Saturday, 26 January 2008

Postcards and more postcards

I have had a very busy week and although I have been excited and pleased that I have received loads of postcards from my postcard exchange group, I have just not had time to photograph them and do a post about them. So I have quite a few for you to look at.

The first one is from Monica in Australia and had a very nice message written on it. The front of the card had a background of many pieces of fabric and free machine quilting with the addition of a fabric picture of a kangaroo, very apt.

All the way from Japan came a postcard from Anna, she is out there with her husband and children as hubby is a member of the American forces. She found some really delightful fabric with ‘Russian Dolls’ on it and added a Russian doll of her own with embroidery too.

Next came a very patriotic postcard from Charlotte in Lottsburg VA. The flag has glitter all over it and Charlotte wrote a lovely note on her card.

Marge in Mayfield PA has sent a very interesting postcard with appliqué and also some stencilling with fabric paints.

I received a second card from Australia, this was from Michelle who had applied small pictures of a fish, lizard and the only one I knew the name of, a duck billed platypus on the front of her card.

Pretty as a picture, a cuddly cat with a pink embroidered ‘MEOW on came from Suzy in San Diego.

I have now received twelve postcards from my exchange group and have sent out fourteen, I have another ten to make and hope to get them done this week.

Journal and Take it Further Challenge

I have been very remiss at not saying that I signed up for the TIF challenge on Sharon’s site. This is to go on for the whole of 2008, I enrolled early as I was sorry that I did not get involved in the challenge for 2007. The challenge for this month is to design and create a piece of work that is either from someone you admire or from the colours shown by Sharon on her blog. I have chosen the colours and linked this challenge with the Contempory Quilt Group Journal quilt challenge for 2008. The criteria for this challenge is that the piece should be 12” x 12” and challenge you to do new techniques or design methods.

I finished mine this week and although I did concentrate on it and get it done in a few days because I knew what I wanted to do, I forgot Sharon asking if we would share the making of the item and record the finished item on her site. I did get it done quickly so maybe she won’t mind and I will try and remember next month.

Fabrics stamped with leaves and motifs.

Finished 12” x 12” Journal quilt.


I am not sure if I like it or not, but I know I have achieved all the things I set out to do. I have to remember that it is a challenge and therefore maybe not a perfect finished. It is not the most exciting piece I have done, we will have to see what February brings.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

I was supposed to do a long list of things today but I haven’t got a lot done at all. It was the ‘works do’ last night. Well my husband's work's Christmas meal, which they now seem to have after Christmas. I was quite pleased really as we were so busy before Christmas we might not have been able to go. Anyway we both enjoyed ourselves and had a really delicious meal. The company was good and it gives you time to really talk to some of the people you only usually give a passing wave to. Because of this we were very late to bed and a little late rising this morning. The morning went very fast with me only working very slowly so after lunch I gave up on the thinking stuff and got on with some stitching. I made a couple more of the bags from BQL’s bag challenge.

One more for me

And one for my grandson to take his ‘stuff’ to nursery in.
I have really got the hang of these bags now and I think it’s better if you use character type fabrics to personalise the bags if you are giving them as gifts. It also gets rid of some more fabric, I am not exactly stash busting - just making room for some I may need in the future

Classes started back this week and now life is back to it’s busy self. All the ladies came back with lots of enthusiasm and ready to plan, cut and stitch many new projects. There were also lots of ‘show and tells’ of work finished and also started during the holidays.

The postman was also kind to me this week, he popped through the door this cheerful card to make my day and raise my spirits in this cold and damp month. All the way from California, Diane sent this bright and cheery postcard with a red background and a black and white border. The free form flower was also black and white. I still am wowed by all the different ideas used for these postcards.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Dorset Buttons

Today was supposed to be a get on and get some work done day. Three hours have now disappeared and all I have done so far is paperwork, phone calls and letters. Why does this boring (necessary) stuff have to take so long and keep me away from the juicy fabric and threads stuff? It seems to go on forever some days.

I was talking about the Internet groups I belong to in an earlier post and I forgot to mention that I have recently been involved in a swap that made and exchanged Dorset Buttons. I decided to be included in this as it was a technique that was England based and I have been interested in Dorset Buttons for a while now. My local Embroiderers Guild had one of our fellow members do a demonstration for us all last year. She was extremely good at it (I will make a note here that she is a very clever lady anyway) and totally amazed us all with her wonderful ‘Art’ Dorset buttons, and I was once again inspired to do more. I had some on the go when this swap came up so thought it the ideal thing to get me involved with the group. My Buttons have now gone off to the States for the swap so I thought it the ideal chance to show you what I have sent off. All my partners in this swap are from America so it will be really good to see the different buttons, when I receive the buttons from my swap partners I will share them with you.

