect fabric for it and she certainly did!
She not only sent the fabric but a gorgeous little fob she'd made that is the perfect size for my needle threader together with a postcard showing me where she lives.
The best part was that the envelope was decorated all over with artwork and the cutest little message from her ten year old daughter Clara.
Thank you so much Domy and Clara :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I seem to have less and less to post about just lately due to the fact that Christmas is coming and a lot of what I'm doing will be for gifts.
I finished this Home Sweet Home piece by Country Cottage Needleworks a few weeks ago but have only just gotten around to taking a picture.
I used the recommended mix of Crescent Colours and DMC threads. Sorry I don't remember what fabric it is.
The scissor fob is from Mary Kathryn and the mother of pearl thread holder is by Vikki Clayton and available at her website for the grand total of 0.25 cents each!
The colours in this piece are very pink. I plan to turn it into a pillow eventually once I have found just the right fabrics.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Postcards from Spain

This post has no sewing or stitching content but is for those of my friends who enjoy seeing the different areas of Spain that we visit.
A few weeks ago we went on a short six day break to Salamanca, a city in Western Spain that dates back to pre Roman times.
The city lies on a plateau by the Tormes River, which is crossed by a bridge of Roman origin.
The Plaza Mayor is the central square in the city. It has a capacity of 20,000 people and was originally a venue for bullfights but is currently used primarily for concerts. The plaza is regarded as one of the finest squares in Europe.
Among the many tourist attractions we visited was the University of Salamanca which was founded in the year 1218. Many people continue to come from all parts of Spain to study at the University, and the students represent a high percentage of the city's population.
We also visited the old Romanesque cathedral which was founded in the 12th century and the adjoining new cathedral which was built from 1509 and was still being finished in 1734. In the treasury is the bronze crucifix that was carried into battle before El Cid.
Another must see is the House of Shells which was constructed during the 15th century. In total, there are approximately 400 shells on the exterior of the building. I don't know what it was used for way back when but these days the building is a public library.
Another place we visited was Segovia which is situated about an hour north of Madrid.
I think this was probably my most favourite place. It has a famous Roman aqueduct that is an engineering marvel of 166 arches and 120 pillars in two levels. It is made of 20,400 large, rough-hewn granite blocks, joined without mortar or clamps.
It was built to bring water from 15km away. Amazing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A few pumpkin themed finishes.

The last few cross stitch things I finished have been under wraps while I was waiting for them to be received by the person I stitched them for.
I'm happy to say they have arrived at their destination so I'm now able to show them here.
The first one is Just Nan Autumn in the Square finished as a pinkeep. I had originally finished it as a flat fold but my flat fold making skills were not up to the mark and I wasn't happy with the way it looked.
I spent a week or more tweaking it here and there until finally I could stand it no more and took it apart to start over.
I didn't care for the visions charm I had purchased with the chart so I substituted a little squirrel charm instead.
The second piece is one of the JBW French Country series stitched using Carrie's Threads Caribou Hyde. I substituted the alternative French wording for pumpkin and finished it off as a flanged pillow using the same fabric I used to back the pinkeep.
I passed the chart for the JBW piece on to Nadine so over to you Nadine - I shall expect to see your interpretation of this chart soon :)
Lastly, a little scissor keeper by the Drawn Thread using DMC threads.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I made an apron!

I spent the best part of today making an apron as I'd (rather rashly) signed up to do an apron exchange a few weeks ago with my quilting group.
Although I enjoyed sewing when my kids were small the only apron I've ever made was at school when we had to sew our cookery aprons and matching caps :)
I'd emailed my apron partner for her preferences but didn't get a reply so I just did my own thing basing the design loosely on a pattern I'd seen in one of the Australian Patchwork and Stitching magazines.
I did the stitchery using white Kona Snow fabric with two strands DMC 797.
The fabric is from one of the Mary Engelbreit lines. I had enough fabric left over and would have loved to have made a matching potholder but didn't have the special insulated wadding needed to make it heat resistant.
I really enjoyed making the apron and now I want to make one for my daughter using this cute cupcake fabric I've seen on eBay.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Five Star Mail Day

