Eight by eight project

The Eight by eight project was set up to support Camille’s Appeal - a charity which supports children recovering from brain tumours.  During April 2013 the Eight by eight project is bringing the exhibition ‘Childhood Explored’ to Eden Court in Inverness.  The works shown in this exhibition are all 8 by 8 inches in size and will explore the theme  of childhood in many different ways. All the works have been donated by artists, photograhers and other creatives from across the uk and the pieces will be sold in aid of the charity.

I’m delighted that a photographic print entitled ‘Exploring’ by my husband John will be featuring in this exhibition and can be seen here.

Please have a look at the website and if you feel able to help in any way it will be very much appreciated.

My first large quilt

Quilt 1

I’ve mentioned before that I was working on a double-bed sized quilt using this tutorial. It took me a while (since February in fact) but I finally finished it just in time for Christmas.

Quilt 2

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  It’s not perfect but good enough and I learnt so much while making it.  It wasn’t too difficult to piece together – but the sheer amount of fabric made it a challenge to work with.  I’m really glad I discovered 505 spray as it makes basting the quilt layers together so much easier.

quilt 3

I used 2 jelly rolls from the Moda ‘Together’ range for the postage stamps, matching fabric from the same range for the borders and binding, Hobbs polydown batting and a wide ‘teastain’ fabric for the backing.

quilt 4

I gave this quilt to my in laws as a Christmas present.  I hope they liked it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Long overdue update

Eeek, I have not posted since August! Where has the time gone? It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes since having children. Life is just so busy which I suppose it to be expected with three little ones. I love it though despite being permanently exhausted – although I do occasionally find myself thinking that a break would be nice!

Since my last post in August my eldest boy has started Primary 1 and the middle one has started nursery. Alexander took a little while to settle in to school (the first day was particularly awful as he howled the whole way!) but now he loves it and seems to be a hit with the girls. My day has a lot more structure now with drop offs and pick ups and life seems a bit easier. Daniel had his 3rd birthday and continues to be train obsessed. I’ve never known anyone like it.  He had been asking for a ‘Percy’ cake for months so I had to attempt it…

Percy cake

In October I had my OU exam which was rather stressful to say the least. We had a run off illnesses so I didn’t get as much revision as I’d have liked done and on the day my brain had trouble sorting through all the information I’d tried to absorb. I came out of the exam just relieved it was over and hoping I may have scraped a pass. I thought I’d done ok on six out of eight short questions but was not at all confident about the three essay questions. As December and results day approached I got more and more worked up but I was amazed to achieve a level 2 pass! I am more than happy with that although will always be a little disappointed in myself because I know I could have done better under different circumstances. I am really proud of myself for even completing the course as I had so much else going on at the time and I must try not to lose sight of that! I still need 90 points at level 3 to finish my degree and had planned to take a break but am now registered to start SK320 ‘Infectious disease and public health’ in a couple of weeks.  I’m really looking forward to it as I’m much more interested in the subject matter than last time which will hopefully help with motivation.

With December came Thomas’s first birthday – after all that happened with him I found it a very emotional time. He has done so well and managed to stay out of hospital since June so I’m beginning to hope that it’s the end of it. He is walking now and is such a sweetheart – we feel so blessed to have him. Alexander turned five the week before Christmas and he is turning into a lovely little boy – he seems so grown up now!  He has been diagnosed with asthma which we had been expecting and he’s had a few bad patches so far this winter with that.

Christmas was very busy and I expect it always will be, especially with having two birthdays in the two weeks before!  We had all John’s family over for Christmas dinner which was fun if hard work, but I enjoyed doing it.  Again I found it quite an emotional time thinking back to last year when we had to leave Thomas in PICU in Edinburgh over Christmas. It was lovely to all be together this year and he was suitably spoiled.

So, all in all, it has been a busy few months. 2013 has started well and I have a strange sense of optimism about the year ahead.  Life is good and I feel very lucky.

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Owls and stripes bag

I wanted to make a gift for a friend who has been incredibly good to us throughout tough times this year.  I knew she had liked one of the lickety split mini bags I’d made previously so thought she might like one of her own.  I scoured the internet for suitable fabric and found a funky owl print by David Textiles at Fabric Inspirations which I thought would suit my friend’s personality. As always service from Fabric Inspirations was excellent, with super quick delivery.  They have a wonderful selection of funky fabrics  – I could spend a fortune there and really have to restrain myself to only buying what I need. For the inside of the bag I bought a lovely Michael Miller stripe fabric from a seller on ebay.

I love the mini lickety split pattern by Made by Rae - I’ve made a few before but making this one has rekindled my love of making bags. It has been a while and I’ve missed it!  The bag is so useful. I’ve made one for myself that I use all the time – lots of pockets and totally reversible, perfect!

I love the way it turned out and think the two fabrics work really well together.  After wrapping nicely in tissue paper and ribbon I posted it to my lovely friend.  Surprises in the post always make me happy and I think she was pleased with her present. She really deserved it!

