Monday 16 December 2013

Return of the mojo

In my last post I was lamenting the fact that the old mojo had well and truly disappeared. Not even a hexagon could tempt me. A little thought crept in saying that maybe I needed to start something completely afresh and see if that works. Trying hard not to think about the million other projects gone off the boil this is what I started. It has lots of applique, even a few hexagons, well, a lot of hexagons, even some diamonds but, it seems to be working and I am thoroughly enjoying this so far.

This is the pattern. Mosaic by Irene Blanck. It came all the way from Australia and I might add within 4 days of ordering it. Well done to the postal services both ways.

Decorating the Christmas Tree was proving a bit tricky. This is tree number 2. Tree number one was bought, unwrapped and put in its pot and then I realised that there were a lot of needles on the floor. The poor thing looked decidedly unwell. Back it went and tree number two bought. It is compact and just fits the place. I know what you are thinking but what else would I decorate it with other than pink baubles. There are lots of green baubles too and I love the sparkly snowflakes. I stand the tree in my Portmeirion bread crock which has a Christmas Rose design conveniently on the front.Now to get organised with everything else.

Kate had a very special birthday last week, one with a 0 on the end and as a treat we had a day out to Bath. We had the most fabulous day and a big thank you to Kate's husband David who drove us there with great patience, six women in the car all giving different directions, a Sat Nav that didn't work properly and a car with some fancy gizmo's that would have been enough to drive him mad.

First stop was the Costume Museum. There were some fabulous costumes and we all had our personal favourites. I didn't take many photo's as I only had my phone and it does not take good photo's in the dark. This display is from the Civil War era. The thing that stood out for us that these women were tiny. Not very tall and with the smallest of waists. Real envy going on here I can tell you.

This made me smile. This Man's Coat was exquisitely embroidered but the mannequin it was draped on had on underpants that had the words Gems Ltd printed on them. Gives a new slant on the contents of underpants being called The Crown Jewels!

The costumes are housed in The Assembly Rooms in Bath and Jane Austen most certainly would have visited here for dancing and socialising. In one of the rooms were magnificent chandeliers. These are electric but you could still get the feel for what this room would have felt like with all these chandeliers.
From there we found a gorgeous tea room for lunch and afterwards made a visit to Country Threads patchwork shop where we had to purchase one or two things. It would have been rude not to. A great one to visit if you are ever in Bath.

A few weeks ago we had a trip to Sidmouth, East Devon. It was a lovely warm day and wandering around the back streets we came across this sign pointing to a craft shop but it was the name that attracted us. Maisie and cousin Daisy could be a double act.

It finished up with the most magnificent sunset.

Hope all your festive plans are coming together and you are finding a quiet moment for some stitching or are you frantically trying to finish things. That was part of my mojo that did not kick in. Maybe I shall start in January......

Happy Stitching.


Sunday 24 November 2013

Pretty in Pink

A trumpet fanfare is in order or a drum roll at the very least for I have finally finished this pretty little number. You had better look away now if pink is not your thing. I am pleased with how it looks and the little person it was made for has had a lie on it and declared it fit for purpose.

There are a few names for this pattern. Periwinkle, Hummingbird and Kite. There may be more. The quilting was inspired by seeing an old version on Pinterest and the patchwork templates came via Petra Prins in Holland. I can spend hours on Pinterest but here is proof that at least some of that time was useful. All in the name of research. The binding was also done after seeing a method on Pinterest. It was made by  bringing the backing fabric to the front and mitring the corners. I shall use it again.

Progress in the sewing department has been slower than slow for several reasons. My shoulder pain is ongoing or more to the point the aching muscles around the joint have made it hard going. I am pleased to say that it is improving, slowly. Because I have not been sewing much the desire to sew departed too and this has caused me a lot of bother. The mojo well and truly disappeared.

My little miss is growing nicely and is such a joy. I am mesmerised by her hands. The first thing I noticed about her was her lovely fingers. They looked like matchsticks but, now they are plump and learning to grasp and feel. Will they be stitching fingers?

I treated myself to a bunch of pretty roses from the supermarket. I LOVE that delicate shade of green.

There is an App on the IPad which allows you to take a photo and play around with the image. At a touch it can produce fabulous kaleidoscopic images such as this.  Lots of yummy thoughts go through my mind with this but that is where it will have to stay, at least for the time being.

Happy Stitching


Friday 11 October 2013


At Kate's on Wednesday I sat working on my Periwinkle quilt with the hand quilting. Progress is slow but, progress nevertheless. I had a brainwave for the border and decided to quilt the outlines of the periwinkle block. The inspiration just appeared out of the blue, I think it works and I am pleased with it.

On Kate's design wall was a small quilt that her sister Margaret had been working on. We have watched the progress over time but the penny did not drop until seeing it finished and up on the wall. I suddenly realised that Margaret's quilt is exactly the same pattern as mine but looks  totally different.

Margaret's version of the periwinkle quilt. As you can see, very different in placement of colours and the pattern within the octagon. The blocks are a bit bigger than mine. Spurring me on to finish mine now. Well done Margaret.

Kate gave me these two tomatoes from her garden. They are of a late growing outdoor variety and their name ..... Shirley.

On Sunday we had a pleasant stroll around the garden centre in such lovely unseasonal sunshine and on one of the stands was this fabulous clematis. Love everything about it.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for your kind and lovely comments regarding baby Maisie.  Mum and baby are doing well.
Happy Stitching.
Love Shirley.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Old and New

A little while ago a surprise parcel arrived in the post and it contained a lovely old cot quilt from Barbara Chainey. Barbara said it needed a few repairs but to do with it whatever I wished and that she acquired it some 20 years ago.