Those of you that know me well will have often heard me bemoaning the mail situation here and how I can go for a week or more without getting so much as a bill.
Not that I want bills but for someone who relies heavily on buying on the Internet waiting for those all important packages to finally be delivered is frustrating.
Today, however, I hit the jackpot! I received a whole bunch of packages and here's what was in some of them.
First up was a package from Christine in Canada
A short while ago Christine had made some mug coasters and I was one of the lucky five to receive a coaster for leaving a comment on her blog.
Christine had wrapped my coaster into the prettiest little package using some Amy Butler fabric (one of my favourite fabric lines) and she had tied it up with the most beautiful hand dyed silk ribbon.
As well as my coaster there were six more that Christine had sent along to donate to my quilt group fundraiser which is to be held next month in aid of Breast Cancer research.
Four of the coasters are in Christmas prints and the other two are done in pink ribbon prints. I really wish you could see these as each one has a Canadian 25 cent piece with the pink ribbon logo on it and these are in tiny little net bags attached to the coaster with ribbon. I know these are going to go like hot cakes!
Some other things in the package were a pack of machine needles for quilting, some green tape (not sure what that's for Christine) a skein of DMC Colour Variations thread, a quilting magazine and more yummy Amy Butler fabric.
Wow! That package was definitely worth waiting for :)
In another package were two patterns that I sent for from Buttonberry Stitches in UK. I usually buy just about everything online from the USA but the girls at Buttonberry are so helpful I was happy to pay a little more just to give them the business. I received a stitchery pattern pack for a drawstring bag by Australian designer Gail Pan and an apron pattern by Vanilla House.
The Buttonberry girls have also ordered in a couple of Cinderberry Stitches patterns especially for me and I can't wait for those to arrive.
On to the next package........I had ordered some Carrie's Threads in her sale and hmmmm, I'm not sure about how much I love these. It's my own fault as they were grab bags. I think I'll use them but I don't think I need to buy any more. It makes more sense to pay a little more for something you really love.
On to the next package which contained two of the wonderful Australian quilting magazines that I won on eBay and finally, another small package containing some Thimbleberries charm squares that were done as swaps with an online quilt group.
Now that's what I call a five star mail day!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mail Sent - Mail Received

I think all of us that do crafts enjoy exchanges. There's nothing quite like receiving a package that you know came from a stitchy friend whether it's cross stitch, quilting or whatever.
Today I'm showing you pictures of a mail art envelope I did as an exchange with my friend Angela in UK.
Sadly, it looks as though the envelope has been lost in the mail as Angela never received it but she has asked to see it so here it is.
The pictures show the envelope front, the envelope back and for inside I stitched a pinkeep with a mermaid on the front and Angela's initial on the back.
The stitching is done on 32 ct antique white linen using two strands of Vikki Clayton's hand dyed silk in Garnet.
I'm really sad that this exchange went so sadly wrong but that's the risk we take when we send things like this through the mail.
On a happier not I want to show you a fabric postcard that I received from my friend Christine in Canada.
Christine knows how much I love mermaids and wow, isn't this a beauty?
Click on the picture for a better view of the gorgeous sparkly threads and crystals that are on her belly, forehead and on the crest of the waves.
Christine is so talented. I'd love it if some of you went over there to check out her work and please, please leave her a comment as it sometimes seems there is only me visiting there.

My Favourite Things

Whenever I see the words "you've been tagged" I go all shy and run and hide for a few days but Heidi tagged me for my favourite things and this time I've decided to be brave and just do it.

Sound – That would have to be the sound of the ocean. I love to hear waves crashing on rocks or even just a gentle lapping as I sit dreaming in a deckchair at the waters edge. The sound is mesmerizing and very soothing to me.

Late Night Snack – A bowl of cornflakes with cold milk is good!

Smell – Impossible to choose just one......newly mown grass, bread from the oven, scented candles, new books, freshly ground coffee, honeysuckle and roses...........

Color Combination – Pinks/browns/beige/soft green

Nut – Almonds grow everywhere here in Spain and I love them.

Time of Year – Spring

Books – What Katy Did was my favourite childhood book. These days my favourite author is Jodie Picault. I love to browse quilting books especially those by Thimbleberries.

Female Actress – British actress Helen Mirren

Flower – Stargazer Lily

Vacation Spot – It doesn't get any better than where I am right now here in Spain but my childhood holidays were spent at Bamburgh in Northumberland. See pictures at the top of this post.

The area is now owned by the National Trust and is totally unspoiled.
If you're interested to learn more go to

Pizza – Keep it simple. I hate pizza with too many toppings. Margarita is good and it's named for me :)

Subject in School – English was my best - math my worst

TV Channel – Any that might have a good period drama on it.

Radio Station – I love to listen to Country music

Holiday - Christmas, of course!

Perfume – Este Lauder Knowing

Shoes - I've never been an Imelda Marcos type shoe collector. I have one pair of boots, one pair of good shoes and assorted casual shoes.
Shoes are manufactured in this area and are very cheap to buy on the markets.

