Prepping Projects

Picklepiemama Projects

I have been prepping like crazy over the last couple of weeks, and now have loads of projects ready to go. I could have done them one at a time and actually got some finished, but I decided to take the opportunity of having no little people in the house to have the iron, pressing board, and cutting mat all out. Little fingers are far too inquisitive. So the hexies have been progressing in the evenings and the project prep during the day (in breaks from housework, cooking, and volunteering at Maxi Mister’s school).

 

I have worked out an order in which to do them, but it may well change. This is because I need to press some of them as I go along, and therefore can’t work on them when the children are around. And because I get distracted far too easily!

 

Here are my prepped projects. I plan to post about each as they are done, so look out for lots of pictures.

1. Angel Wings Bag – this is a commission from a friend for her daughter. It is based on the drawstring bag from Georgina Giles, which I have used before.

2. Tablet Cover – I have based this on the gorgeous one that Caroline from SewCanShe made in January. I have had to do some jiggling around of sizing to fit my tablet, so hopefully it will work…

3. Beach/Pool Bag- I spotted this tutorial a couple of weeks ago and plan to make 2 of them, as I can forsee we will probably need both while we are away.

4. Grandmother’s Flower Garden Pincushion – I started this over the Easter holidays as I wanted a handsewing project that I could finish quickly. It has taken me a while to get my bum in gear to get wadding for it, but it is now ready to quilt and make up. I bought it from Sew & Quilt, from the very helpful Jessie

5. Bionic Gear Bag – this was introduced to me by the lovely ladies on the UK Quilters United Facebook page. Not only was I amazed at how much you can squeeze into this little bag, I was also intrigued by the challenges it presents with making it, as it is apparently rather complex. I can’t help thinking it is a bit like an Ikea flat pack. This, by the way, is from a paid for tutorial via Craftsy. I don’t normally try things that have bought patterns, but it was just too tempting.

6. Maxi Mister’s Quilt – yes, I have finally prepped his quilt. I have had the fabric for over a year, and it has been pressed for about 2 months. But I have now made a start…

7. Pattern Weights – still haven’t decided which shape I am doing these, and they are not urgent, so bottom of the list they go.

If that lot isn’t enough, I also have a couple of other commissions in the offing as well, and of course my hexie quilt. I really need to get going! 😊

 

 

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Makes and Ends

Yet again I have had a huge gap in my blogging. I have done things, and I have come up with loads of ideas for posts, but just not got round to finishing them. But since it is half term, I have had a good Bank Holiday weekend at Dad’s, and I am shattered from organising the house (looonnng way to go yet), I have been baking and sewing. Because, of course, that is what you do when you are so tired, you seriously contemplate using matchsticks to keep your eyes open 😀

This evening’s offering is a Chocolate and Coffee Marble Loaf Cake, recipe courtesy of The Pink Whisk. I originally planned to make this last week, and even got as far as measuring out the butter, but never did anything else. Anyway, it was an easy, basic sponge cake recipe, with a bit of flavouring, a bit of swirling, and then a bake. It looks like the original and tastes lovely. Will definitely be making this again.

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Chocolate and Coffee Marble Loaf Cake

I made cheese on toast for Maxi Mister earlier as well, but that doesn’t really count as baking. He is quite easy to make meals for as he eats most things, although does go through random spates of hating things (one time it was only melted cheese, then only orange cheese, then only grated cheese, then no cheese – argghhhhhhhhh!). Mini Mister is harder to cater for as he doesn’t want to eat anything he hasn’t specifically decided is OK for any particular day. And that changes hourly, let alone daily. Yes, it is his age, but who doesn’t like chips???!!! At least he tends to eat well at Nursery. We did discover yesterday that he seems to like cheese toasted inside a tortilla (had lunch at Chimichanga in Canterbury), but, of course, if I try giving it to him, he will probably reject it (“No more” is the death knell for an awful lot of meals at the moment).

On Monday I made a beef pie with the remains of the roast beef and gravy from Sunday lunch that Dad had cooked. It was nice, but both Hubby and I thought it would have been improved by the addition of an onion and some mushrooms. With Mini and Maxi being fussy about both (OK, they won’t eat them!) I didn’t even suggest adding them. I did, however, decide to cheer up the top and make it obvious what had been made for lunch:

Pie

Pie!