This one went to Alaska

This was very apt for an American and British swap

This one went to sunny California

I really liked this variegated thread

This button was done on a metal ring and thicker thread, it was also larger than the others.

I only had to send five Dorset buttons in the swap so I kept this beaded one,

And this one which I didn't think turned out so well.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Friday is one of the days I go to the meeting of a textile group I belong to, New Horizons Textile Group meet fortnightly somewhere in Hertfordshire.

You may have seen out last group wallhanging at The Festival of Quilts 2006

'Daphne's Show and Tell.

It was a very busy meeting last Friday as we were sorting out the last minute arrangements for our coming exhibition at ‘Textile in Focus 08’ at Cottenham Village College on February 15/16/17th. This will be a retrospective exhibition of our work so there will be many pieces shown that have not been aired before. I usually go to Textile in Focus each year as they have so much to see and lots of workshops going on as well as plenty of traders. They cover a wide range of crafts here from embroidery, embellishing, knitting to quilting and more. The food is good too, you can tell that by the queue.

I will be there for two days over the exhibition period so if any of you get there do say ‘Hello’.

At this Friday's meeting a couple of us were showing some of the others how to print directly onto fabric. The particular technique we were using is with a product called Bubble Jet. I prefer to use this product as there is no change to the feel and look of the fabric when printed on. You can print (or photocopy) straight onto the treated fabric and there is no problem when printing of reversing the letters or images as they are printed from your computer or scanner directly onto the fabric. Photos come out extremely well and you can print on cotton or silk, the finer the weave the better the print. We are at the moment preparing work for a summer exhibition at Luton Museum, I will give you more news of that at a later date. The fabric printing comes in useful as I used it for this postcard that recently winged its way to Australia.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A Flower for.................

A few days ago I was having a look at some of my favourite blogs when I saw that Margaret was giving away a bunch of crochet flowers. They looked extremely interesting and fingers flying I put in my request to have one. Margaret got back to me very quickly and to my surprise I got to choose which one I wanted. Margaret runs an extremely interesting blog with the addition of some fantastic photos, do call in there sometime.

This was the flower I chose and the reason I was surprised was that this was the first time I had ‘won’, if that’s what you could call it, anything on the internet. I was really pleased with the flower I chose and when it turned up in the post on Saturday I was thrilled. Margaret had even stitched a brooch bar on the back so that it could be pinned to whatever I wanted.
I was so taken by this flower I dragged out my yarns and rattled through drawers until I found my crochet hooks. I always enjoyed doing crochet but that was many years ago. I keep waiting until it really comes back into fashion but it is always nearly there. I do have to think of something to make for Lucy's swap!!! so away I went and with a bit of difficulty in remembering the stitches I finally came up with this.

It is supposed to be a rose………….I thought it was a bit too big and I had mixed the colours too much so……….Back to the crochet hook and some time later.

I came up with this. I think I might add beads……..what do you think.

This maybe a better angle of the flower

To give you some idea of the scale of these flowers here they are together.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

More from the internet

Back to the internet theme again, yes I know I am wearing the subject out but I thought I would tell you about a swap I am doing with fellow bloggers. Lucy of Lucy Locket Recycled Her Pocket fame has offered to arrange a Valentine swap and signing up for this finishes tomorrow night. Anyone can join in, the more the merrier, so if you want to join pop along to Lucy’s blog and put your name down pronto. If you do go there enjoy the posts as Lucy is one of the ladies that keeps me smiling all week.


Over the past few years I have not been the last person in our house to seek out more knowledge on the technology front. We have had a home computer for many years; the internet has been a source of knowledge and an answer to many problems during that time. Desktop publishing is a necessary skill when writing newsletters, quilt software helps so much when writing instructions and the digital camera opens up a whole new world in design. I thought that I really was on top of most things until I joined a postcard exchange group.
This now has led to reading many peoples blogs and then eventually getting my own blog and therefore sharing my life and interests with many others (well at least a few).