Candy – Thornton's Continental chocolates.

City to Shop – There's not much shopping here where I live but I used to love to go to York in UK each year for Christmas shopping.

Beauty Products – I've used Liz Earle skincare for more years than I care to remember and they are my desert island essentials.

Item to Shop For – Stash of course unless you meant which beauty product in which case it would be Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

Now I need to keep this going so I tag Nancy and Christine.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Tisket a Tasket.........

A couple of weeks ago we visited a place called Gata De Gorgos about an hour north of where we live.
It's a lovely little town with plenty of the old style houses which I love to look at.
Gata is famous for basket weaving, wicker furniture and objects made from rush,cane and bamboo. There are over 50 shops and they are just overflowing with an amazing assortment of every kind of basket you can imagine and also the local ceramics and pottery.
Some of the "shops" are actually the living quarters of the person who has things to sell. Tomatoes, grapes, baskets etc. It was quite fascinating to get a glimpse into these old style Spanish homes.
Of course I had to buy a basket but how to choose! The one I finally chose is prettily lined with cotton and has a lace trim with little buttons at each side. I plan on using this basket to store my favourite fat quarters of quilting fabric.
On the outskirts of the town are many huge outlets selling an amazing array of pottery and ceramics. The two pictures I'm showing are of the outside and inside of just one of them. The inside shot is just a tiny corner of the floor area!
From here I bought a garlic pot to match the salt pot I have already.
Next time I go I'd like to visit the church and the museum. I'll save that for another post but I hope you've enjoyed the little glimpse I've given you of Gata De Gorgos.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stitchery swap partner revealed!

Last month I showed you the bag and thread catcher I made for Bren in the stitchery swap that Paula arranged through her blog.
I had absolutely no idea who my swap partner was until a couple of days ago when I received a package all the way from Australia.
Inside was the most gorgeous drawstring bag that Donna made for me.
The bag is beautifully made and Donna's stitching is perfection. Donna signed the inside of the bag and also sent a postcard of Coonamble N.S.W. with a nice message on the back.
Although I've taken part in cross stitch exchanges this was my first stitchery swap and I enjoyed it so much I just can't wait to sign up for another :)
I seem to have quite a collection of bags now and have to say I'm becoming quite bag obsessed! Every design I see I'm wondering if it would make into a nice bag!
Thanks again Donna for this lovely addition to my bag collection.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I'm so lucky!

A few weeks ago Linda showed the most beautiful quilt on her blog. I'd been following the progress of this quilt for quite some time and had fallen in love with it long before I ever saw the finished article. The quilt is made up of 23 small stitchery blocks from a book called Flowerbed by Australian designer Bronwyn Hayes .
When the quilt was finished Linda generously offered to put the names of everyone who left a comment on the quilt into a draw for the pattern book. I was just desperate to win that book and it must have been my lucky day because it was my name that came out as winner of the draw! I was just so excited.
When I finally received a card from the post office letting me know there was something for me to collect I couldn't get there fast enough!
I was puzzled when I found myself signing for a BIG box that was lightweight for the size of it. I tore into the box and imagine my total surprise when I saw Linda had sent me not only the book but one of the gorgeous craft totes that she makes.
There's a free pattern for this bucket tote on one of the blogs out there. I'd been planning on having a go at making one but I know without a doubt that I could never have made anything half as nice as this one.
The bag is beautifully made in such pretty fabrics and it has little flower buttons sprinkled over it. I'm just thrilled to have it. Thank you so much Linda!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A day at the park

It's been a while since I posted but it's for a very good reason. I have my family from England staying for three weeks and my feet have barely touched the ground!
We've been out a lot. Mostly round the pool or down at the beach but on Thursday we went for a drive to a park just outside of Alicante.
There were lots of play areas for the kids but it was so hot we could barely drag ourselves round. There was a little boating lake so we took out a couple of boats and had some fun on the water. It was hard work rowing, especially in that heat, and we went round in circles a few times before we finally got the hang of it.

On the stitching front................ my stitching time is almost zero so the only finish I can share is something I did for a stitchery swap via sweet p's blog
As I'm new to this type of embroidery I was a bit nervous until I found out that I would be stitching for Bren a good friend who also started stitching about the same time as me.
I turned the finished stitching into a tiny tote bag and with the leftover fabric made a matching tissue holder. I also had a piece of cherry print fabric that I decided to turn into a thread catcher so I stitched a cherry design onto the pincushion area and it turned out quite nice.
I have other things (mostly cross stitch) in the works but can't show them just yet as they are for a mail art exchange.