Sunday, 27 November 2011

More cushions

Before I start on the cushions, I just wanted to say thank you for all the lovely messages I got in response to my last post. I can't tell you how much they helped me.

I haven't been in a quilty mood, its been more a parked on my bum watching crappy telly mood and I've been doing some stitching that didn't require much thought or creative energy.

I have managed to finish off a few more cushions though.

This one is the first cushion sized needlework I ever finished, my Mum bought me the kit for my 17th birthday. 25 years later its finally finished!

This one was a few years later when  I was about 22. I was suffering from what I know now to be depression for the first time and took myself of alone to Brighton for a week in Feb to get away from it all. I took this kit with me and did most of it then. I remember watching the remaking of Cape Fear on video down there one evening and getting so scared I had to wait until morning to watch the end!

This pink and cream one dates back to that time as well I think, I have this in green and pink as well which I bought years later. It was only when I finished the second one that I realised I had done it before.

These next few were presents over the years.

And this last one was an improv piece to used up left over thread from kits I've made over the years. I've only just made the connection to my scrap quilts, clearly it is not just fabric that I hate throwing away as I've also saved the leftovers from stitching kits as well.

I just started in the middle and kept working outwards with a variety of different stitches and threads. I bordered it today with the same old curtain material I am using for the cushion backs to make it big enough, I'm really pleased with how it looks.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Toxic people

I wasn't sure about writing this post, it's been in my mind for a long time but events in the last few days have made me reconsider.

It get a bit heavy, so by all means, skip it if you want and normal crafting will be resumed soon.

I grew up with a lot of toxic people, very very close family. People who never take responsibility for their own actions.

Who always blame the past for the harm they do in the present.

Who expect people around them to give them love, support and money all the time but can't even give back basic good manners in return, never mind anything else.

Who are jealous of good things that happen to other people, even if they are working really hard to have this good thing happen.

Who tell so many lies its hard to believe anything they say.

Who are such bad parents that you can see the same damage being done to their kids as was done to them.

Over the years I've lost touch with most of these people and I don't regret it in the least. The only regret I have is that family isn't supposed to be like this and I wish I had experienced the "normal" ups and downs. I know it has affected me and I am responsible for how I have let it impact my life as an adult.

This weekend, I heard that one of the few of these toxics left in my life might have cancer. Some people who know us both with have all sorts of expectations on how I should react and respond to the news, but the truth is it left me with no real feelings whatsoever. Just the same as if you heard it about a passing acquaintance.

That might make me sound hard and heartless, but as far as this person is concerned I have nothing left to give. Even the story that we heard was contradictory and garbled, so I don't even know how much I believe. My main concern is for this persons child who is lovely.

My reaction to all the internal scars I have has been to try and be the opposite of the toxics all my life, but that isn't right either. What I am working on now is being truer to who I really am, and if that means being selfish at times, or not putting on a happy face to stop others feeling uncomfortable, so be it.

I am not going to pretend to care about this person just to meet others expectations and if they don't want to understand why I am like this than too bad!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Favourites thing friday

Once again the lovely Shay is hosting FTF over at

Today I'm going to continue the theme for the week with more old crafts items that I am digging out and displaying. This is a three-fold fav.

Firstly, I'm really enjoying re-discovering things I've made in the past that have been tucked away, out of sight and out of mind (in some cases for many years). They are bringing back a lot of memories but they are also having a big impact on my confidence. I have a problem that I've been working on with giving myself suitable credit for what I can achieve (not just with crafts but all walks of life). I look and these items and think, "shit, they are really good! I've got good skills that I could make them." I tend to underplay my skills for various reasons and this week, I'm not going to.

These little embroideries were all done at various points in the 90's. The oval ones spent a few years on the walls at my Mums before '94 but haven't seen the light of day since.

My second pleasure is that I am getting them on walls or into cushions on display so that I can enjoy them moving forward. I'm really pleased with myself for getting motivated enough to get this done.