I have never thought myself as falling behind with technology but then I didn’t know there was so much more to learn about. I received the following recently from a friend and thought it quite amusing when it could so easily apply to me.

The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true.
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely! ,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I tried google
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'
So, if inside your 'Inbox,
'My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy, ''Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me!

This is a tribute to all the Grannies and Grandmas who have been fearless and learnt to use the computer........ They are the greatest!!! We do not stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing. Never Be The First To Get Old!

Personally I have been absolutely amazed at the wealth of talent not only in the crafts most people are interested in but in the skill in telling the tale. I sometimes sit here and laugh out loud (commonly written as – lol) at the tales that are told on some of the blogs. There are also Internet groups, of which I have joined a few, it did get a few too many so some had to go. There is of course my postcard exchange group, which started this whole thing off and the Artists Circle where I hope to get to use some of my art stuff that I have piled away in cupboards left over from City and Guilds courses. (well I have bought some since……..shhh) There are a few groups where I am just lurking (this is a term for reading the messages and looking at the photo’s and not joining in!) We are encouraged not to do this but I know many do. As you all know there is also a complete new language to learn; and I have only just mastered the art of texting!
A lot of the groups I have found are American based but my latest ‘group’ is based in the UK but attracts members from all over the world. It is called BQL (British Quilt List) and this year they are doing a bag challenge where a new bag pattern can be downloaded each month.

Here is my bag, it wasn’t difficult and I am really pleased with it. I plan to make more as I have ideas for some character fabrics that will be fun to use. It is made like a supermarket bag and can be folded into the pocket to make it neat to keep. I am really itching to see what the February bag is like.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Inspire me

I spent a very pleasant afternoon yesterday with friends at an informal meeting of my local Embroiderers Guild. One of the members gave us a demonstration and loads of information on using a lucet to make cords with. I really enjoy making these cords as they turn out square, which makes a change. I haven’t made any for quite a while and it inspired me to search out my own lucet and some ribbons to have a go again.
This is what I need, inspiration, to get me going again. I find the period after the holidays difficult to get moving with things. I think it is because we have all had a purpose and worked towards it with enthusiasm getting all the details of Christmas and New Year just right for everyone, and then…………… it’s done!

What next. I will let you know. I am working on a couple of projects.

But here I thought I would show you a couple of the postcards that I sent out to members of my postcard exchange group before Christmas.

The photo's are not my best, I used my indigo dyed fabric with fabric prints of stitches and stitching equipment. I have another ten postcards to make and send.
Both of these flew off to America and both landed safely. I will post a couple more soon.

Friday, 4 January 2008

A Very Happy New Year

Welcome to 2008 and a Happy New Year to everyone. I would at this point like to thank everyone who has visited my blog and commented on my posts. I am very new to this blogging lark and when I did the first couple of posts I felt I was writing a diary that no one would ever read. In the very few weeks that I have been posting I now feel as if I am talking to friends. I may not know them and may never meet them but there is a great feeling of friendship among bloggers. People have left really nice comments and also sent me emails and all have been encouraging.
So much so that I am going to share a very special happening of this very new, New Year.
Yesterday a letter popped through our letterbox, well it didn’t actually come through the letterbox. This letter was expected and I was actually looking out for the postman so opened the door before he had time to put it in the letterbox and almost grabbed it out of his hand. Apologising quickly I shut the door and nervously I took a quick snap of the envelope with my camera (for posterity I hoped) and with unsure steps I took it to youngest son to open.
He also knew this letter would come today, we all did, in fact I don’t think any of us had much sleep the night before for thinking about it’s arrival. He held it in his hand for a few moments and then said he wanted to be alone to open it. I left the room and waited until I heard the ripping of the envelope and the unfolding of the paper. I peeped round the door, elated to see a huge smile upon his face. I whooped with delight, shouting, ‘you’ve got it haven’t you’. He could hardly speak for smiling and nodded, we hugged and I cried, we laughed and cheered. We rang Dad and he laughed and whooped and cheered.
What is this all about you ask, well this is the post mark on the envelope we received,

And the letter inside was the answer to a dream and a lot of hard work; youngest son received an offer of a place at Peterhouse College, Cambridge to start in October.
We do know there are exams to get through before he gets there and another lot of hard work for him, but the biggest hurdle was to be offered a place and that is why in this house we are all wearing smiles and the best photo I can offer you today is of a very boring looking postmark from an envelope that contains a young man’s start to a wonderful life.