 

Over the weekend I have also been sewing. Since I have done so many hexies now, but haven’t started sewing them together, I decided to have a go at a mini project which I could aim to finish soon – a Flower Garden Pincushion . I got the kit from Sew & Quilt when I ordered my latest lot of hexie blanks. I also ordered some of the Tulip Hiroshima piecing needles that Jessie sells, just to see how I found them compared to my usual John James quilting needles. Jessie has also been really helpful asnwering a load of questions I had about thread, despite them being about a quilt top totally unrelated to the EPP things she sells. So far, I have basted all the tiny little hexies needed for the pincushion, and sewn the first 7 together. They are really pretty, but oh so tiny (half inch, compared to my usual 1 inch). My aim is to finish piecing and to quilt it by the weekend if I can…

Hexie flower pincushion centre

Centre flower for pincushion

I have a whole truckload of other makes and bakes to tell you about, including several presents, and at least 1 recipe for a cake. They will be in future posts (as soon as I finish them…)

And as for Ends….well, my job has finished. For a variety of reasons I left at the end of this half term. I could have finished at Easter and been paid to the end of April, but I decided the extra money was worth the extra weeks. I have had a difficult few half terms, especially the last couple, mainly resulting from huge anxiety issues which have nearly overwhelmed me. I have yet to decide whether to blog about those. It may help, it may not. Suffice to say, that I have been really lucky to have the support of our local GPs and my Health Visitor. And leaving the job means I no longer have a difficult commute which was increasingly taking me away from my children. I have regrets. There are colleagues I will miss terribly, and some of the classes I taught and lots of the kids. I loved doing the shows. Loved the space I taught in.

But it was time to end and to move on. An end after nearly 12 years, and an end to the commute. Hopefully this means more time for making as well as more time with my wonderful children and husband.

 

And the other Ends? Well, they get posts of their own 😊

Hexies and Quilts and Half-Term Fun

A really good day today. Not only have I managed to complete my Jelly Roll Jam quilt top, I have also finished another set of hexies, ready to move on to a new colour and some miniscule shapes. And Maxi Mister and I had some quality time together.

The quilt top really shouldn’t have taken this long, since it is quite straightforward. But other things have got in the way. It needs pressing properly and then I have to quilt it and bind it. I think the scary bit is still to come! In the meantime, I get to choose some backing fabric and something for binding it, as well as deciding on the type and weight of batting/wadding to go in the middle. Who knew quilts were so complicated?! ☺

Jelly Roll Jam, Riley Blake Fancy Free

Central portion of Jelly Roll Jam quilt top

On the other hand, I have been very lucky to get some help and advice from Deborah at Fat Quarter Shop (where the pattern comes from). I emailed on a whim to ask about binding, and she has been full of suggestions and has even emailed me a video tutorial link. I will put all these bits on a proper summary post when the quilt is finished.

Back to hexies, and I have now hit 460 completed hexies! It sounds a lot, but considering I am aiming for at least a queen-size quilt, I have probably completed about a fifth of all those I need to baste. Don’t they look pretty though?

Hexies

I have 2 sets ready to baste, 3 to prep, and another 8 FQs ready to cut up. As I said previously, I am going to be doing this one for a loooong time. I have prepped some mini shapes this evening to have a go at over the weekend, so they may be ready for a post next week.

In other news, Hubby’s much-delayed birthday cake (with any luck) will be happening tomorrow, and I am going to be making him some cupcakes to take to work a week on Monday. He should have had them this Monday, but, as you know, we were all ill, and next week his co-workers are off on a test trip somewhere, so they have to wait another week.

I also have to make Maxi’s cake next week as he turns 6! How can I have a 6-year-old??? It only seems like yesterday he was a bouncing, giggling toddler. Now he is a bouncing, giggling giraffe of nearly 6-year-old gorgeousness. We had a great day today, going to the cinema and then out for lunch, just the 2 of us. I loved listening to him shriek with laughter watching Hotel Transylvania 2. And, of course, we had his choice of Wagamama for lunch (complete with his favourite ‘giant peas’ – edamame to the rest of us).

Hopefully tomorrow will be as good as today is all respects… 😊

DP Challenge: My Happy Place – Well, one of them…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

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Have you ever felt like the world was being a bit too rowdy? Where things and people were pushing in, crowding out your quiet thoughts — the ones that need time and space to surface? (DP Challenge)

Sometimes, it is the kitchen, sometimes a book, sometimes a quiet corner to sew in. Mostly it is listening to music. Especially if I get to do some relaxation exercises at the same time. I have a right old mixture of music and it is ever-expanding. But my “go to” albums are those by Ludovico Einaudi (I feel the tension drain away as the music starts), or some film music by Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, et al.

In other news, I have started basting hexies again, and have prepped about 200 ready to sew. I can’t do any more as I am now out of hexies templates, so will require a quick visit to Sew and Quilt, Jessie Fincham’s online shop. Jessie’s blog is one of those I follow for some great sewing ideas. I will have to restrict myself to only buying hexies, and try to avoid looking at all the lovely fabrics on there and several other sites., I shall go and listen to some music instead. 🙂

Stitches

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Connected.”