Thirdly, dealing with turning the needlepoints into cushions. For some reason when I started needlepoint when I was 16 (a few years ago) I got it into my head that finishing them off into cushions would be really hard, so I left them, and left them, and left them...... until I am 41 (nearly 42). What a long time to have a fear for, especially as it has turned out to be so irrational. After finishing 7 off, I can now say hand on heart "this is easy". A part of me wants to kick myself for letting it be an issue for so long, but the bigger part is saying, it doesn't matter as long as I have cracked it now.

This one is the biggest I have and the kit for it was an 18th birthday pressie. I finished it within a year so its been in the cupboard for more than half my life!

This one is a style I really enjoy doing (in fact I have it in another colourway but not finished yet) as it has a nice variety of stitches.

I also like this one as I do enjoy Celtic style art and again it had a few different stitches.( not that clear as blogger has decided to turn the pics again).

So thats my favourite this week, finishing off things that have been left for years and enjoying the end results.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

More zips - I am finally cracking them!

Well, when I say cracking them, I mean in the loosest way possible. I have put two more into cushions today and for the second one (my fourth overall) there was no unpicking needed!!! None! None at all. Go me!

I won't bother showing the backs this time as they all look the same as they all use the dark brown old curtain fabric but below are the fronts.

These aren't that old either, I made both of these a few years ago, just before I got hooked on the quilting so they haven't had to wait too long for completion. And I've just noticed, would they both make great quilt patterns?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Zip ahoy!

I did it, I got another zip into a cushion back. It wasn't without its complications and a bit of unpicking was required, but it was a lot easier than the last one I tried and I felt a bit more in control of the experience.

I've dug out a few old needlepoints that have been waiting for a long time to be finished off so watch this space!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A procrastinator - Moi?

Now once or twice I might have mentioned my problem with procrastination, but you might not realise quite how bad it is.

Over the last few days I've tackled a few bits that have been outstanding for years. It was prompted by my little mini quilts that I made. I knew I wanted them on the wall, but thought it was highly likely they would end up stuck in a cupboard for years. I didn't know how to get them up on the wall as I didn't want to hammer nails. I trawled amazon and found 3m Command hanging strips. I wasn't sure if they would stick to the fabric and then to the wall, but to my surprise they did! And they seem to peel off the wall again without taking the paint off!

When I ordered these strips, I also went for a few frames. I have a load of things that need framing but they are so expensive in shops. The vendor I found on amazon seemed a lot more reasonable, also I had a load of gift vouchers thanks to my credit card spending so they were all free.

So I got busy. This picure I bought about nine years ago - its been waiting patiently to go up since them and although it isn't a perfect fit, I like it in the hall.

Then here, above the fireplace in the dining room a few more. The dark picture I bought I think about 10 years ago, the little flower was given to me by a friend  again at least 10 years who had bought it in France and then never did anything for years with it  and the Egyptian Papyrus was a gift from a friend of my Mum. Sadly she passed away, over 15 years ago! Its been in a plastic bag all this time!

Then I have some needleworks that I framed but never put up. Just to show how long thing can get out off with me, the dates on this are 1993 and 1994. Thats a long time between making them and displaying them!

I need to dig out some more of my old work and get them up on the walls finally, these little strips should work a treat.

I also had a bit of a fabric tidy up. I'm embarrassed to say, it has been creeping all over the house and I totally forgot what I had.

I still have a load in the dining/sewing room, but the rest all made it into these wire baskets (which were until recently full of old curtains that have now gone to charity). There are 6 drawers stuffed full of fat quarters and yardage like these.

And a small drawer with pre-cuts... but the 3 new jelly rolls that arrived as I was preparing this post won't fit... Oops!

On a complete tangent, has any UK readers noticed the Royal Mail deliveries getting odder lately? I have had deliveries the last two sundays! And my fabric arrived at 6.15pm today.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Its friday again

Head over to visit Shay and see others Favourite Things Friday at

Today, I went to see an exhibition at The British Museum curated by Grayson Perry with a lot of his own work and selected objects from the collection. It is titled The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. You can read about it here

I wasn't sure what to expect of his work as all I really knew about him was that he is a tranvestive potter with a teddy bear. He gets quite a lot of press but what I've seen is about him, rather than his work.