The lace around the edge had perished in places and after a fruitless search at my local antique market I thought that I might just take the lace off and add a liberty print binding. At my local craft centre I found a new product that was a pretty binding with a tiny lace edge. I thought this the perfect answer.

As I was sewing on the binding I came across this number in the corner. It is still there but now hidden under the binding, hopefully for someone else to discover in the future. I carefully snipped off the lace and have just slip stitched the binding over the already neatened quilt edge. No need to make extra work. Hope Barbara will approve.

Whilst we await the arrival of this special delivery I have been finishing things off.

Firstly, I showed this crochet blanket quite a while ago but I don't think I showed it finished. I thought I had finished it with the little scallop border but the other day decided to crochet a pink line around the border and add a flower. Now it is finished.

Rachel chose the colours for the next crochet blanket. I am pleased with the outcome.

It is quite some time since I did any dressmaking but for my birthday in July I was given a book of Mum and Baby patterns by Anna Maria Horner and decided to make the pretty top for Rachel. It went together very easily and is a clever idea. The side panels open up so that baby can be discreetly fed. It is both pretty and functional and I like that. Just need a baby. Please excuse the foot but I am not sure where the carefully edited photo disappeared.


Quilting has started on the periwinkle quilt. I googled images for periwinkle quilts and this antique version popped up and I like the way it had been quilted. Just need to get a wiggle on now.

Happy Stitching

Love Shirley.

Friday 13 September 2013

Periwinkle and the Challenge Winner

Did you guess which quilt won? Some of you did and it was clearly a winner amongst you too.

It was made by Emma Kirkpatrick and was number 8 and well deserved. Emma says that she googled the word Twist and that was her inspiration for her design.

What baffled you was which one you thought I had made. I really went off on a different tangent and my offering was quilt number 3. Not a bit of pink in sight. The reasoning behind my choice was to take the quilting aspect that the Amish are so renowned for and turn it into the design and I chose to applique a feather. It worked but was time consuming and had I have thought longer about it I would have done the feathers in Amish colours. It certainly got everyone thinking about it. A big thank you to everyone who joined in or emailed me.

I recently purchased from Petra Prins the lovely plastic template kit that is known as Periwinkle. I had seen it around in blog land and fell in love with it. These templates from Australia are super to use and make stitching by hand an absolute dream.

Wondering  what to use to try it out I had in front of me the fabrics that  I was using for my Noughts  and Crosses quilt. Well, it didn't take very long to cut the pieces out nor to sew them up and this is the result. A small baby quilt for a very special little lady due to join us very soon. Today it has been layered and is ready for quilting.

A few posts back I promised to show the back of my work. Someone asked me why and surely as it was going to be hidden what did it matter. The answer is it does matter. Pressing the seams are important if you want your quilt to lie flat and also I am not always sure which way seams should lie and often wish there was a diagram to say which way. Hand piecing gives much more flexibility in the way a seam can lie too. If you know of a neat way to deal with the seams then I am sure we would all love to learn how. I know I would. Besides, I personally like my work to be neat and tidy. This is a complex little block with many seams meeting in the middle and it could soon look a bit lumpy in places. I hope you can see how they have been pressed to lie flat. Nothing was pressed till the whole thing was completed and a border added.

This photo shows the seams before all the "dog ears" have been snipped off.

It looks much better with the "dog ears" snipped off.

Now for the quilting.

Happy Stitching.


Wednesday 4 September 2013

Group Challenge 2013

Earlier this year I set our patchwork group a challenge to make a quilt that measured design size of 18" x 24". The subject was titled "A Little Bit Amish" and the idea came from the book Amish Inspired by the Piece O Cake duo Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. They were asked to give it a twist. We had lots of books to look at and of course a wealth of things to ponder over via the internet to give us plenty of ideas. Tuesday was the big reveal and we had a total of 17 entries out of 31 people. We judge the winner by a secret vote and the one with the most votes wins. I wonder if you will agree with our choice. I won't tell you yet which one is the winner or indeed which one was made by yours truly. Tell me which number you would choose and which number you think is mine.
















Please excuse my photography and editing, you know by now it is not my strong point.
 I think you will agree that all the quilts were great and well done Apple County Quilters for rising so admirably to the challenge.
 Happy Stitching.


Wednesday 14 August 2013


I heard today via Cathi from Quilt Obsession that my little quilt Elsie has now been sold. THANK YOU to the person who bought it. I hope you will enjoy it. I am so thrilled.

Love Shirley.xx

Friday 9 August 2013


This is my Mum Elsie. She had a tough life and developed Alzheimer's but died suddenly of a heart attack not quite 3 years ago, aged 73. It was a both a shock and a blessing for us, her children not to have to witness the inevitable cruelness of this sad and distressing disease. In what seemed a short space of time she went from this clever lady who fulfilled a lifetime ambition to earn a degree at the age of 60 to not knowing how to switch the computer on, tell the time, use the phone, cook for herself and was going rapidly down hill.

This is my small offering to help raise a little bit of money for this amazing organisation AAQI trying to help raise funds into research and a cure for this terrible illness. I hope someone will take pity on it and love it enough to buy it and give it some wall space. If my little offering is not to your taste then maybe there is another one that you will like.

You will find it at

It is titled Elsie, measures 9" x 12" and is number 14,789 and costs $40. Postage will be extra.

Thank you to everyone involved for all their efforts and endeavours. It is much appreciated.

Shirley. x

Monday 22 July 2013

Little Treasures Winner

Having chosen the nearest container which happened to be the lid of my travelling box of hexies my husband did the honours and picked a name out of the box.

The winner is Marina from Maisie and the boys blog. Congratulations Marina. Will pop them in the post as soon as i get your snail mail address.

Big congratulations to the new Royal Baby boy who made his arrival today weighing in at 8lb 6oz. My husband says his money is on the name Fred?!! I have chosen George.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.