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I could have posted a picture of my mixer with its blades connected, but since I have just finished my first round of hexies, I thought I would post these connections instead.

The basting shows up beautifully on the lovely purple Kona fabric. The fabric is also connected directly to the card template as it has a dot of washable glue sticking it in place – a really fab suggestion from The Zen of Making.

I really wasn’t sure about the whip stitches on the pouch when I first made it, but now, when I look at those tiny green stitches down the sides, I feel really proud that I got them so neat (for me) and I love them. The flower is whip stitched together and then blind stitched to the case.

As for the other connections, I have now basted 390 hexagons and will now be taking a break to work on some other sewing projects and Mini Mister’s birthday and Christening cakes. Pictures will follow… 😊

Projects, projects, projects!

It has occurred to me that I am trying to do 4 different projects at once. I think this may be a little too much, since I am bouncing from one to another without getting very far in any. I really need to prioritise and stick to completing one before moving on to another – please note that this may be wishful thinking! Here is my list (currently in no particular order):

  • Chair covers for a couple of childrens’ whicker chairs
  • Mum’s quilt
  • A Jelly Roll Jam quilt
  • My hexie quilt

Two of those, at least, are long term projects.

The most urgent is probably completing the chair covers as they are needed at my Dad’s in just over a week. However, since I won’t have access to my sewing machine for the next few days, I think that will have to be completed last minute before we visit Dad. Could be a long night!

The Jelly Roll Jam quilt will have to wait as I need spray starch before I do the next stage. I will have some lovely links for you with that one. Any suggestions on good spray starch would be gratefully received.

So, it is toss-up between Mum’s quilt and my hexies; flower-making or hexie-basting?

I prepped the fabric (or some of it) for my hexies over the last few nights. I have no idea how many squares I cut other than it being in 4 figures (eek!), but it still may not be enough. Don’t you think they are pretty though? (Camera and lighting do not do them justice – I really must refrain from taking photos at night with my tablet and not a decent camera!)

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Flower-making or hexie-basting?

I think I may see what mood I am in tomorrow!

In Due Time…

I am currently following a course called Blogging 101, run by Word Press to help new bloggers develop their skills and knowledge of blogging. There have been tasks each week day, and yesterday we were asked to use the Daily Prompt to inspire a post. As we were allowed to choose a random prompt, I clicked through a few and then this one popped up:

In Due Time: What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?

I think it fits quite well for me, given the length of my project list and the fact that I am running out of time to complete some of those projects. In actual fact, my most pressing deadline hasn’t been a project but rather the impending date of my return to work after maternity leave

I have been incredibly lucky that I have had an extended time with Mini Mister, although I have got to the point that I no longer even have SMP. So the return to work is a blessing in disguise, since having no income means that not only can I not buy all the things I need for the boys, there is no way I can get away with indulging in my fabric or sugarcraft tool addictions. And there are some lovely fabrics coming out a the moment in preparation for (and I will say this quietly) Christmas. And I still haven’t had a chance to try out sugar lace, despite how long it has been on trend.

So, I am excited about the prospect of having an income again, but stressed about organising childcare for Maxi Mister and worrying about whether Mini Mister will settle in to nursery ok. I think I am going to have to restrain myself from spending the not very much money I will get this month, but if anyone else is after places to feed their addictions, have a look at some of the places on my Blogroll. There are more to add, but these are some of the places I tend to visit on a far too regular basis! Please don’t ask me which is my favourite, as I don’t think I could pick one. I go to different sites for different things.

As for ‘making’ deadlines, there are a few, as I said. I have some chair cushions to complete before we go on holiday in a couple of weeks (I think they will be a future post, so I won’t say anything more here), I have Mum’s hexie flowers to finish before then as well, so that I don’t lug her stuff around on holiday with me. And I have 2 celebration cakes to plan/design and make, but they aren’t needed until the end of September, thank goodness. Pinterest is definitely my friend for planning in this case.

I have just realised that I have completely failed to include any pictures in this post so far, so here are 2 for you. The first is my Mum and Dad. Mum is probably my biggest creative influence, and I wish she could see all the things I make (even the failures!). The other shows the fabric I am going to use for the chair cushions – Giraffe Crossing by Riley Blake – and this is a cot pocket I made for Mini Mister with it.

Dad and Mum about 15 years ago

Dad and Mum about 15 years ago

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Time to retire now, as I have a very early start tomorrow. For the first time in about 10 and a half months I have to set my alarm. Wish me luck!

Bye for now 😀