Athill Range Baby Quilt

I’ve finally managed to squeeze in some sewing time!  Gosh, I’d missed it.  My cousin and his wife have just had a baby girl to much excitement as there has been a long run of baby boys so I’ve had the perfect excuse to take a wee break from studying and make a little baby quilt.

I used  a Moda jelly roll in Athill Range with a co-ordinating fabric for the backing.  I wanted to try something different so scoured the net for free quilt block patterns using jelly rolls strips and came across this one by Becky Jorgenson for Moose on the Porch quilts.  I pieced together 4 blocks using sashing strips in between and for borders.  I used Hobbs polydown batting again and a lilac floral print from Moda Athill Range.  Stitch in the ditch quilting was enough for a quilt this size and I finished off with ivory satin binding.

I think it’s lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed making it.  Now back to studying and a TMA that’s due in on 1st August.

Holidays, house move & hospital

It has been a long time since I’ve posted – and so much has been going on.

We went away to Center Parcs for a few days at the end of April which was nice but we had our fair share of hassle.  The car broke just minutes after we left so we needed to make an emergency stop-off at the garage in Inverness.  They were great and got us back on the road within a few hours. Thomas was ill (again!) so I ended up spending most of the time inside with him, and there were some epic tantrums from the older two.  On the whole though they had a good time.

The biggest thing is that we have moved house – we certainly weren’t expecting that to happen!  Three-bedroom houses are very hard to come by so although it was a bit of a squash in our 2-bed we were managing and expected be there for a long time.  Out of the blue we heard of someone wanting to swap and so now here we are in a lovely big 3-bed house.  It all happened very quickly and we moved over the Jubilee weekend.  There’s lots of decorating to be done and so far we’ve not done much, just new carpets upstairs and the boys room has been painted and wallpapered.  There is a lot of potential and I think we’ll be very happy here, once we get organised.

The week after we moved the boys were all ill with a virus and unfortunately Thomas took it bad again.  After a weekend of worrying about him and almost phoning NHS24 he took a turn for the worse on the Monday night and we had to phone.  They said the OOH doc would phone but the next thing there was an ambulance and doctor at the door.  His breathing rate was up to 80 bpm so off we went again in the ambulance, 6 months to the day since his birth.  This time it was paraflu causing bronchiolitis and he was kept in for 5 nights as he needed oxygen.  This was his 6th hospital admission with bronchiolitis and he’s now on an atrovent inhaler and will be followed up with the consultant in 2 months time.  I’m glad we have a plan of action now and they have said they are always happy to see him if we are worried.  We all have colds now so he’s wheezing away again but hoping he’ll manage at home this time – it is so exhausting!

With all that (and my OU course which is not going well – TMA marks are good but struggling to get time to study so fallen behind a bit) I have no time to do any sewing.  I am really missing it.  All my stuff is still at my in-laws so the most I’ve managed to do is a little bit of work on my knitted lace scarf.  Hopefully I will get a chance to do something soon – or the quilt I wanted finished for Christmas will need to be postponed till the next year!

Make and Cake

I was very excited last week to discover a new arts and craft group starting up near me – Make and Cake, Tain - a social group for anyone interested in creative pastimes.  This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to find and, even better, it hadn’t started yet.  Being incredibly shy I was very apprehensive about going on my own but I bit the bullet and introduced myself on the Facebook page and promised I’d be there for the first meeting on the 17th April.  This was a cunning plan to ensure I couldn’t chicken out of going, and so off I went to Tain Library armed with a knitted scarf I’m working on and feeling a bit scared.

I shouldn’t have been so nervous – I had a great time.  It was really nice to see projects others were working on and to meet some like-minded people and just to get out on my own and have a good blether.  Since moving back up north I really miss having people to chat to, John is great but sometimes I’d like to have someone else to talk to.  Being a stay at home mum can be really isolating so any opportunity to get out and meet people is good – and this was a big step for me.  I’m really looking forward to next time but unfortunately too much chatting meant I lost concentration on the lace scarf I was working on and made a bit of a mess.  Despite my best efforts to sort it outI managed to snap the yarn and will need to start again.  Never mind!

It has been a bit crazy here since I last posted – Thomas ended up back in hospital with bronchiolitis again which developed into a chest infection needing antibiotics.  Alexander needed them too for the same thing and then the boys and me all had a horrible sickness bug.  We’re all ok now but the baby has been wheezing again over the last couple of days.

I also had to get my first TMA for SD329 done and submitted – it was really tough and eventually I had enough and just sent it despite not being very happy with it.  Amazingly I managed to get 89% in it – I am so pleased!  Now though I really need to crack on with the reading.  At one point I was 5 weeks ahead and now with all the illness and hospital trips I’m only just ahead by a day or two.

With all that has been going on I’ve not had a chance to do any sewing – hopefully I will find some time soon.  I have a quilted sewing machine cover half done which I really must finish.