As it happened, I thoroughly enjoyed it. His work really made me smile and I mean a proper genuine, fun happy smile, not a smirk or anything like that. Just pure enjoyment. And it wasn't all pots. The big cape embroidered with flying penises will stay with me for a long long time!

I managed to find this image on the web of a large statute of his teddy bear which I'm putting at the bottom of the post- those of a nervous disposition don't scroll to the end!

My only objection - dedicating it to craftsman - hello! Women here at the craft party as well! But I'll forgive him.....

So Grayson Perrys work has gone onto my favourites list, just for the sheer bloddy madness of a lot of it and the total humour he brings. No po faced artistic interpretation here as far as I can tell.

scroll down for the pic

grayson statue

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

This and that

I've been working on all sorts of things the last few days.

I started quilting the mystery quilt, I'm doing it in pieces and then will put them together at the end. I am doing quite heavy quilting, but it isn't really working out how I imagined. I thought with dense background quilting it would make the stars pop, but it may be the combination of fabric and wadding but the background is coming out really flat and the stars pop anyway because of the colour. I'm plowing on though as the thought of unpicking is horrific and its all good practice.

I was at Waterloo last week at the Old Vic to see a play and popped into the wool shop at The Cut, They have lots of loveliness to stroke and I ended up buying a few skeins. I got cracking with them straight away and turned them into these, my first crochet hats. All set for the winter now.

And another finish, I started working on this needlepoint in the summer when I was working away. Its a bit distorted at the moment as I didn't use a frame. I usually do, but as it was being dragged up and down the motorway to work on in hotels it wasn't practical. I finished it today and it is going to become a cushion. So that means I have to sew another dreaded zip! Will I get on with it straight away or let it hide in a corner for ages putting it off? No idea - at the moment the corner is looking likely.

The green hat got its first airing at the weekend when I went to enjoy the fireworks at Blackheath for Bonfire night. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love fireworks.

Apart from that and class, I seem to be most occupied by procrastinating over working on my accounts, I hate doing them but I can't put them off much longer... blah!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Favourite Things Friday

Once again it is time to join in with Mrs P over at for the favs fest.

Today, I have a few of things I wanted to mention. Firstly something I should have mentioned before, Followers. The number of followers I have has slowly been creeping up and I wanted to say thank you for wanted to read my rambling.

Second, the bloggers quilt festival over at Today is the last day to join in, but even if you don't want to enter, there are hundreds of fab quilts to explore. I'm slowly working my way through them, but there are so many I still may be doing it at Christmas. I have had some lovely comments on my entry and have tried to reply to them all. There have been one or two no-reply bloggers though so please, if you left a comment and think I am rude not to answer, then either I've made a mistake and I'm sorry, or you are set as no-reply.

The main thing I wanted to talk about though and something that is a real favourite of mine and something I usually do in work, most often when I'm deep in thought and working out a problem - is doodling.

Below is a scan of one of my notebooks that is fairly typical. You might spot on there early practice (and rubbish) feathers. It occured to me this years to combine my doodling with trying out FMQ patterns to learn how to work then and get used to how the patterns hang together.

Well this week, somehow I stumbled onto the fact that doodling is now an art form! And it seems big business. Its been rebranded and copywrited as Zentangle! For more info, the website is but basically they are teaching you how to doodle and naming all the patterns. Well I must admit, I was a bit astonished that anyone would pay for this, but each to their own. I'm not critizing you if you do, but I am in awe of the people behind it. Somehow I think they are making a shed load of money off this, so good luck to them.

However, I'm not paying to do something I already do, but it did make me realised how many of the patterns they use are already FMQ patterns or could be turned into them. So I gave it a go with a marker pen and card and came up with this, and yes, I did enjoy doing it although I didn't get the Zenlike reaction they propose in their blurb.

But if you want to kill a few minutes and relax, doodle away and if anyone moans about the time you are wasting, tell them you are practicing your free motion quilting - you are!